Advice on picc line

Hi everyone . I'm probably worrying unnecessarily but I had my first visit from the district nurse today to flush out and change the dressing on my PICC. The hospital had done a wonderful job securing it and it has a little device on it called a Securacath which has to be lifted straight up to a 90° angle at every dressing change to be cleaned. When the nurse turned up she was a bit concerned because she hadn't seen one like mine before and wasn't confident to do the dressing. I showed her the information that had been given to me by the hospital showing how it should be done. She phoned her surgery to ask advice and it was agreed that if I was happy for her to go ahead she would do it . I was okay with this and everything was fine however I have had another look at the instructions for the Securacath and realised that she didn't actually lift up to clean underneath it . Now I have this little germ in my head wondering if it will be okay to leave it until next week. Has anybody else come across this problem? Chris xx

15 Replies

  • Hi Chris from a fellow piccer! I always attend the chemo unit for flushing and yes they always clean under the Securocath and change it (though having said that one didn't )!

    I used to work as a practice nurse in my former life and know that dealing with picc lines is an extended role and some DNs as you say may not be familiar. I have a good friend who is an oncology nurse and she advised me to attend the unit purely for this reason!

    I don't think it'll hurt for one time but maybe from now on could you go to your unit? It's a bind I know but better to be safe than sorry xxx

  • Thanks for advice Maz. The nurse was lovely but unfortunately I was a bit thrown by her worry about not having come across one of these before . She did say that it wouldn't always be her visiting depending on who was on shift but obviously now worried that the next one won't really know what to do . Trouble is I don't like to upset people. Note to self, must start thinking of me and not other people . 🤔😄🌻

  • Chris, please ring your unit and let them decide what needs to happen- these lines are precious and you much more... A friend had a very similar quandary after her DN came out and like you was really concerned not to cause problems.... The hospital team are best placed (& really the only ones) to be able to make the assessment -my friend had to have hers redressed though yours may be fine left. They will also be best placed to advise the community team on protocols or training....

    Do call them, describe what happened and see what they suggest... hopefully they can simply reassure you all is fine and make sure the next time, DNs are fully prepared.

    Best wishes Sx (sorry for sounding overly bossy!)

  • When I had my PICC line I went to my chemo unit for the weekly flushing etc. Can you not do that? Definitely ring your unit re what happened if you haven't already done it, you need to feel confident

    Take care

    Clare X

  • I would definitely recommend ring them because you don't wants setback with it. I once asked my GP to flush it as I wasn't going to Manchester that week and he was freaked out and said he couldn't do it. I felt like saying I could do it myself but ended up going to clinic in Manchester so let them do it xo

  • I'd ring them to see whether it matters. And maybe she should get in touch with them for advice too. I know it's hard to be critical but if she is any good she'll be grateful for help to improve her practice.

  • Thank you all for your replies. I did phone my unit and they have said if I'm concerned they will redress for me. Unfortunately my hospital is not close by but if I have a problem next week I will definitely look for an alternative for getting it done. Luckily there is a hospice nearby which has a special chemo room so I may be able to arrange to go there. Hope you all have a good weekend. Take care xxx🌻

  • My PICC line care was a total disaster as well.They never withdrew blood before flushing,half the time could not change the device(do not know what it is called),had to have my blood taken in vein by butterfly(I showed them how to do it) and the dressing fell off by the next day!!!!!!

    Never had an infection though ,although I am still aware of some discomfort in that area 6 years later Make sure they do it properly or ask the clinic to do it .I wish I had done that.

    Take care xxx

  • Hi. Thanks for your reply. Yes dressing was a bit of a mess too. My husband redid it for me. I am going to give the district nurses one more chance next week. If they can't do it properly then I will ask if I can have it done where I have my chemo. Take care xx🌻

  • I have to say that having the chemo through the line was a godsend as I do not think I could have stood the constant struggle to get a vein!!!!

    Regards xxx

  • Hi Chris, I have a PICC line and they always clean under it. Its important that they let it dry properly too before applying new dressing. One thng I would watch out for though is that they don't get a kink in the line, this happened to me on my last change of dressing weekend prior to final chemo on Tuesday past and the alarm on the machine kept going off. Started chemo, carbo taxol at 9.30am and didn't finish until 5pm so a long day because of that. The DN couldn't get any return through line, despite fixing the kink on Friday when she was out with me so have go to unit on Monday. I have hD a number of different DNs tend me. Saying that though, it made life so much easier and I would definitely go for another one. Good luck. Ann xo

  • Hi Ann. I will definitely be looking closely on Wednesday when my next visit is due. I have read the instructions and know what they should be doing . I just have to be brave enough to speak up if I feel they're not doing something correctly. I just have to be brave enough to speak up if I feel they're not doing something correctly. Hope you are doing ok. 🌻🌻😘

  • I'm OK thanks. Was a little queasy untiil yesterday but gone today. Didn't sleep well last night as forgot to take my steroid on time yesterday as i was out with one of my daughtrrs. My own fault. Should have taken it with me lol. Will I ever learn! Hope all goes well. Ann x

  • I haven't had a picc line yet, but I'm sure I've been told that practice nurses at my local surgery sometimes flush them out. I wonder if practice nurses could be another possibility, especially as, like me, you live some distance from your chemo unit.


  • Hello Di. Yes another option. However, there is a hospice closer to me and they may be another option. I am having my next chemo there so will sound it out xx🌻

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