Foot and hand carers, unlike podiatrists, do not diagnose or treat disease or conditions of the feet and hands, but rather work to maintain their good health. By technical definition, a hand and foot carer trims the nails, helps to reduce calluses and corns, and uses massage therapy while monitoring the health and hygiene of the hands and feet.
Both manicurists and pedicurists provide cosmetic services, helping to improve the appearance of the hands and feet usually in a salon-like setting. Foot and hand caregivers do more in terms of health and also provide in-home services to clients including older individuals who may be confined to their homes and require more detailed care.
It should be noted that foot and hand carers are not affiliated with the medical field of podiatry and should only be consulted with matters of foot and hand hygiene.
Development of Foot and Hand Care
The need for quality foot and hand care has been ever increasing, as is evident by reports from the health care industry as well as government entities who have both noted that the demand for podiatry and related services is growing at twice the rate of the overall population itself.
Many times, conditions of the feet and hands are beyond the level of the nursing staff or pedicurists and manicurists, requiring the need, and the extra expense, of a podiatrist. However, in most instances, a professional foot and hand carer would be able to provide treatment such as reducing corns and calluses without the need for a foot doctor.
Nursing homes, community health and rehabilitation centres, and hospitals alike have shown great interest in learning how to educate employees and bring foot and hand carers into their realm of care.
Foot and Hand Carers Association
The FHCA (Foot and Hand Carers Association), has been incorporated since 1981 under the Associations Incorporations Act and governed by an elected committee which provides a unique network of support for qualified foot and hand caregivers. Members of the FHCA have access to benefits such as business and networking advice, low cost insurance, legal advice, and a host of information on matters of foot and hand care.
Some purposes and goals of the FHCA include:
- Establishing and promoting high standards of care and integrity within the foot and hand care industries.
- Establishing and promoting quality, professional training for those involved in this industry.
- Promoting the benefits of foot and hand care through public awareness by educating people via informative programs.
- Maintaining standards outlined within the FHCA Code of Ethics and encouraging members to be in compliance at all times.
- Protecting the best interests of both members and the public.
Example — Corns and Calluses in the Elderly
Unfortunately, it’s a fact that the elderly are prone to painful and often disabling conditions related to the feet. So much so that nearly eight million each and every year consult with their doctors, half of which are then treated for corns and calluses. But, many people still never seek medical care for problems with their feet or toes and instead, suffer in silence or try one of the numerous over-the-counter remedies available today. And, because of this, there really is no way to determine the actual number of people that do indeed have serious foot problems.
Since the older population is so susceptible to developing simple but painful problems such as corns or calluses because of thinning skin and also, plain and simple ageing, it’s important to ensure that places such as nursing homes or hospitals are serviced regularly by a licensed podiatrist.
Toenail Care for Diabetics
People with diabetes must take extra care to pay attention to both their feet and toes because of side effects of the disease, including poor circulation and a condition known as peripheral neuropathy in which the person cannot feel sensations of pain. Ingrown toenails are another common concern, making it imperative that the toenail area be thoroughly examined on a regular basis.
Diabetics should be instructed on properly caring for their feet, including using lukewarm water when washing to avoid burns, wearing only cotton socks to help keep the feet dry, and the great importance of seeing a podiatrist for regular foot care. A podiatrist will be able to trim the toenails properly and ensure that serious complications do not arise like infection.