Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult care home lateral flow device testing

This page contains guidance and materials to support care homes to implement lateral flow device (LFD) testing. 

11 Jan 2021
Coronavirus (COVID-19): adult care home lateral flow device testing

Care home Lateral Flow Device testing (staff, visitors)

The following groups in care homes should be tested using lateral flow devices:

  • family/friend visitors to care homes see latest visiting guidance
  • care home staff daily (working days) alongside weekly PCR testing (enhanced testing) (from 9 December 2021). Care home staff may also consider taking a LFD test on non-working days if they are socialising, in line with guidance from the First Minister
  • visiting professionals to care homes (either through their employer or at the care home where relevant)
  • outbreak management staff testing if advised by health protection (from 4 January)

Visiting professionals

The following groups who visit care homes are encouraged to test daily using LFDs organised through their employer:

Other visiting professionals, such as maintenance staff, private podiatrists who are not offered testing through their employers are encouraged to undertake an LFD test at the care home. Some visit several care homes - it is recommended that they test daily, however verbal confirmation of a negative LFD test within the last 72 hours from visiting professionals should be accepted by the care home.

Delivery of test kits

As early identification of cases is even more important with the new Omicron variant, we are also now strongly encouraging all social care staff to undertake a daily LFD test every work day.

Stock for twice weekly staff and visitors is sent to care homes every four weeks.  To enable adult care home staff to move to LFD testing every work day care homes should use their current stock first. NSS have put in place arrangements to provide additional test stock to care homes.  If you have any queries about your stock/ supply, including if providers are also experiencing excess stock requirements  then deliveries can also be paused, please call the dedicated helpline 0800 008 6587  which is open daily 09.00 to 17.00. Additional LFD tests can be collected at your local pharmacy or test site – see link to find nearest (Find where to get rapid lateral flow tests - NHS (

If you have urgent requests for further test supply to support with outbreaks ( i.e you have a positive test on your premises, have contacted local Health Protection who have advised you to test all staff for the next 7 days), please use the mailbox, notify them of the situation and request additional kit. When making these necessary urgent requests, please include the following in your email request:

  • Care Home Service Number (CS200XXXXXXX)
  •  Number of staff
  •  The nature of the urgent request (e.g. outbreak, stock depleted due to a specific reason) If you are experiencing an outbreak, please add OUTBREAK in the email subject line and confirm you have been in touch with local Health Protection who have advised you to test all staff for 7 days
  • current remaining number of Lateral Flow devices for staff daily testing

New Orient Gene 20s kits are currently being distributed which will replace Orient Gene 7s kits. All existing Innova 25s stock must be used up first. Training materials are published on this page. As early identification of cases is even more important with the new Omicron variant, we also encourage all social care staff to consider taking a LFD test on a daily basis, and particularly on the days they are working with potentially vulnerable people. NSS will deliver extra kits to providers from w/b 20 December 2021.  



A free helpline is available to provide advice on testing. Tel:  0800 008 6587 available 09:00 to 17:00 every day

Please note that these materials will be updated regularly so please continue to check this website for up to date information and guidance. 

From 17 June 2021 - uploading LFD testing results and bar code scanners

In the months following the sector update on 17 June 2021 care homes will be provided with smaller testing kits with seven kits in them. 

Users will also receive a scanner which means the bar code is automatically entered.   

Improved functionality has also been introduced to the covid testing portal.  

If you experience any problems you should email

New care homes

New care home providers should call the helpline on 0800 008 6587 or email

Please be advised there is a two-to-three week lead time for the set-up of deliveries from the point of collecting all relevant information, which the helpline will do. An email containing guidance and expected kit delivery date will be issued to the new provider as soon as everything is set up. NSS will copy in the relevant HSCP contact for oversight.


Coronavirus (COVID-19): social care and community based testing overview

Sector letters and updates


Training materials

Resources - testing

First published: 11 Jan 2021 Last updated: 4 Feb 2022 -