Testing in care homes and hospices (including visitor and care partner testing)

UPDATED ASYMPTOMATIC COVID-19 TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR CARE HOMES FROM MONDAY 25 APRIL 2022

New asymptomatic testing arrangements that is, testing of those (staff or residents) who do not have symptoms, which will come into effect from Monday 25 April 2022 onwards.

Group Current Guidance New Guidance effective from Monday 25 April 2022
Care Home Residents Monthly PCR testing. No regular programme of asymptomatic testing for residents.
Permanent Care Home Staff Weekly Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing.
Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing pre shift.

Testing Pattern:
LFD testing to be undertaken twice weekly.
LFD tests should be taken 3 to 4 days apart, pre shift. If a member of staff is only working 2 days per week, they should take a LFD test on these days before beginning work.

Test Type:
SureScreen nasal only test kits.

Agency Staff

LFD test before commencing each shift in any new home (if moving between homes).

LFD testing pre shift, same as permanent staff.

Testing Pattern:
Should follow the same testing pattern as care home staff if working in a single care home for an extended period of time.

LFD test before commencing each shift in any new home if moving between homes.


Test Type:
SureScreen nasal only test kits.

Nominated Care Partners Weekly PCR testing.
LFD testing pre visit.

Testing Pattern:
Should follow the same testing pattern as care home staff.

Test Type:
SureScreen nasal only test kits.

Visitors LFD test minimum twice weekly.

Testing Pattern:
Should undertake twice weekly LFD testing.

Test Type:
Orient Gene or ACON Flowflex nasal only test kits.

Visiting Professionals (HSC and non–HSC) LFD test before visiting a care home (1 LFD test per day).

Testing Pattern:
Should undertake twice weekly LFD testing.

Test Type:
Orient Gene or ACON Flowflex nasal only test kits.


UPDATED ASYMPTOMATIC COVID-19 TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR HOSPICES FROM MONDAY 25 APRIL 2022

New asymptomatic testing arrangements that is, testing of staff or visitors who do not have symptoms, which will come into effect from Monday 25 April.

Group Current guidance New guidance effective from Monday 25 April 2022

Permanent Hospice Staff

(Agency staff should follow the same testing pattern)

Weekly Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing.

Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing pre shift.

Testing Pattern:

LFD testing to be undertaken twice weekly.

LFD tests should be taken 3 to 4 days apart, pre shift. If a member of staff is only working 2 days per week, they should take a LFD test on these days before beginning work.

Test Type:

SureScreen nasal only test kits.

Visitors LFD test minimum twice weekly

Testing Pattern:

Should undertake twice weekly LFD testing.

Test Type:

Orient Gene or ACON Flowflex nasal only test kits.  

Visiting Professionals (HSC and non–HSC) LFD test before visiting a hospice (1 LFD test per day).

Testing Pattern:

Should undertake twice weekly LFD testing.

Test Type:

Orient Gene or ACON Flowflex nasal only test kits.  

Testing for patients in hospices remains as per guidance in place prior to 22nd April.

  • On admission patients should have a PCR test using PCR in pillar 1
  • Testing subsequent to admission should be based on a clinical decision

Symptomatic Testing (updated 5 May 2022)

  1. Residents with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 should isolate and take a PCR and a lateral flow device (LFD) test immediately. This guidance on symptomatic testing supersedes that issued on 22 April 2022. If either test is positive the resident should isolate in line with current guidance

If the LFD test is negative, continue to isolate and await PCR result. If PCR test is also negative, there is no need to isolate unless a strong suspicion remains that the individual could be COVID-19 positive. In such cases a second PCR should be sought. If this is also negative, a clinical assessment by the resident’s GP should be sought to determine any potential alternative diagnoses. If clinician feels COVID-19 is likely despite negative PCR tests, then treat as COVID-19 positive. Otherwise manage as per alternative diagnosis.

  1. Staff members who have COVID-19 symptoms should take a lateral flow test at the onset of symptoms (day 0) and take a further LFD test 48 hours later (day 2) if the first test is negative. A PCR test is no longer required.  If symptoms begin at home (off-duty), they should not attend work while awaiting both lateral flow test results. If symptoms begin at work, they should inform their line manager and return home as soon as possible.

 

All positive tests should continue to be notified to the PHA Health Protection Duty Room on 0300 555 0114.

Testing in an Outbreak

The protocol for testing during an outbreak was updated on 5th May. Letter outlining guidance available here.

Please continue to report all positive cases to the PHA Duty Room who will continue to provide advice on what further action to take whether an outbreak is declared or not.

Care Home Posterin review

If you have queries about orders or deliveries you can phone the National Testing Programme Helpdesk freephone on 119. 

If you need additional support, please email: regulartesting@hscni.net