The Department of Health and Social Care is commencing the national roll-out of Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) to care homes.
26 Nov, 2020
This communication is for care homes in England only. Communication will be sent out to care homes in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland soon.
Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) are rapid COVID-19 tests which can be used for:
· scheduled visitor testing
· increased resident testing
· increased staff testing
This is in addition to the current PCR regular retesting in care homes.
This email provides information about the LFT roll out and how you can best prepare. Further information will be sent in the coming weeks which will include the exact details of when your LFT kits will arrive and the support available to you.
How does LFT work?
LFT is a new technology which enable rapid display of COVID-19 test results within 20-30 minutes and do not require a lab to process. The LFT tests can be self-administered via nasal and throat swabs similar to the current PCR tests.
Your care home will receive a delivery of LFT that you can use to test scheduled visitors.
We will be providing you with access to online training to prepare for the testing, as well as materials to prepare your home and visitors.
What are your next steps?
You do not need to take any action at this time.
In the coming weeks, you will receive an email that will confirm delivery of your LFT kits, as well as specific instructions on how to undertake this testing, including further details on preparing your care home and visitors for this process.
Your delivery will include:
· one box of LFT kits
· one box of universal PCR test kits
· one box of supplementing kit
LFT kits can be stored at room temperature and should be kept separate from other test kits.
Preparing your care home for scheduled visitor testing
Whilst you await this further information, please consider how your care home can best prepare for this new testing process in order to test scheduled visitors.
Key things to consider include:
· preparing a designated entrance where visitors can put on PPE before interacting with others. If a visitor must come through the same entrance as others to access this area, they will need to put on PPE outside first, before entering the building
· preparing a designated area for testing where a visitor can wait whilst awaiting their LFT result. This area will need to be away from the main part of the home, so a visitor does not interact with any other staff or residents prior to receiving their test result
· whether your testing area may be set up either indoors or outdoors. The specific configuration of your care home’s testing area will depend on infrastructure and environmental constraints
· taking stock of your PPE and ensuring you have enough for visitors if required (see PPE section below)
· making space in your home to store LFT kits separately from your other kits