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What to expect when you use a coronavirus home test kit

A person having a mouth swab taken for a covid home test.

Image: A person having a mouth swab taken for a covid home test.

RNIB have been working with Government for several months to try and make sure the testing process for coronavirus is as accessible as possible.

Recommendations we have worked on to improve accessibility have been put in place by the Test and Trace team. However, we know that blind and partially sighted people are still having a varied experiences of the process. We wanted to outline some of the key parts of using a home testing kit for you to be aware of so that you can take a test successfully. You can find detailed HTML instructions on the Government website.

Ordering your home testing kit

  • Order the home testing kit
  • Confirm you have symptoms, choose Homes Test Kit from the options and enter your details Alternatively you can call 119(Lines are open 7am to 11pm). However, you will need to provide an email address to register your kit and a mobile phone number if you want to receive your result by text

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

Get step by step, text only instructions on how to take the swab test. This includes an audio-led video guide to taking the swab test.

Alternatively order the instructions in Digital Braille, Hard Copy Braille, Large Print or Audio when you order a test online or via 119. You can listen to the audio instructions by calling the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999.

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.

RNIB continue to work with DHSC and our partners to improve the accessibility of coronavirus testing. There are still changes being made to the testing process and we know that not everybody’s experience will be the same.