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Care for Jackson-Pratt or Hemovac Drain

Important information about Jackson-Pratt (JP) and Hemovac drains:

These drains provide gentle suction that prevents blood and fluid from collecting under your child’s incision. It is a piece of tubing that is connected to a container. The tubing is kept in place, near the incision, usually with a piece of tape. You can expect to see bloody drainage in the container.




General guidelines

  • Don’t sleep on the same side as the tube.

  • Secure the tube and bag inside your clothing. This will prevent the tube from being pulled out.

  • Take a sponge bath to prevent getting your bandage and tube site wet unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise. Ask your provider when you can take a shower or bathe.

Patient instructions:

Emptying the drain

Empty the drain as directed by your surgical team. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the plug of the drain to stop the suction.

  2. Empty the fluid into the collection container provided to you at discharge.

  3. Measure and record the amount of drainage in a notebook to track the amount of drainage per 24 hours. Bring the daily drain records with you to the follow-up appointment.

  4. Squeeze the drain with your hand to re-start the suction. Close the plug while you are squeezing the drain.

  5. Flush the fluid in the collection container down the toilet.

  6. Clean your toilet bowl with standard toilet cleaning fluid daily.

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Removing the drain

Your drain will need to be removed by a medical professional. Removal time will be determined by your surgical team.

Call your CHOP healthcare team with questions, concerns, or if your child has:

  • Pain, swelling, or fluid around the tube.

  • Redness or warmth around the incision or fluid draining from the incision.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Fever above 101.5°F (38.6°C) or higher, or as advised by your provider.

  • Chills.

  • An incision that does not heal or stitches that become infected or loose.

  • A tube that falls out.

  • A foul smell from the incision site.

  • Drainage that changes from light pink to dark red, or active bleeding.

  • If the drain accidentally dislodges, place it in a plastic bag and call your surgeon’s office.


Reviewed April 2024 by Beverly Teti, CRNP

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