Azer's First PICC Line

This information is dependent on the hospital the person is admitted to.

At times, the bacteria in a CF person’s lungs is not able to be rid of with oral antibiotics. So, from time to time, the person needs to be admitted to the hospital for a “tune-up”. Usually the person stays for about 2 weeks and receives stronger antibiotics through IV. If they are going to stay longer than a week, the doctor may order a PICC line to be put in.  PICC stands for “Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter” This is like an IV, except instead of a small catheter going in the person’s arm or hand, the catheter starts around the upper arm and ends up in a large vein above the heart where there is plenty of blood to dilute the medicine. They can withstand the strong antibiotics being flushed through, so they can last much longer than regular IV’s, sometimes up to 6 months. If the patient is a child, the following is advice on what to tell your child about his or her tune-up stay at the hospital.

Doctors—Usually there will be several different doctors and several different “types of nurses” that care for the patient. The attending physician is the main doctor that oversees everything. This will probably be the CF doctor. Some resident doctors may also visit the patient. These are doctors who have completed medical school and have a medical degree and are in the process of obtaining specialty training. If it is a teaching hospital, the patient may have medical students come in and ask some questions. A medical student is someone who is studying to become a doctor. They may be on the floor to learn about diagnosing and caring for patients, and how to evaluate and report a patients condition and progress.

Nurses—There is usually one main nurse that will oversee the floor, arrange admissions and discharges, and keep track of all patients and the nurses that are assigned to them. The nurse assigned to the patient’s room does most of the care. They bring in medications, administer IV medicines, and can be paged if the patient needs something. A medical assistant will routinely check blood pressure, temperature, and oxygen saturation.

The dietitian may come in just to review the patient’s weight and nutrition while they stay at the hospital. If there are any dietary issues needing to be resolved, the hospital admission is a great time to do so, as all needed resources are at hand from the inpatient pharmacy.

When it’s finally time to go home, the person will be sent home with instructions on what treatments and medications to continue taking, and probably prescriptions for any new medications being taken.

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