Carehome's requiring PCR tests

I’ve learned recently certain care homes are requiring PCR tests right now before a person is allowed to stay there for respite and so on. This is all sensible and good EXCEPT the rigmarole of getting a PCR test for someone who ISN’T showing symptoms.

First off, you can pay for one (£100+) and job done. Failing that, you need to order one from the government website but the government website has 2 tests, A PCR test for people who ARE showing symptoms and a lateral flow test for people who ARE NOT and the care home only accepts results from a PCR test. DIlemma! Well you can work around this by telling your GP the situation and they should let you use them as an advocate then you can go back to the government website and tick the box ‘my GP asked me to get one’.

All sorted right? NOPE! Now when you get the test through, you then have to administer it. The test requires the swab to wipe the tonsil area AND ONLY the tonsil area for a minimum of 10 seconds to avoid cross contamination. Let me tell you, looking after someone with dementia, this is about the most impossible task I have ever came across!

If anyone has had experience of the same or knows an easier way around all please lemme know. :laughing:


this does sound all very difficult. I think I would baulk at paying for a PCR test. If the home are requesting your caree has a negative test before receiving respite (which is understandable) then I would expect them to provide one. They already have these supplied to the home and a collection service in place. Although potentially difficult to take swabs from someone with dementia, I don’t think I would want my relative to have respite in a care home that wasn’t regularly testing staff, residents and particularly new people entering the home.

There is guidance on the internet re tackling this with people with dementia and the main advice is to allow plenty of time. If it makes it any easier, the advice for children is if you cannot swab their tonsils you can swab both nostrils instead - I cannot see a reason why this can’t be the case in adults with dementia.


Hiya Melly. Sorry for the late reply. Thankfully the PCR test came back with a negative result via text so all went well thankfully.

I had a care worker helping trying to get a PCR test to me, then my doctor but the only route seemed to be the government website in the end. Thankfully it arrived quickly and the results came though the day after. Also The PCR test at the time gave very strict instructions about doing both the nose and the mouth for adults. Doesn’t help you only get one try also. :laughing:

I literally had 2 days notification about my respite date so it was a bit chaotic trying to sort everything. I got the results through on the morning my dad was booked for respite, by the afternoon, I was on my first break in 2 years. :smiley:

Glad it all went well in the end Aaron and you were able to get your break.