Central Line Program for Patients

The American College of Surgeons Division of Education Surgical Patient Education Central Line Home Skills program teaches you how to care for your central venous access device (CVAD) also referred to as a central line. The program includes information on types of central lines, supplies needed and skills necessary to manage daily care. The program demonstrates each step of the procedure and facilitates our best practices. 

You are encouraged to use the Central Line Home Skills Kit along with the course. The skill kit contains practice equipment (syringes, tubing, needleless connector, alcohol wipes, gloves, and practice model), an instruction booklet with images, a video and a self-assessment checklist, and references for additional support. Visit the ACS website for more information or to order your Central Lines Home Skills Kit.

The Central Lines Home Skills Kit was developed by a team of surgeons, nurses and patients working with the American College of Surgeons Division of Education.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the daily care needed for a central line.
  • Name the basic equipment that is used for central line care.
  • Describe the steps for central line care including: flushing, giving medications, changing a needleless connector, and changing a dressing.
  • Identify how to manage common central line problems including: blockage, preventing infection, preventing catheter movement, and how to remove air in the line.
  • Describe how to manage everyday activities including bathing, exercise, and traveling.

Course Outline

  • Understanding Your CVAD
  • CVAD Insertion
  • Skills to Manage Your CVAD
    • Flushing
    • Giving Fluids and Medications
    • Changing the Needleless Connector
    • Changing the Dressing
    • Giving Parenteral Nutrition
    • Accessing and Removing the Noncoring Needle
  • Problem Solving and Emergencies
  • Home Management and Other Resources
  • Evaluation
  • Certificate of Completion

Target Audience

  • Patients who need a central line
  • Caregivers managing a central line in the home or nursing home
  • Anyone teaching families and caregivers central line home care skills


If you have any questions about this course, please contact surgicalpatienteducation@facs.org.

For technical assistance, please contact learning@facs.org.

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 Certificate of Completion
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Central Lines Task Force

Susan Bakewell, MS, RN-BC
Association of periOperative Registered Nurses
Denver, CO

Gregory S. Cherr, MD, FACS
Society for Vascular Surgery
SUNY-Buffalo Department of Surgery
Buffalo, NY

Peggi Guenter, PhD, RN, FAAN
American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Silver Spring, MD

Kimberly Harrington
Patient Advocate
Chicago, IL

Gary E. Hartman, MD, MBA, FACS
American Pediatric Surgical Association
Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital
Stanford, CA

Jonathan E. Kohler, MD, FACS
Pediatric Surgery
University of Wisconsin Hospitals
Madison, WI

Robin Koonce, RN, MSN, CPNP
American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association
UNC-Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC

Michael F. McGee, MD, FACS
American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Chicago, IL

Britt Meyer, PhD, RN, CRNI, VA-BC, NE-BC
Infusion Nurses Society
Duke University Hospital
Durham, NC

Cathy Ready, RN
Home Care Nurse
Chicago, IL

Association of periOperative Registered Nurses
Denver, CO

Daniel H. Teitelbaum, MD, FACS
American Pediatric Surgical Association
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI

Patient Education Committee

Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC
John M. Daly, MD, FACS
Eileen M. Duggen, MD (Resident Member)
David V. Feliciano, MD, FACS
Frederick L. Greene, MD, FACS
B.J. Hancock, MD, FACS, FRCSC
Dennis H. Kraus, MD, FACS
Michael F. McGee, MD, FACS
Beth H. Sutton, MD, FACS
Michael J. Zinner, MD, FACS

ACS Surgical Patient Education Program

Ajit K. Sachdeva, MD, FACS, FRCSC

Assistant Director
Kathleen Heneghan, PhD, RN, PN-C

Nancy Strand, RN, MPH

Program Coordinator
Amanda Bruggeman

A Certificate of Completion/Certificate of Participation will be awarded for this course.

This activity is not eligible for CME or CE credits.

Available Credit

  • 1.00 Certificate of Completion
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You may enroll in the online course at no charge. You will be asked to register for the course and provide information to complete the registration process. You will not be charged a participation fee.