Testing service users on our inpatient wards

We have a system in place to ensure that everyone who is admitted to our inpatient services is tested to ensure that they do not have COVID-19 and cannot spread it to others on the ward. Please see details of this procedure below and also some FAQ about testing

Testing of inpatients:

  • Patients have a PCR test on admission. The PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, is extremely reliable. A swab is taken from the back of the throat or the very top of the nostrils, which some patients may find a little uncomfortable. Patients are then tested again on the third and seventh days after admission. They must be isolated until the result of the day 7 test is back and it is negative. Newly admitted patients who refuse to be swabbed and tested, are treated as though they are positive and isolated for 14 days.  This is to ensure that the virus is not introduced onto our wards, and that service users are kept safe.
  • All patients are tested once a week as an additional precaution to make sure they do not have the virus and are not spreading it to others.
  • Patients who have a positive PCR test must isolate for 14 days from the day the first positive test was taken. If the patient remains symptomatic at 14 days, they are assessed to see whether the need continued isolation.
  • A patient in hospital who has been in contact with another patient who is COVID positive, must isolate for 14 days.
  • A patient in hospital who has been in contact with a staff member who has had a positive PCR test, must have risk assessment to determine whether they must isolate for 14 days. 



1 What happens if a patient tests positive and has to isolate?

If a patient tests positive they must self-isolate for 14 days.

2 What if more than one patient tests positive? Do they all have to isolate, and how long for?

If several patients test positive then all patients on the ward must self-isolate for 14 days.

3 What happens if an inpatient shows symptoms of COVID-19?

A patient who displays symptoms is isolated and tested. If the result is positive they have to self-isolate for 14 days from the date the positive test was taken.

4 Are inpatients going to be vaccinated by the Trust?

We are currently not able to administer the vaccine at the Trust. We are currently offering vaccination appointments for patient-facing staff at vaccination clinics and await further guidance.

5 How often are patients being monitored for symptoms?

We are continuously monitoring all patients on our wards. This includes checking their mental and physical health. If anyone develops COVID-19 symptoms, they are immediately isolated and tested.

6 How are patients being helped to cope with isolation? Have staff been given training to help them with this?

Staff working in mental health services are trained to deal with a wide range of conditions and circumstances and are supporting patients through any periods of self-isolation. We understand that self-isolation is particularly difficult for those with mental health problems but this is an essential measure to ensure that all our service users and staff are kept as safe as possible. In order to make isolation a bit easier, our activity workers continue to provide activities; we have provided additional iPads to enable video calls and access to other online activities; and we have a system in place to give people short breaks outside in a COVID safe way. 

C&I works with some of the finest researchers and virologists in the world in our partnership with UCLH. We have taken their advice alongside Government guidelines to draw up procedures, which we are constantly reviewing, to ensure that we keep our patients as safe as possible during the pandemic.


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