Provide Hand and Nail Care

Care Plan: Provide hand and nail care to one hand.

TESTING TIP: Let the patient check the water temperature. Click here for more info!


Click on each question below to view the answer…

What if the patient has rings on?

You may wash around the rings as you perform this skill or you may ask the patient to remove their rings and place them in a safe place. Do not ever place a patient’s rings on your finger for safekeeping, as the patient may interpret this as stealing or you may forget to return the rings at the end of the skill. Do not place them on the table, as they can be accidentally discarded or lost at the end of the skill.

Are we supposed to clip their fingernails during nail care?

No.  Clipping fingernails is generally not in a CNA’s scope of practice.  With regular hand and nail care, nails are kept short through filing and should not need clipping.  If the patient appears to need their fingernails clipped, you should notify the nurse.

How often is this skill required in a clinical setting?

The frequency of this skill will be outlined in each patient’s care plan. It is important to refer to the care plan for specific instructions on each individual patient.

Should I wear gloves for this skill?

You should wear gloves if you are unsure of the skin condition of the hands. If you are familiar with your patient, and the patient has no skin abnormalities, you do not need to wear gloves. Gloves are optional for the exam.

Why do I have to file the fingernails in one direction only?

Filing nails in a seesaw motion can cause brittle nails to split lengthwise. Brittle nails are very common among patients with hypothyroidism, a common condition among our elderly population.