We’ve been leading the way to embed routine testing into care homes since the start of the pandemic; we’ve been involved in every care home pilot that has been available through various government bodies and most recently in England we’ve worked in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care so that all of our care homes in England have received training in carrying out testing in our care homes.
We have also been working closely with our health partners in Scotland and Wales to embed regular testing in our Scottish and Welsh homes.
Routine staff testing
All of our care home staff benefit from routine coronavirus testing. Many people who contract coronavirus do so asymptomatically and this has been one of the biggest challenges for care homes as until routine testing became available, it was very difficult to know if a person had coronavirus or not.
All Residents are tested prior to admission into a care home and only move into the care home community once they have received in-room care services for a period of 14 days. Ongoing routine testing of Residents varies in our care homes in England, Scotland and Wales due to the different ways that local authorities and NHS operates in each country.
In England, Residents are routinely tested every 4 weeks, whereas in Scotland and Wales Resident testing is instigated only if a Resident shows symptoms or if a member of staff receives a positive test.
Whilst the systems operate differently, the rationale is based on the fact that unlike our staff, Residents are not exposed to the wider community, their main contact is with our staff or with loved ones through safe visits.
Routine testing has enabled us to ensure that our Colleagues are coronavirus negative. Additional safety measures such as enhanced infection control and the safe and effective use of personal protective equipment worn by all Colleagues adds further protection to Residents so that they live in our homes as safely as possible during this pandemic.