Discharge Instructions: Caring for Your Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC)
|A PICC line in place.|
You are going home with a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) in place. A PICC is a temporary tube that takes the place of an IV (intravenous) line. It is often used when medications or nutrition need to be given over a period of weeks or even months. Having a PICC means you will not need to have an IV replaced every few days.
Your catheter will need some care to keep it clean and working. Care will include 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 covers the general guidelines for caring for your catheter.
Use your arm, but avoid activities that cause you discomfort.
Don’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds with the affected arm.
Shower as needed. Cover the site with plastic wrap to keep the dressing and site dry.
Don’t swim, bathe, or do anything that causes water to cover the insertion site.
Always wash your hands before and after any contact with any part of your PICC.
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.
Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor immediately if you have any of the following: