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.

25th September 2019

Can a carer in a registered care home cut fingernails for a diabetic patient with learning disabilities and autism?

Hi Sheila, can a carer in a registered care home cut fingernails for a diabetic patient with learning disabilities and autism. The chiropodist will only cut the toenails. Who is allowed to cut the fingernails?


Hi Julie,


Thank you for your question which I know is one which concerns many care workers.


I think that the answer though is straightforward.


There are two parts to it.


First the Registered Manager or their representative needs to be confident that the care worker is competent to cut finger nails. This should be properly recorded (training can of course be provided).


Then there needs to be a risk assessment carried out directly considering the individual service user and this service user does have complex conditions.  The risk assessment should pay particular attention of the service users medical history and any individual risks and be properly recorded.


Where possible, you should complete this with the service user. The risk assessment will be carried out by a senior member of staff and the GP  or other healthcare professionals may be consulted too.


Providing that the two assessments above are positive then the decision will be made for the support worker to perform the task. This needs to be properly recorded too.


I hope this is helpful.


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 as the former CEO of 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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