What Type of Care Does a PICC Line Require?


Quick Answer

Steps for taking care of a peripherally inserted central catheter, or PICC, line include practicing good hand hygiene, maintaining movement in the arm, avoiding bending too far at the waist and staying hydrated, according to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Careful observation helps prevent problems before they occur.

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Full Answer

Maintaining a clean PICC line area is important for preventing complications such as infections, and keeping careful watch over the line insertion is critical, Vanderbilt University Medical Center reports. A person with a PICC line needs to watch for changes in skin color or tone, and report changes immediately to a medical professional. For preventative care, it is important to wash hands frequently, and avoid touching the catheter or dressing. The PICC line area must be kept as dry as possible.

A person with a PICC line needs to maintain muscle movement in the arm with the line in it, but excessive exercise or engaging in sports is not recommended, according to Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Bending so that the arm is below the waist area or using tools such as scissors needs to be avoided, as this can cause the PICC line to slip out of the vein. Furthermore, drinking plenty of water helps reduce the chance of clotting.

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