With Covid's second wave upon us, getting regularly tested will help you stay safe as a frontline worker.
That's why we ask Florence nurses and carers to get tested once a week, and share your results with us.
But where's the best place to get your test? And what kind of tests are available?
Here, we'll give you the latest information on testing for agency staff, and clarify the government's guidelines.
Where to get a Covid-19 test
A Covid-19 test tells you if you're currently infected with the virus, whether you are showing symptoms or not. You can get a test in two ways:
1. At a care home
You should be offered a free test through the care home(s) you book shifts with on Florence, as part of the home's weekly testing programme. You should receive a test even if you feel well and don't have symptoms.
Government guidance states that all staff should be included in weekly testing performed by the home, including agency staff.
If you are told you are not eligible to be part of a home's testing programme, this is wrong. Refer the home to government guidance here (page 4, under 'Staff' heading).
2. Book it yourself
We know some care homes are facing testing supply issues - in this case, you should request a free test through the government's portal here.
This should be used as an alternative method if the home(s) you work with aren't able to provide a test.
Plan to request a test this way every week if you're booked to work but unsure whether you'll be able to get tested.
We hope following this advice helps you increase your chances of getting tested every week. We know supply and access to tests is different depending on where you are in the UK.
Where to get an antibody test
An antibody test tells you if it’s likely you’ve had coronavirus before.
It doesn't tell you:
- If you’re protected from coronavirus
- If you can or cannot spread the virus to other people
Adult social care workers (such as care home nurses and carers) can now register to receive a free antibody test through the government's portal here.
You may want to request it if you're not currently working on the frontline, but want to know if you've previously been infected. Taking the test also helps NHS and research scientists learn more about who’s had the virus and how it has spread.
It's important to note that an antibody test doesn't replace a Covid-19 test. If you continue frontline work, you should continue to get a regular Covid-19 test every week.
We know this is a challenging time to be an independent nurse or carer. If you have any further questions about testing, or what else we can do to help you curing Covid-19, please get in touch with our friendly team - we’ll be happy to help.