Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

13th June 2019

Can a carer cut a service user’s toe nails?

Hi Sheila, can carers cut a service user's toe nails?


Dear Joanne,


Thank you for your question.


I think you would be surprised at how often I am asked this question and this is a response that I gave some time ago which I have reviewed. I do understand that whether or not a care worker should undertake the cutting of service user's toenails does cause confusion but I believe that the process to be gone through is relatively straightforward.


The service should have a policy on the cutting of toenails and part of the policy should be about a risk assessment for each individual service user and the points to be included in that risk assessment.


If the risk assessment finds that it is safe for a care worker to cut the nails then the Registered Manager must satisfy themselves that the care worker has the necessary competencies. This must all, of course, be properly recorded.


If there are any perceived risks associated with a service user such as diabetes, then the GP should be consulted and most probably a referral would be made to the chiropody service.


It is important that these steps are carried out to protect both the care worker and, more importantly, the service user.


If the care assistant has any concerns about the toe nails of a particular service user then the matter should be referred back to the Registered Manager.


With best wishes.





*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE from National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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