Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Janna Roop


The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility of using an electronic tablet to supplement patient and caregiver education about PICC line maintenance and to compare the percentage of PICC line complications in the intervention group with national percentage rates for patients and caregivers. Newly diagnosed cancer patients who had PICC lines inserted participated in this study. They used an electronic tablet to learn the 10 steps for flushing their PICC lines correctly. They also met with the researcher via FaceTime to review the steps.

A total of 11 patients participated in this quasi-experimental pilot study. They completed three instruments, a demographic survey, the Psycho-Oncology Screening Tool (POST), and the Attentional Functional Index (AFI), prior to starting the intervention. They met with an infusion nurse at least weekly for six weeks to check the PICC line for occlusion and/or infection. At the end of the six weeks, they completed the POST and the AFI again. The infusion nurse provided data on occlusion and infections during the six week period.

Three research questions were posed for the study. The first question was concerned with the number of occlusions and infections. The findings indicated that the patients had no occlusions or infections from their PICC lines. The second research question examined the being overwhelmed and burden of treatment and illness. Statistically significant outcomes were found for fatigue and depression. Both increased across the six weeks of the study. This finding was not unexpected as most cancer patients experience greater fatigue while receiving chemotherapy and become more depressed with their illness. The third research question compared the incidence of occlusion and infection in the present study with national averages. The findings of this study were significantly different from national averages.

The findings of this study provided support that the use of an electronic tablet with instructions for self-care that included flushing a PICC line was useful in reducing the incidence of negative outcomes from having a PICC line. Further research should replicate the study with a larger, more heterogeneous sample to validate these findings.