Discharge Instructions: Caring for Your Central Venous Catheter
You are going home with a central venous catheter, a small, soft tube that is placed in a vein in your neck or chest. It is often used when medications or nutrition need to be given over a period of weeks or even months. Having a central venous catheter means you will not need to use an IV and have it replaced every few days.
You will need to care for your catheter to keep it clean and working. This includes changing the dressing, flushing the catheter with fluids, and changing the cap on the end of the catheter. A nurse or other healthcare provider will work with you and your family to teach you what you need to do. This sheet will help you remember what to do when you are at home.
Shower as needed. Cover the insertion site with plastic wrap to keep the dressing and site dry.
Don’t swim, bathe, or do other activities that cause water to cover the insertion site.
Change the dressing over the site as directed by your doctor. You, a family member, or a nurse may perform the dressing change. Some doctors prefer that patients visit the office for dressing changes.
Learn sterile dressing technique if you plan to change the dressing yourself. Ask your doctor or nurse for information about sterile dressing changes.
Always wash your hands before and after any contact with any part of your central venous catheter.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following: