Updated on 3 April 2023
Vaccination remains a primary protection measure against COVID-19, reducing the risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and death.
To protect those who receive care and those providing it, social care service managers should encourage and support all their staff and residents to get
- all the COVID-19 vaccines they are eligible for
- a free vaccine for seasonal influenza
Book your vaccination appointments online.
Testing for providers, staff and residents
Testing guidance changed on 3 April 2023. All previous testing guidance has been withdrawn.
Information on COVID-19 testing in adult social care is available in the COVID-19 supplement to the infection prevention and control resource for adult social care.
- PCR testing is no longer available. Any testing that is carried out is with lateral flow tests (LFD) and only in limited circumstances.
- There is no routine asymptomatic testing in any setting except for the NHS.
- Symptomatic testing is now advised only for those eligible for COVID-19 treatments and during suspected outbreaks in care homes.
- People who test positive for COVID-19 can return to their usual activities after 5 days if they feel well and no longer have a high temperature.
- Residents being admitted to a care home from hospital will take an LFD test within 48 hours before discharge. The result should be shared in writing with the care home.
- Admissions from the community are no longer advised to test.
There should not normally be any restrictions to visits into or out of the care home.
It is important that any visitor follows the IPC processes put in place by the care home, such as practising hand hygiene and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), as outlined in the section on PPE recommendations. Visitors should consider taking up any COVID-19 and flu vaccines they are eligible for.
Visitors should not enter the care home if they are feeling unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19, are fully vaccinated and have received their booster.
Visiting care homes
The government expects and encourage care homes to facilitate visits wherever possible, and to do so in a risk-managed way.
Summary of the considerations specific to care homes guidance:
- There are no restrictions on visits out for individuals who are not symptomatic or who have not tested positive in any circumstance.
- There should not normally be any restrictions to visits into or out of the care home.
- Any visitor should follow the infection control processes put in place by the care home, such as practising hand hygiene and wearing a face mask, particularly when moving through communal areas. Visitors should consider taking up any COVID-19 and flu vaccines they are eligible for.
- To reduce the risk of introducing infections to the home, visitors should not enter the care home if they are feeling unwell, even if they have tested negative for COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated. Transmissible viruses such as flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and norovirus can be just as dangerous to care home residents as COVID-19. If visitors have flu-like symptoms they should not visit until at least 5 days after they feel better. Visitors who have symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting should not enter the home until they have been free of these symptoms for 2 full days.
- If there is an outbreak, the home may need to limit visitor numbers to reduce risks to their staff and residents. Each resident should (as a minimum) be able to have one visitor at a time inside the care home. This visitor does not need to be the same person and they do not need to be a family member and could be a volunteer or befriender.
- End-of-life visiting should be supported in all circumstances.
If a COVID-19 outbreak is suspected
If a COVID-19 outbreak is suspected, you will need to carry out a risk assessment as soon as possible to determine if there is an outbreak and what control measures are needed. Please email email@example.com
Only the first 5 residents with symptoms of a respiratory infection will be asked to take an LFD test to identify if there is an outbreak of COVID-19.
If a COVID-19 outbreak is identified, consider risks mitigations and additional measures needed to manage the outbreak.
Outbreak measures can be lifted 5 days after the last suspected or confirmed case.
Health protection teams may advise wider testing if there are specific concerns.
If an outbreak of COVID-19 is not identified, consider testing for other respiratory virus such as flu and seek clinical assessment.
Anti-viral medication for COVID-19
The NHS is offering antibody and antiviral treatments to those who are most at risk of serious disease if they catch COVID-19.
We advise that all residents are reviewed; if any have conditions that make them eligible for treatment please ensure you know how to facilitate access to this in a timely fashion as needed, as set out in the NHS Treatments for Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Get more guidance for people whose immune system means they are at higher risk on GOV.UK.
Useful business support information
See the government’s Winter Statement 2023 to 2023.which sets out the key elements of national support available for the social care sector for winter.
Top tips for retention – A briefing for adult social care providers
Home Office immigration and nationality fees: 11 October 2021
More information on COVID-19 and our services
If you have a question about our services, please send an email to both the:
- relevant commissioner
In particular, please let us know as soon as possible if you are:
- experiencing any staffing issues
- whether you are open or closed to new referrals
We hold regular forums for you to get updates on COVID-19 and more information.
More information on when these are, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.