Home Parenteral Nutrition Program | Educational Videos

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Caring for a central line at home

An educational video series for patients, families and healthcare providers.

Having a child at home with a central line (also called central venous catheter) can be difficult. Children and teens sometimes need central lines for home parenteral nutrition (also called TPN) or cancer treatment. It is important for everyone to take steps to ensure the line is properly maintained in order to avoid infections or other problems. The following videos provide step-by-step instructions on safely using central lines, and their associated equipment, in your home.


Brief orientation to educational video series, Caring for a Central Line at Home, with comments by Dr. Bram P. Raphael (Boston Children’s Hospital Home Parenteral Nutrition Program) and Dr. Amy Billett (Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Hospital Cancer and Blood Disorders Center). 

Hand washing

Thorough hand washing is very important to prevent line infections in children and teens on home parenteral nutrition or cancer treatment.

Hand sanitizing

Hand sanitizer is also a great way to clean your hands instead of soap and water before doing line care for your child or teen on home parenteral nutrition or getting cancer treatment.

Making a clean workspace

Creating a safe, clean workspace is important for proper central line care. This video outlines everything you need to create a clean workspace in your home.

Putting on a mask

Germs can be transmitted through our mouths, so wearing a mask while working with central lines is recommended. Here is the proper way to put on a medical mask and prevent germs from being transmitted during line cap changes and dressing changes for your child or teen.

Putting on sterile gloves

It's important to put of sterile gloves properly, so you can prevent passing on germs during line cap changes and dressing changes. This video outlines the steps you should follow to put on sterile gloves and prevent germs from being transmitted.

Scrubbing the hub

When connecting anything to the central line, like home parenteral nutrition, IV hydration or IV medicines, it's essential to clean the line with alcohol for 15 seconds. To maintain a sterile hub, follow the steps in this video.


Flushing the central line is important to prevent anything from blocking the catheter and to prevent infections. Learn how to effectively flush the line in this video.

Dressing change

Line dressing must be changed every seven days, or anytime it becomes loose, wet or soiled. To ensure central line dressings are changed right, follow these steps for your child or teen on home parenteral nutrition or getting cancer treatment.

Changing the Cap

You need to make sure the line cap for all types of central lines is changed twice a week.  Follow these steps to change the cap in a sterile and safe fashion for your child or teen.

Connecting Tubing

You need to connect tubing to the central line, so you can give home parenteral nutrition, IV hydration or IV medicines. To safely connect any tubing to your child's central line, follow these instructions carefully.

Video Team

The staffs at Boston Children's Hospital's Home Parenteral Nutrition Program and Cancer and Blood Disorders Center came together to create these videos to help complement the teaching done by your healthcare providers. Watching these videos is not a substitute for medical care. You should not use this information in place of a face-to-face visit.

This project was made possible by a generous grant from Boston Children’s Hospital’s Program for Patient Safety and Quality.

 © Boston Children's Hospital 2013

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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