One of the important duties of a CNA is to provide manicure and pedicure care to a patient. Some patients are too weak to perform activities of daily living and may need the assistance of a CNA. Nail care is important to prevent the spread of infections that may occur due to scratching. The patients’ nail beds are also likely to have microorganisms which may enter the body if there is breakage in the skin due to scratching.
The CNA should be adequately trained to perform nail care on a patient. The nursing assistant should use the following guidelines while providing manicure and pedicure to a patient:
- Ensure to have suitable sterile materials for nail care such as warm water, soap, nail cutter, lotion, towel, and orange stick.
- Perform hand hygiene and put on your gloves.
- Ensure that the patient is comfortably situated before beginning nail care.
- To sterilize the patient’s fingers and toes, soak them in warm soapy water.
- Take the hands/feet from the water and use the orange stick to gently clean the nails. Next, clip one nail at a time.
- Look for any signs of fungal growth or inflammation in the nail beds. If there are any signs of infection, report immediately to the supervisor.
- Once cleaned and clipped, use a towel to wipe the patient’s fingers/toes.
- The rough or sharp areas of the nails are then filed, for smoothness.
- Apply hand/feet lotion as required.
- Ensure to correctly dispose of all soiled material, linen or wash-cloth used for manicure and pedicure. Perform hand hygiene.
Providing nail care to a diabetic patient is critical as a small nick can result in a serious infection. It is usually performed by a doctor or a nail care specialist. In a diabetic patient, the body tissues do not repair naturally, so a minor scratch on the skin can cause an infection. An orange stick is also not ideally used for a diabetic patient as it increases the risk for nail fungus. The cuticles should not be clipped, but gently pushed back. Clipping the nails too short may also cause irritation and is therefore avoided. In case there are ulcers on the skin, pedicures and manicures are not recommended until the ulcers heal completely.