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
  • ordering more test kits
  • 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 15th March 2022

Following the First Minister’s update on the Test and Protect Transition Plan on the 15th March Scottish Government, officials sent an email to the sector to outline the next steps in the programme for asymptomatic testing for social care settings.

From 15th March to 17th April

You no longer have to carry out daily asymptomatic (work day) Lateral Flow Device testing.  

You should revert back to your routine, baseline asymptomatic testing as soon this possible. This will either be a weekly PCR test or twice weekly LFD test.  However adult care home staff should continue to test with a weekly PCR and twice weekly LFD.  

From Monday 18th April

The role of Covid testing is changing from population wide testing to targeted testing to support clinical care. 

Based on this approach regular asymptomatic testing will continue for:

  • parts of the health and care workforce in settings which are still considered high risk
  • where those using services are deemed to be at a higher risk of hospitalisation from COVID-19
  • both of the above
  • visitors to adult and older people care homes
  • unpaid carers

Asymptomatic testing will stop:

  • in settings that are now deemed to be lower risk
  • in services which do not involve close personal care and contact
  • where clients are no longer considered to be at a higher risk of hospitalisation from COVID-19

For staff that are continuing to test we are moving away from using PCR testing (with the exception of staff in adult and older people care homes) and asking staff to test twice weekly with LFD tests.

LFDs are extremely effective at picking up the virus in asymptomatic individuals and specifically when they are most infectious and therefore more likely to pass it on to others.

Our approach follows clinical advice at all times. This means our approach to testing can change if the clinical guidance changes. 

Pathways/services continuing to test

Kits will be provided by NHS National Services Scotland (NSS)

Health and social care staff  should no longer order kits through UK Government channels.

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