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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.



Keep the site CLEAN

o Always wash hands or wear gloves
before handling the central line or the
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
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
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


What is a PICC line?

Administering Medications

PICC stands for Peripherally Inserted Central


Prepare clean work surface. Prepare


Attach normal saline syringe to cap


Unclamp catheter


Flush with normal saline using gentle stop

supplies (saline flushes, antibiotic,


heparin flush, alcohol wipes). Check

expiration dates on medication.


Wash hands, put on


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


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?


Scrub the cap with alcohol for 30


Connect medicine and administer as directed


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