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Is this notmal - dirty fingers/nails at CH


Registered User
Jun 11, 2012
My dad is doubly incontinent. He wears pads but tend to go at night and unfortuantely then digs about with his nails (sorry).

On very many occassions his fingers and nails still have poo on them and under them when I visit. I have cleaned them on many occassions with a nail brush.

I do feel like all I do is moan at the CH and I worry if I complain too much it will affect how they treat dad. I have had to complain about hi not being shaved, wearing other peoples clothes that are too small for him (looked like tramp and joggers were 3 sizes too small and cutting into him).
The nail thing is really upsetting me as it is horrible to see and I worry about him making himself ill and/or other residents.

I also find the CH manager very unapproachable she gets very defensive if I bring anything up. I went into her office today and spoke to the deputy she was in there as well and didnt even turn round to look at me (it is a tiny office).

Is this just part and parcel of CH or am I right to expect my dad to be clean shaven and have clean nails and hands?

Can anyone please advise me as to what I should and how best to handle this with CH.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Hello betsie

Dirty fingernails are unacceptable.

However unapproachable the CH manager is, you have every right to expect your dad`s fingernails to be kept short and clean. And you should not be expected to take that responsibility.

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
I occasionally have the same problem with my mother. Whenever I see my mother's nails need cleaning and cutting, I speak to the nurse or one of the staff.

If that doesn't work for you, and it doesn't seem to, I think a friendly letter saying you would like your dad's fingernails checked regularly as you are concerned he could get get a infection by touching his eyes, etc. This isn't far fetched as my mother has had several eye infections because of her habit of rummaging in her diaper and then touching her face.

Your point about his infecting other residents (and even staff) is a good one and I would bring that up again. I think a calm letter stating your concerns is the way to go. Ask if they have any ideas on what could be done to help prevent this issue.

There will still be the odd time that you find your dad's hands in a state, but it should only be occasional and not constant. I do consider it a health issue and something that should be addressed.


Registered User
Aug 30, 2012
Brixham Devon
Finger nails should definitely be clean. My husband does the same when he has pooed at night.Sepsis can set in if ultra cleanliness is not followed.The staff at the CH clean nails everyday.

Correct clothes should also be worn; it's difficult enough for Dementia patients to keep their dignity as it is, but as long as clothes/shoes are correctly labelled there should be no problem.

If you don't get any joy with a written complaint to the Manager I think contacting the CQC could be in order-you don't have to state your name.

Take care

Lyn T


Registered User
Apr 16, 2012
Fingernail situation is definitely unacceptable as everyone has said.

It's difficult for homes to always keep track of clothes and I check MIL's wardrobe at least once a week to remove clothes that aren't hers and to check that name labels are still there. We use a stamp for her undies and that tends to fade so needs renewing on occasion. As I was her sole carer for a while, it makes me feel that I'm still useful as well:eek:


Registered User
Mar 26, 2011
Near Southampton
I read a CQC report of Dave's home.In it was noted that residents' glasses were clean and so were fingernails. So it is definitely something they look out for.

I aways check Dave's glasses but they are not always completely clean.
When his nails aren't, I do mention it to the nurse. They usually are ok though but with his fingers now curling inwards,I realise it's not an easy job to either clean or cut them. However, because of the extra risk of an infection and Dave being diabetic,it is very important they are kept clean.

Regarding clothes, like Peggy, I usually check things and sort things when I visit.I do have quite a good relationship with the laundry staff too which helps!


Registered User
Dec 16, 2009
This happened to Dad when he was in hospital for a spell. I had asked every day for 3 days that his nails be cleaned, it wasn't done, so on the fourth day I requested a bowl of water and did it myself.

On the day of his discharge, the head nurse asked me..'did your Dad come IN with pressure sores?' I told her noooo! By the look on her face I figured that he had them now, which proved to be true when I got him home :(

They want their backsides kicked :rolleyes:


Registered User
Dec 3, 2012
Sounds familiar....

