Caring for my Child with a Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC)

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-1300/2022
  • Departments: Paediatrics
  • Last Updated: 1 July 2022


This information leaflet provides information regarding the PICC and how you as a parent/carer can help to maintain it in position with the help of the healthcare professionals (HCP) caring for your child in addition to if your child is discharged home with it in place. This leaflet has been produced to give you general information. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team, but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team.

What is a PICC?

A PICC is a special line that has been inserted into a large vein to give antibiotics or special nutrition.

Why does my child need a PICC inserted rather than a small cannula?

This is to reduce the risk of any inflammation/swelling around the much smaller veins that are visible in the arms/legs.

How will the HCP use the PICC?

They will access it using a clean non-touch technique each time to reduce the risk of an infection developing. They will also look at the site where the PICC is inserted to check for any redness/swelling/leakage before they give the antibiotics or nutrition.

How can I reduce the risk of the PICC coming out?

Always ensure that the PICC/ drug line does not hang down as the weight may cause it to slip out; always support the weight of the drug line in your hand/or on the bed. Be aware of equipment that the drug line may catch on when you are picking up/holding your child i.e. pram handles.

My child is mobile, how can I protect the PICC from dislodging?

Always ensure that the PICC/drug line is safely protected under a clean/dry/secure bandage.

What do I do if the dressing becomes wet/loose?

The HCP will review/change the dressing and bandage, please do not remove them yourself.

What do I do if the small white clip on the PICC is missing?

If you notice that it is not in place please let the HCP know.

What do I do if I see any blood in the PICC/drug line?

Please let the HCP know.

What do I need to do if my child is discharged home with a PICC?

If your child is discharged for the parents to administer the treatment at home (generally with a long-term condition), more in-depth advice will be given by the specialist nurse caring for your child. The HCP may also arrange for a children’s’ community nurse to visit and give the antibiotics, this will be discussed with you.

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

Consent to treatment

Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats your child, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to your child. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your child’s condition, the alternatives available for your child, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
  • you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
  • you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person

Information about your child

We collect and use your child’s information to provide your child with care and treatment. As part of your child’s care, information about your child will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your child’s information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.

We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide your child with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your child’s doctor, or the person caring for your child.

Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about your child. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.

If you need information about your child’s (or a child you care for) health and wellbeing and their care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.

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