What should I expect when I use a Coronavirus (Covid-19) home test kit?

RNIB have been working with the government to improve the accessibility of home testing kits and these recommendations are being taken forward. We know that blind and partially sighted people are having a varied experience of the process. A very small number of GP surgeries are able to offer assistance with testing, however GP surgeries are currently heavily focused on the booster vaccine roll out, so you should only use this option as a last resort.

There are ways of making the home test kit easier to use such as asking a family member or friend for help, taking a photo of relevant information on your phone and sending it to someone to read, or using an app such as ‘Be My Eyes’ or FaceTime.

Here are some of the key points for using a home testing kit, which you may also find useful. For detailed instructions in alternative formats visit the gov.uk website.

Ordering your home testing kit

As 1 April 2022 free tests are only available to certain people, please see Am I eligible to have a free Covid test?

Receiving your test kit

You may need some sighted assistance to register your kit as you have to read two bar codes. You could ask a family member, take a photo on your phone and send it to someone to read, or use an app such as ‘Be My Eyes’ or FaceTime.

You’ll need:

  • Your 10-digit order ID from your order confirmation email
  • Your 11-character test kit barcode 
  • The 13-character Royal Mail barcode on the prepaid return label

Taking the swab test

For step by step, text only instructions on how to take the swab test go the gov.uk website. This includes an audio led video guide to taking the swab test.

Packing your kit away

As part of packing the kit ready for posting, you have to assemble a small cardboard box. You may need some sighted assistance for this part of the process as many blind and partially sighted people, among others, have found it challenging to put this together independently.

Posting your kit

Post your completed test kit in your nearest priority postbox no later than 1 hour before the last collection time of the day, or wait for your courier to collect it.

Get test results by text and email

You should get your results 2 days after your home test is collected. It may take longer due to the volume of tests being processed. Your results will be sent by email and as a text to the mobile number you provided when you registered online.

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