Changing central line or PICC dressing

Home Treatments Lifestyle Symptoms Cancers


Advice for patients changing central line/Hickman dressing:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water including your arms up to the elbow.      
  2. Apply alcohol hand-rub and allow to dry on hands.
  3. Remove old dressing
  4. Inspect site for: redness; puls; if applicable, check stitches attached to line and skin; leakage of fluid/blood around line site.
  5. Spray area with chlorhexidine spray provided.
  6. Apply new dressing ensuring your fingers do not touch the area of the dressing which will cover the line entry site.
  7. If your skin reacts to the adhesive dressing tell nursing staff and an alternative will be suggested.
  8. Dressings should be changed every other day or if the dressing becomes wet/damp.
  9. If you notice any swelling or discomfort in the neck, shoulder or arm on the side of the line or feel pain from the Hickman line site, you should contact the hospital on one of the numbers given to you.

We would rather you contact us, even if your concern seems trivial.

Further general information Your doctors and specialist nurses are in an ideal position to give you relevant information on your disease and treatment as they know your individual circumstances. Cancerbackup has a help line (0808 800 1234) and a prize winning video available in English, Italian, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati & Hindi explaining Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. has over 500 pages describing cancer, its management, practical tips and tool which patients, their carers and their doctors have found helpful during the cancer journey.

Home | Cancer management | Cancer treatments - Chemotherapy Radiotherapy  Hormones  Biologicals | Complementary | Lifestyle - Exercise  Diet  Smoking  Sun | Tests for cancer | Books | Videos | Travel | Insurance | Symptoms | Side effects | Clinical trials | Glossary | Support groups & links | About cancer | About us | Disclaimer