We understand that people with cancer are worried about coronavirus. Here is the latest guidance. We will update it regularly.

Practical issues

Share experiences and advice on practical issues when living with cancer, such as money, work, benefits, transport, food and drink, organising support at home, or getting specialist equipment.

PICC line maintenance

Posted by

Hi, I’m on a two week chemo cycle via a PICC line with the line needing to be flushed the week after treatment, EG Thursday = treatment, following Thursday = flush, following Thursday = treatment.

The district nurses who come out to do the flush are brilliant but have a heavy workload, this week I waited in all morning only to find they couldn’t fit me in. We re-scheduled for the following afternoon because I had unavoidable appointments in the morning, a nurse wasn’t able to get to me until 4pm. Even if my condition wasn’t terminal I wouldn’t want to spend so much time hanging around for the flush, I’m also hoping to start spending my non-treatment weeks travelling around the country while I’m strong enough.

I have asked the district nurse team about training to be able to do the flush myself but they don’t have training facilities or programmes  for this. I have watched the procedure carefully and feel capable of doing it myself.

Has anyone found a way around this by getting their own training for line flushing or any other solutions?

Posted by

Pops, in the last line I should have said 

Has anyone found a way around this by getting their own training/approval for line flushing or any other solutions?

Posted by

Good morning , good question.

I also had a PICC in for 4-5 months (4 Hickman Lines fir a total 11-12 months) and like you I wold have said that I could have done the weekly flush and dressing.

But I have to say on a number of occasions the flush would not go through and that was when the DNs would stop and phone the ward resulting in me going up to the ward and with their expereance they overcame all the issues.

A friend at the same unit asked if he or his wife could be trained and they said no as it was not worth the chance that something my go wrong or issues not picked up due to inexperience.

We did go away for a week down South and the flush was to be done half way through but we got our daughter to arrange for the flush and bloods to be done at her surgery Nurse (we are in Inverness and she was in the West Midlands) and this was no problem with the blood results being sent to my team back in Inverness.

I do hope you can get away.

Mike - Thehighlander

It always seems impossible until its done - Nelson Mandela

Posted by

Hi Oswald,

Fellow PICC liner for 6 months here

I can't say for sure, but very much doubt they would allow you to do it yourself.

There's the risk of infection which if it occurs would need intravenous antibiotics.
I saw it happen to a chap and it all kicked in so fast and he had to stay in overnight.

Good luck!