The situation the OP describes sounds very much like the situation I found at mum's first care home - quite frequently her finger and toe nails were overgrown, no matter how much I asked for them to be trimmed. The situation in her new home is far better and they keep a careful eye on all the residents nails - in fact there is a box on the daily record sheet for the staff to tick to confirm they have checked the nails of the person they are looking after. I know that doesn't guarantee anything but at least if there are any issues it serves as a record.

In terms of clothing, I'm sorry but I can't see there's any excuse for people's clothing going missing if there are labels in their things. I know it may sound critical, but where residents are wearing each other's items then it's wholly unacceptable.

thats life

Registered User
Jan 2, 2013
In the ch my mother is in, it is normal, i have given up complaining about faeces in her finger nails staff say they clean then regulary, I live very near the ch so visit daily, I cut both her finger and toe nails and clean hands and nails every day. Also clean her teeth as there is no evidence that this is ever done , although staff sign to say they have cleaned them, Dont know the answer to improving matters


Registered User
Jun 11, 2012
Thanks for the replies. I find it so distressing that such basic care needs are not always met. I worry that if they are not doing the basic's like clean hands and nails are they doing other important things like making sure they are not sitting in soiled pads or making sure they have enough to drink.

I often go in and staff are just sitting in the lounge with residents reading a paper or watching tv - why can't they do nails then.

After my dads recent spell in hospital and the severe lack of care received their by him and other dementia patients I do wonder whether many of the people who go into nursing/caring do it for the right reasons. Many seem to show no care or compassion and it is just a job to them, waiting for the shift to finish till they go home.


Registered User
Jul 10, 2011
Horsham, West Sussex
I pay for a chiropodist for mum's feet, but when I saw her toenails when wearing sandals at home with me recently I took photographs and emailed them straight to the care home manager, with a polite request than they be attended to immediately, which they were. She said she had spoken to all the staff to ensure that foot care was part of the daily care. I can't understand why it isn't, as well as finger nail care, as standard?

Now I'm having a bit of an issue with her finger nails, every so often the ladies have nice nail varnish put on, and their nails cut; this happened before I went on holiday. When I came back, the nail varnish was still on, all chipped and horrible and some of mum's nails were broken and dirty, so I'll be having words again. I took all the old varnish off and gave her a manicure. I'd willingly forgo the nail varnish in exchange for clean short nails.


Registered User
Sep 4, 2011
when my aunt was in a CH her nails were always clean and she always had her own clothes on. I think that that should be standard everywhere and if it isn't we should complain long and loud.


Registered User
Nov 8, 2012
I wish we had one for my mum's CH. We have a podiatrist, but no manicurist.

I do agree about the finger nails, but have some sympathy for the staff who are run off their feet. I was chatting to the husband of one member of staff who told me they have 30 minutes to get 4 people up, washed and dressed. Not good.

So, I do mum's nails. She enjoys it and it gives me something to do for her.

As for the clothes, well I try to keep track of them, but mum seems inclined to 'collect' things. Her clothes are always clean and she wears something different every day.


Registered User
Aug 29, 2007
SW London
My mother has a chiropodist for her feet (we pay extra for this) but fingernails are dealt with by CH staff.
I have noticed that since her, ahem, attitude to personal hygiene has deteriorated, her nails are kept very much shorter than they were. Very occasionally I have found they need cleaning, but I am all too aware of the habits she has deteriorated into, and for all I know the dirt may have been acquired in the last half hour. Have to say the staff do seem to keep a watchful eye.
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Registered User
Mar 31, 2013
Bedfordshire UK
My Mum is in a Carehome and her nails are always dirty. I cut them myself. But she has recently had a bad eye infection, no doubt due to her habit of touching her eyes! I will be asking for nail cleaning to be adhered to in her Careplan.
Its a nightmare though. I wash her hair because they dont do it often enough. I complained about their bad practice of advancing on female residents in the communal areas, to dry shave their faces with a razor! Horrifying! The tea trolley comes round 3 times daily (supposedly). I was there 2 hours last night and no tea trolley at alloted time and no drinks offered to anyone!
I am in desperate process of getting Mum moved!! :(