Nursing Care Plan For Urinary Retention

Nursing Care Plan For Urinary Retention


Urinary retention is a medical condition characterized by the inability to empty the bladder completely, leading to the accumulation of urine. This condition can result from various factors, including obstruction, nerve dysfunction, or weakened bladder muscles. Urinary retention can be acute or chronic and may present with symptoms such as lower abdominal discomfort, difficulty initiating urination, and a sensation of incomplete voiding. The nursing care plan for urinary retention is designed to address the underlying causes, alleviate symptoms, and prevent complications. This plan involves a comprehensive assessment, targeted interventions, and patient education to promote optimal bladder function and improve the individual’s overall quality of life.

Nursing Assessment for Urinary Retention:

A thorough nursing assessment for urinary retention is crucial to identify the underlying causes, assess the severity of symptoms, and guide the development of an effective care plan. The assessment involves gathering information related to the patient’s medical history, current symptoms, and physical examination findings. Here is a structured nursing assessment for urinary retention:

  1. Chief Complaint and Presenting Symptoms:
    • Obtain the patient’s chief complaint, focusing on symptoms such as difficulty initiating urination, weak urinary stream, or a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder.
    • Inquire about the duration and progression of symptoms, as well as any associated discomfort or pain.
  2. Medical History:
    • Gather information on the patient’s medical history, including any history of urinary tract infections, prostate conditions (in males), neurologic disorders, or previous surgeries.
    • Explore medication history, especially medications that may affect bladder function, such as anticholinergics.
  3. Voiding Diary:
    • Instruct the patient to maintain a voiding diary, documenting the frequency, volume, and time of day of each voiding episode.
    • Analyze the voiding diary for patterns, such as nocturia or increased frequency.
  4. Obstruction Assessment (if applicable):
    • For male patients, assess for signs of prostate enlargement by performing a digital rectal examination (DRE) to evaluate the size, shape, and consistency of the prostate.
    • Evaluate for any signs of pelvic organ prolapse in female patients.
  5. Neurologic Assessment:
    • Conduct a neurologic assessment to identify any signs of neurogenic bladder dysfunction. This may include assessing muscle strength, sensation, and reflexes in the lower extremities.
  6. Bladder Scan or Residual Volume Measurement:
    • Perform a bladder scan or measure post-void residual volume using a catheter to assess the amount of urine remaining in the bladder after voiding.
    • Document the residual volume to determine the severity of urinary retention.
  7. Physical Examination:
    • Inspect the lower abdomen for signs of distension or asymmetry.
    • Palpate the lower abdomen to assess for tenderness, masses, or any palpable bladder distension.
    • Auscultate the abdomen for bowel sounds, as urinary retention can be associated with constipation.
  8. Assessment of Fluid Intake and Output:
    • Evaluate the patient’s fluid intake and output to determine if there are any contributing factors such as dehydration or excessive fluid intake.
  9. Psychosocial Assessment:
    • Assess the patient’s emotional well-being and psychosocial factors that may contribute to or result from urinary retention.
    • Inquire about the impact of symptoms on the patient’s daily activities and quality of life.
  10. Urinalysis and Laboratory Tests:
    • Perform urinalysis to check for signs of infection, hematuria, or other abnormalities.
    • Consider additional laboratory tests, such as serum creatinine, to assess renal function.
  11. Collaboration with Other Healthcare Professionals:
    • Collaborate with urologists, neurologists, or other specialists to investigate and manage the underlying causes of urinary retention.
    • Consider imaging studies such as ultrasound or cystoscopy if needed for further evaluation.

This comprehensive nursing assessment for urinary retention serves as the foundation for developing an individualized care plan. It guides the identification of potential causes and informs targeted interventions to address the specific needs of the patient. Regular reassessment may be necessary to monitor changes in symptoms and adjust the care plan accordingly.

Nursing Diagnoses for Urinary Retention:

  1. Impaired Urinary Elimination related to urinary retention, as evidenced by difficulty initiating urination, weak urinary stream, and a sensation of incomplete bladder emptying. Urinary retention leads to impaired elimination, causing symptoms that hinder the normal voiding process. Identification of impaired urinary elimination allows for targeted interventions to manage symptoms and improve bladder emptying.
  2. Risk for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) related to urinary retention, as evidenced by incomplete bladder emptying and potential stasis of urine. Urinary retention increases the risk of urinary stasis, creating a favorable environment for bacterial growth. Recognizing the risk for UTI allows for preventive measures and early intervention to minimize complications.
  3. Acute Pain related to bladder distension and pressure, as evidenced by the patient’s report of discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen. The accumulation of urine in the bladder causes distension and pressure, leading to discomfort or pain. Acknowledging acute pain allows for the implementation of pain management strategies to improve the patient’s overall well-being.
  4. Impaired Skin Integrity related to potential urine leakage, as evidenced by moisture, redness, or irritation of perineal skin. Urinary retention may result in involuntary urine leakage, affecting perineal skin integrity. Recognizing impaired skin integrity allows for preventive measures and interventions to maintain skin health.
  5. Anxiety related to the inability to void normally, fear of pain, or concerns about potential complications. Urinary retention can cause anxiety due to the distressing nature of the symptoms and potential complications. Identifying anxiety allows for supportive interventions to address the emotional well-being of the patient.
  6. Disturbed Sleep Pattern related to nocturia or interrupted sleep due to the need for frequent attempts to void. Nocturia and interrupted sleep patterns are common in urinary retention. Acknowledging disturbed sleep patterns allows for interventions to improve sleep hygiene and overall rest.
  7. Impaired Physical Mobility related to discomfort or pain during movement, as evidenced by the patient’s report of difficulty ambulating or changing positions. Discomfort or pain associated with urinary retention may impact physical mobility. Identifying impaired physical mobility allows for interventions to improve movement and enhance the patient’s overall comfort.
  8. Deficient Knowledge regarding urinary retention and self-management strategies, as evidenced by the patient’s inquiries or lack of awareness about the condition, treatment options, and preventive measures. Lack of knowledge about urinary retention may hinder the patient’s ability to actively participate in their care. Identifying deficient knowledge allows for targeted education to empower the patient with appropriate information.

