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How do you care for your

PICC line?
4 Cs:

Keep the site COVERED


o ALWAYS have a sterile dressing on the
spot where catheter enters skin.
o It should be clean, dry and taped
securely to skin. Change dressing if it is
wet, soiled or loose.

Complications
o

o
o

Keep the site CLEAN


o Always wash hands or wear gloves
before handling the central line or the
site.
o Change dressing and clean site regularly
as instructed. This decreases the
number of bacteria, which decreases
chance of infection.
o Do not touch the area around the
dressing without sterile gloves on

Keep the line CLAMPED


o Clamps should be closed when not in
use. This prevents air from entering and
blood from backing up and clotting in the
tubing.
o Make sure line is clamped BEFORE
connecting or disconnecting an IV
syringe or changing a cap.

Keep the ends CAPPED


o Caps keep germs from being flushed
from outside directly into the blood.
o Always scrub the cap well with alcohol
as instructed before each use

Shortness of breath (caused by air in


central line)
Emergency! Clamp the central
line, do not flush line and call 911
Lie on left side, prop feet up and
put head down until SOB or chest
pain is gone
Fever, chills, increased tiredness or
irritability (caused by infection)
Call doctor if fever is over 100.5 F
Blood in central line or dripping form
the camp (caused by blood backing up
because line was unclamped)
Clamp the central line. Clean the
end with alcohol, place new cap
and flush central line with saline.
Call home health nurse or doctor
if unable to flush
Central line is not in skin anymore
(pulled out)
Apply pressure to site with sterile
gauze for at least 5 minutes or as
long it is bleeding. Tape the gauze
in place and bring catheter to
doctor.
Resistance when flushing line (clogged
central line)
Check to see if line has a kink or is
still clamped. If not, do not force
any meds and call home health
nurse or doctor

Source: Caring for Your PICC Line at


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKGfz1v6hJ4

HOME CARE OF
A PICC LINE

What is a PICC line?

Administering Medications

PICC stands for Peripherally Inserted Central

1.

Prepare clean work surface. Prepare

5.

Attach normal saline syringe to cap

6.

Unclamp catheter

7.

Flush with normal saline using gentle stop

supplies (saline flushes, antibiotic,

Catheter

heparin flush, alcohol wipes). Check


expiration dates on medication.

2.

Wash hands, put on


gloves

The purpose is to provide access to veins


when a patient requires access greater than 7
days to 3 months. Access to vein is achieved

3.

Open saline syringe and push the air


bubble out

by inserting a catheter (soft tubing) into a

and start motion

central vein (specifically the superior vena


cava) by way of a peripheral vein (a vein far
from the heart).

What are the advantages?

4.

Scrub the cap with alcohol for 30

8.

Connect medicine and administer as directed

9.

Flush with normal saline

10. Flush with Heparin

seconds and let it air dry


Prevents patient from having a needle
inserted in a vein each time
one needs medicine (for
example, antibiotics).
Lower infection rate

11. Clamp the PICC line


12. Wash hands and discard supplies in sharps
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