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Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult care home visitor testing guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) adult care home lateral flow testing guidance which forms part of the Test and Protect Pathways Programme.

11 Jan 2021
Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult care home visitor testing guidance

Care home Lateral Flow Device testing (staff, visitors)

This page contains guidance and materials to support care homes to implement lateral flow device (LFD) testing. 

The following groups in care homes should be tested using lateral flow devices:

  • designated family/friend visitors to care homes (in Level 3 areas where indoor visiting is supported) see latest visiting guidance
  • care home staff twice weekly alongside PCR testing (enhanced testing) (from 4 January)
  • outbreak management staff testing if advised by health protection (from 4 January)
  • small number of professional visitors to care homes who are not covered by arrangements in place through their employer  (e.g. podiatrists, dentists*, optometrists*, essential maintenance staff, site contractors)

This overview shows testing arrangements in care homes for care home staff, visitors and visiting professionals.

* To note that an expanded health care worker testing pathway is being put in place from mid February which will cover these visiting professionals enabling them to test twice weekly outwith the care home setting.  

Visiting professionals

The following groups who visit care homes will be tested twice weekly using LFDs organised through their employer:

Visiting health and social care professionals who have not had a test or don’t have ‘proof’ of being tested should not be refused entry to care home as long as the correct IPC measures are followed.

Delivery of test kits

LFD test kits are being issued to care homes every four weeks until the Covid Testing and Registration Portal is ready for Care Homes to order from. There will be a further communication to advise when this is in place. Urgent resupply requests If you have urgent requests for further test supply to support with outbreaks or testing your staff twice weekly, please use the mailbox to do this. When making these necessary urgent requests, please include the following in your email request:

  • Care Home Service Number (CS200XXXXXXX)
  • number of staff
  • the nature of the urgent request (e.g. outbreak, stock depleted due to a specific reason) If you are experiencing an outbreak, please add OUTBREAK in the email subject line
  • current remaining number of Lateral Flow devices for staff twice weekly testing.


A free helpline has gone live as of 1/2/21 to provide advice LFD testing. Tel: 0800 008 6587 available 08:00 to 20:00 every day

Please note that these materials will be updated regularly so please continue to check this website for up to date information and guidance. 

Essential training for care home visitors

Essential training care home staff

Sector letters and updates


Resources - testing

First published: 11 Jan 2021 Last updated: 17 Feb 2021 -