These nursing diagnoses provide a foundation for developing a comprehensive care plan for individuals experiencing urinary retention. Tailored interventions can then be implemented to address the identified issues and promote the overall well-being of the patient.

Nursing Interventions for Urinary Retention:

  1. Catheterization:
    • Perform intermittent catheterization or insert an indwelling urinary catheter as prescribed to relieve urinary retention and ensure complete bladder emptying.
    • Monitor for signs of infection, and maintain aseptic technique during catheter insertion and care.
  2. Bladder Scan or Residual Volume Measurement:
    • Conduct regular bladder scans or measure post-void residual volume to assess the effectiveness of bladder emptying.
    • Adjust interventions based on residual volume findings and consult with healthcare providers for further management.
  3. Fluid Management:
    • Encourage an adequate fluid intake to maintain overall hydration and support normal urinary function.
    • Monitor fluid balance carefully, especially if there are underlying conditions such as heart failure or renal impairment.
  4. Patient Education on Voiding Techniques:
    • Instruct the patient on proper voiding techniques, including positioning, relaxation, and taking sufficient time to empty the bladder.
    • Educate the patient on the importance of responding promptly to the urge to void and avoiding delaying tactics.
  5. Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises (Kegel Exercises):
    • Teach and encourage the patient to perform pelvic floor muscle exercises to strengthen the muscles responsible for bladder control.
    • Monitor and provide feedback on the proper execution of Kegel exercises to ensure effectiveness.
  6. Position Changes:
    • Assist the patient in changing positions regularly to optimize bladder emptying.
    • Implement strategies such as leaning forward or using a different toilet position to facilitate urine flow.
  7. Pain Management:
    • Administer prescribed pain medications as appropriate to alleviate discomfort associated with urinary retention.
    • Implement non-pharmacological pain management techniques, such as heat therapy or relaxation exercises.
  8. Monitoring for Signs of Complications:
    • Monitor for signs of urinary tract infection (UTI), such as fever, urgency, frequency, or foul-smelling urine.
    • Assess for complications such as bladder distension, renal impairment, or skin breakdown, and report findings promptly.
  9. Bladder Training:
    • Implement bladder training techniques to promote regular and timely voiding.
    • Establish a voiding schedule and gradually increase the time between voiding intervals, encouraging the bladder to accommodate larger volumes.
  10. Psychosocial Support:
    • Provide emotional support and address any anxiety or concerns related to urinary retention.
    • Encourage open communication and involve the patient in decision-making regarding their care.
  11. Collaboration with Healthcare Team:
    • Collaborate with urologists, neurologists, or other specialists to investigate and manage the underlying causes of urinary retention.
    • Discuss treatment options, including medications or surgical interventions, if necessary.
  12. Educational Support:
    • Provide comprehensive education on the causes of urinary retention, potential complications, and the importance of adherence to prescribed treatments.
    • Discuss preventive measures, lifestyle modifications, and self-management strategies.

These nursing interventions are designed to address the physical and psychosocial aspects of urinary retention, aiming to relieve symptoms, prevent complications, and empower the patient with the tools needed for effective self-care. Regular reassessment allows for adjustments to the care plan based on the patient’s response and evolving needs.


In conclusion, the nursing care plan for urinary retention reflects a comprehensive and patient-centered approach to address the challenges associated with impaired bladder emptying. By incorporating evidence-based interventions, patient education, and psychosocial support, the care plan aims to optimize outcomes, alleviate symptoms, and empower individuals with the tools necessary for effective self-care and recovery.

The emphasis on catheterization and bladder scanning underscores the importance of promptly relieving urinary retention and monitoring the effectiveness of interventions. Fluid management strategies, pelvic floor exercises, and position changes contribute to optimizing bladder function and preventing complications.

Pain management interventions acknowledge the discomfort associated with urinary retention, while psychosocial support addresses the emotional impact and anxiety that may accompany this condition. Bladder training techniques aim to restore regular voiding patterns and improve overall bladder function.

Collaboration with the healthcare team ensures a multidisciplinary approach, incorporating the expertise of urologists, neurologists, and other specialists as needed. Patient education plays a crucial role in empowering individuals to actively participate in their care, understand the causes and implications of urinary retention, and make informed decisions about their treatment options.

Regular reassessment of symptoms, fluid balance, and complications allows for dynamic adjustments to the care plan based on the patient’s response and evolving needs. Through ongoing collaboration, education, and empathetic care, the nursing care plan for urinary retention seeks to enhance the overall quality of life for individuals navigating the challenges associated with this condition.


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