Coronavirus (COVID-19): social care and community based testing guidance

Guidance on coronavirus testing for the social care sector.

This document is part of a collection

These pages cover:

  • test arrangements
  • training materials
  • recording of results
  • helplines
  • information in response to common enquiries

Condensed guidance

All webpages, letters, and guidance documents sent to you by the Scottish Government have been reviewed and condensed into this guidance section

Who this is for

This guidance is for professionals working social care and community based testing

This includes:

  • personal assistants
  • visiting professionals
  • independent Living Fund Scotland (ILFS) assessors
  • social workers

It includes social care staff working in the following settings:

  • adult and older people care homes
  • short break/respite services
  • children and young people’s community services
  • mental health services
  • residential accommodation for children
  • homelessness services addiction services
  • learning disability settings
  • women’s shelters
  • care at home
  • supported housing, sheltered housing and housing with multiple occupancies
  • adult day centres/ adult day care services
  • drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation services care inspector

It also includes:

  • visitors to adult and older people care homes

Changes from September for social care staff, visitors and unpaid carers

Clinical advice on a four UK nation basis is that remaining asymptomatic testing in social care can now be paused. There is consensus that we are now in a downward trajectory from the most recent wave, with prevalence and other epidemiological indicators improving. In addition, vaccination continues to offer protection against hospitalisation and harm across all ages groups. Changes to testing will be kept under clinical review.

Based on this advice, asymptomatic testing can now be paused across all social care settings with immediate effect. 

Social care settings do not need to use up existing supplies of LFDs ahead of pausing and are recommend to keep a residual stock for ongoing symptomatic testing for staff, but also in the event that clinical advice indicates that testing should resume. National Services Scotland (NSS) will work with settings on how best to manage excess stock.

Asymptomatic testing for care home admissions from hospital and community

Asymptomatic testing for admission to a care home, either from a hospital setting or from the community, will continue. This can be a LFD test.  

Ongoing testing for staff who provide close personal care and support

There is no change to the guidance for staff working in client facing roles who are symptomatic; if staff have respiratory symptoms then they should undertake a LFD test, and if positive, isolate for a minimum of 5 days. After 5 days, staff working with patients and service users in face-to-face settings can return to work when they have had 2 consecutive negative LFD test results (taken at least 24 hours apart).

If both LFD test results are negative, they may return to work immediately after the second negative LFD test result, provided they meet the criteria below:

  • They feel well enough to work, and do not have a high temperature
  • A risk assessment is done and consideration is given to redeployment (if they work with individuals whose immune system means that they are at higher risk of serious illness despite vaccination), until 10 days after their symptoms started (or the day their first positive test was taken if they did not have symptoms)
  • They continue to comply with current infection control precautions
  • If the day 5 LFD test is positive, they should continue to test daily until they have received two negative LFD test results, taken 24 hrs apart. If the staff member’s LFD test result is positive on the 10th day, they should discuss this with their line manager who may undertake a risk assessment to facilitate a return to work

Those not working in such client facing roles do not require testing before going back to work, as long as they feel well and do not have a high temperature.

Visitors and carers (with the rest of the population) do not need to undertake symptomatic testing but instead are advised to follow Covid Sense and if not well, should not visit family and friends in a social care or healthcare setting.

Please note, in terms of social care, the following roles would be considered client facing:

  • members of staff or volunteers who are regularly in a social care setting (for example, a care home or adult day care centre) and provide close personal care and support
  • this includes cleaners, catering, and support staff but would not include office-based staff if they do not enter these settings/or directly care and support people
  •  in the context of an individual’s own home (including sheltered or very sheltered housing), staff include those who provide close personal care or support to the individual such as those staff working care at home or as personal assistants but not for example maintenance staff

Outbreak testing

Local Health Protection teams will continue to advise on testing requirements in the event of an outbreak.  

Back to top