COVID-19: Testing for carers

We’re strongly advising all the carers we work with to get tested for COVID-19 prior to starting a placement – regardless of whether you’re symptomatic or not.

In this short guide, we answer some of the most frequent questions we’ve received about how this process works.

When should I book the test?

We advise that you organise your test no later than four days before your placement starts. This will allow enough time for results to be processed, which can take up to 72 hours.

What happens after my test?

Once you’ve had your test, you should isolate as much possible before heading to your placement.

You should closely follow Government and NHS guidelines on social distancing, particularly when travelling to your placement. This will reduce the opportunity for infection after your test is conducted.

We’ll ask you to confirm the results of your test prior to starting your placement.

I’m not keen on getting tested. Will I still be able to start my placement?

We’re advising our carers to get tested before starting a placement – however, this is not a requirement.

Before starting your placement, we’ll ask for confirmation that you have not had flu-like symptoms for one week, and have not had contact with anyone presenting flu-like symptoms for two weeks.

I applied for a test but haven’t been successful in getting one. What should I do?

Essential workers in social care are eligible for coronavirus testing. However, this is not a guarantee – it depends on how many tests are available in your area.

You could try requesting a test again the following day when the self-referral portal refreshes and more tests become available.

If you’re not able to access a coronavirus test, you’ll still be able to start your placement. We’ll ask for confirmation that you’ve not had flu-like symptoms for one week, and haven’t had contact with anyone presenting flu-like symptoms for two weeks.

The only available tests are at drive-in clinics, but I don’t have a car. What should I do?

It would be good to ask if anybody can take you to the drive-in clinic. You should make sure that they’re not symptomatic beforehand.

You could also wait until the following day when the self-referral portal refreshes and more home testing kits become available. You should not take public transport to one of the drive-in clinics.

What happens if my test results are positive?

You should not attend your upcoming placement. You’ll need to self-isolate for 14 days. If you develop severe symptoms, you should call NHS 111 and seek medical guidance.