Does a care home have a legal duty to cut and clean residents’ finger nails? | QCS

Does a care home have a legal duty to cut and clean residents’ finger nails?

Laura Wood
Answered by Laura Wood

The feet and nails require special care in order to avoid pain and infection. Fingernails should be kept short and neat; nail clippers are recommended for the trimming of nails and emery boards for filing to prevent jagged edges. For new staff, it would be good practice to assess competency for this task to ensure staff can safely use nail clippers and understand individual risks – This includes people who may be on anticoagulants who may be at risk of excessive bleeding. All of this should be detailed in any individual personal care care plans. Service users should have their own nail clippers and files from an infection control perspective.

Nail care should always be included in the care plan detailing whether the person can maintain their own nail care, whether family support or whether staff need to do this. Mental capacity should also be considered.

Please note that toe nails require a chiropodist and care staff do not normally undertake this.

Therefore, in answer to your question, this is a fundamental aspect of care and is covered by many regulations such a person centered care, safety and privacy and dignity. Failure to meet a person’s needs in order to keep them safe and well would be a neglect of duties  and a potential safeguarding issue.

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