(My mom is actually the one who normally cleans under grandma’s nails, not normally me). So mom tried cleaning under grandma’s nails after they both washed their hands but grandma hated it and said mom was being mean! Mom was able to clean some but nails are still not completely cleaned up. Hand washing is of course always important but especially important during the COVID-19 outbreak and we are concerned with grandma’s nails staying dirty. Anyone have any helpful tips on how we can get her to let us clean under her nails? I hate to say it but they look gross and who knows what is under them 😬
I do NOT advocate that you take her to a nail salon right NOW. That is not advisable due to COVID-19.
A soft nail brush was not mentioned in your question. Has that method been tried? Sorry this message got duplicated. Your Mom and yourself tell your Grandma you love her!
His hands are curled in pretty badly from the spasticity and contracture. He somehow manages to get really disgusting nails. His lack of coordination meant also that he would gouge his face or ears when just trying to scratch an itch. Pretty gross and god knows what bacteria he was injecting into those cuts.
I would wash his hands then clip the nails but had a real problem with it bleeding. The solution that made me able to safely clip his nails was to do a pre-cleaning under his nails with the slanted end of an orange stick used in manicures. I wrap an alcohol prep pad over it and clean all the gunk out from under the nail, pushing the skin that tends to grow under the nail down. I change the positioning of the pad for each finger, always using a clean surface, and using a nee pad for each hand. That creates not only a cleaner more sanitized nail but also makes it safer to clip since you have a nice white line showing you how far you can clip and not make it bleed. I clip just shy of that and then do lots of filing smooth so he doesn’t scratch himself. Make sure to file the corners of each nail because as they grow out even a little they can be so so sharp for someone who has coordination issues.
Oh yes I also do a pre soak of each hand in a plastic hand basin with a little antibacterial soap added. His hands get horribly mildewy smelling because he keeps his hands partially clenched due to the contracture. Have not found any doctor or nurse who can advise on how to mitigate that. Facility staff won’t do any of this. They categorise nail clipping as a surgical procedure. So I do the above process with his hands and with his feet too. Otherwise he would have nasty dirty talons. They also don’t clean eyes, ears, noses even on patients like my brother who can do none of this himself. I do it but now with the coronavirus lockdown he is going to be a mess.
Nail brush to clean the nails.
Cut the nails as short as you possibly can. (if you do polish use clear so you can see when the nails become soiled again)
If grandma is not out gardening I am sure the "dirt" under her nails is a mix of...hold your lunch folks...dead skin cells, food, fecal matter.
Current recommendations are not to use a nail brush as they can get pretty gross (see above) and most are not cleaned properly. The way to clean under the nails is to scrub the nails in the palm of the other hand. You do one then the other, if this is done each time you wash the hands it will do a good job of cleaning under the nails.
The trick now is to get grandma to wash her hands properly.
I don't think aides always tried to get sis to wash hands after using the bathroom either. I don't hear the water running after-she just comes out-we go right back in to wash hands.
No no more polish, keep them very short. Sis did not seem to mind-I say we need to keep every thing as clean as possible and looking good. I always scrub down with a small tooth brush and antibacterial soap. But I only get there a couple times per week before we moved this week. She is not allowed to keep her toiletries in her room and wall soap dispenser is empty at times and no paper towels to dry off.
They never help with teeth brushing either. Sis is cooperative-staff is just extremely lazy. Dentist says teeth are much worse than last check up. So I have proof they are not doing what is needed to provide appropriate care.
Now sis in a new place, can't go see as they are in lock down due to corona-we'll have to see how it goes.
My brother can’t speak or communicate other than yes/no questions to staff (he can spell out words with a modified ASL alphabet but only to me since we have changed so many letter positions due to his hand contractures from brain injury). Anyway, they think he can’t speak therefore he is intellectually damaged (he’s not) and so when he tells me they don’t brush his teeth they say they did and he is confused. He isn’t. They refuse to do nails, it’s considered a surgical procedure. Every 6 months a “podiatrist” comes around and cuts toenails. Charges 250 bucks for this “doctor visit”. What a scam.
But one thing you might mention to your nursing facility is that nursing home facilities can decrease their incidence of bacterial pneumonia (a huge problem and cause of death in homes) by 50% if they just do THOROUGH daily teeth brushing with toothbrush, toothpaste and, for those with swallowing difficulties like my brother, a suction machine. I use suction toothbrushes and swabs for cleaning and rinsing. Sadly, the staff won’t use his suction machine so when they “brush” his teeth they only use a sponge swab on a stick and swipe his mouth with it.
There is so much more detail work that I do that they won’t...in his case because he is totally dependant. I still can’t understand how they can look at him and not see that his eye is infected and glued shut almost every day, or that he has dried rocks clogging his nose, or wax plugging his ears. A lot of that. And lips so chapped they are peeling in sheets. It takes five minutes to clear his nose, ears, eyes. Another five to brush his teeth and put on some lip balm. But they don’t have time and assume I will do it anyway. But now he is on lockdown and I finally saw him this week at an outside doctor appointment. He is a hot mess, as expected.
Stay strong during this lockdown. As bad as it is, I realize that for the vulnerable nursing home population this is the best thing for his safety and for me and my husband (he’s just had his 43rd chemo treatment so is vulnerable to anything I might bring home).
Just know that when this lockdown Is over we are all going to have some major cleanup to do!
Hang in there! (Sorry such a long answer I promise you this was the abridged version, I rarely have a chance to vent to anyone who is in similar circumstances. Ok plus I admit I am just wordy!)