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How to Care for Your Central Line

  • screenshot from a video on central line catheters

    Cancer treatment often involves receiving chemotherapy, medications, blood products, and fluids. These products are usually given through a needle inserted into a vein. Today, many cancer patients have a central line, which helps them receive medications more easily.

    If you have a central line, your doctor or nurse will teach you how to care for it, and how to disconnect it from any medications you are getting at home. Knowing the correct procedures is essential to preventing infection.

    There are many types of central lines. Each one has its own instructions for home care.

    Central Line Catheter Information Sheets

    These information sheets offer helpful guidance on how to care for a central line catheter. However, they are not meant to take the place of conversations with members of your health care team about your treatment and effects you may experience during and after the use of a central line. Please speak with your doctor or nurse if you have questions or experience problems with your central line catheter.

    Hickman Catheter

    Watch a video demonstrating how to change the dressing on your Hickman catheter.

    PICC Catheter

    • PICC Catheter Patient Guide
      Care tips for your Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC), a special IV catheter that is put in an arm vein and ends in a large vein.

    Caring for your Central Line Catheter (PICC or Hickman)

    Port-A-Cath

    • Patient Guide to the CADD Solis VIP® Infusion Pump
      This guide on using a CADD pump includes information on how to disconnect a CADD pump and flush your Port-A-Cath. You should only do this procedure if instructed to do so by a member of your health care team.
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  • Caring for Your Child's Central Line

    This video series explains how a child's central line works and the key steps needed to keep the central line functioning properly.

  • Flushing Your Central Line Catheter
    Learn how to flush your tunneled catheter (or Hickman line) with saline. Daily saline flushes need to be performed to keep the line working properly. It’s important to know how to care for your central line properly to prevent an infection.

  • Clave Changes
    Learn how to change a clave on your tunneled catheter (or Hickman line). Clave changes should be done weekly to keep your central line working properly and to prevent an infection.

  • How to Disconnect Your Pump and De-access Your Port at Home
    Learn how to stop and turn off the pump at home, disconnect the pump tubing from your port tubing, flush your port tubing, and remove your port needle.