Caring for your PICC line, caring for yourself
If you need to go home with a PICC line, don’t worry! Your doctor or nurse will instruct you on how to look after the line and yourself. But here are some simple things you can do to take care of yourself whilst you have the line, and ensure it keeps working efficiently.
1. Prevent infection
Maintaining good hand hygiene will help keep the PICC line clean. Always clean your hands before and after you touch any part of the PICC line and ask your visitors and family members to do the same.
2. Keep the PICC dry
Using a waterproof cover for your PICC line, such as a LimbO, will keep your PICC line dry when bathing or showering. If you get it wet at any other point, call your healthcare provider for instructions on what to do.
3. Use the arm as much as possible for normal activities – but avoid sport and exercise
Although it might feel like you should keep still, moving your arm as normal is good and can help prevent blood clots. Your doctor might also show you some light movements you can do to help. However, you should steer clear of exercise and sports.
4. Don’t lift anything heavy
Heavy-lifting should be avoided with a PICC line.
5. Stay hydrated
This is a fairly easy one to do. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and help prevent the formation of blood clots.
If you’re unsure about how to care for your PICC line, please make sure you speak to your healthcare team for further information.
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Written by Joe Redman