17 Chronic Renal Failure Nursing Care Plans


Chronic renal failure (CRF) or chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the end result of a gradual, progressive loss of kidney function. The loss of function may be so slow that you do not have symptoms until your kidneys have almost stopped working.

The final stage of chronic kidney disease is called end-stage renal disease (ESRD). At this stage, the kidneys are no longer able to remove enough wastes and excess fluids from the body. At this point, you would need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Nursing Care Plans

The nursing care planning goal for with chronic renal failure is to prevent further complications and supportive care. Client education is also critical as this is a chronic disease and thus requires long-term treatment.

Below are 17 nursing care plans (NCP) and nursing diagnosis for patients with chronic renal failure or chronic kidney disease:

  1. Risk for Decreased Cardiac Output
  2. Risk for Ineffective Protection
  3. Disturbed Thought Process
  4. Risk for Impaired Skin Integrity
  5. Risk for Impaired Oral Mucous Membrane
  6. Deficient Knowledge
  7. Excess Fluid Volume
  8. Acute Pain
  9. Impaired Renal Tissue Perfusion
  10. Impaired Urinary Elimination
  11. Imbalanced Nutrition: Less than Body Requirements
  12. NEW Activity Intolerance
  13. NEW Disturbed Body Image
  14. NEW Anticipatory Grieving
  15. NEW Risk for Infection
  16. NEW Risk for Injury
  17. Other Possible Nursing Care Plans

Risk for Decreased Cardiac Output

Nursing Diagnosis

Risk factors may include

  • Fluid imbalances affecting circulating volume, myocardial workload, and systemic vascular resistance (SVR)
  • Alterations in rate, rhythm, cardiac conduction (electrolyte imbalances, hypoxia)
  • Accumulation of toxins (urea), soft-tissue calcification (deposition of calcium phosphate)

Possibly evidenced by

  • Not applicable. Existence of signs and symptoms establishes an actual nursing diagnosis.

Desired Outcomes

  • Maintain cardiac output as evidenced by BP and heart rate within patient’s normal range; peripheral pulses strong and equal with prompt capillary refill time.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Auscultate heart and lung sounds. Evaluate presence of peripheral edema, vascular congestion and reports of dyspnea.S3 and S4 heart sounds with muffled tones, tachycardia, irregular heart rate, tachypnea, dyspnea, crackles, wheezes,edema and jugular distension suggest HF.
Assess presence and degree of hypertension: monitor BP; note postural changes (sitting, lying, standing).Significant hypertension can occur because of disturbances in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (caused by renal dysfunction). Although hypertension is common, orthostatic hypotension may occur because of intravascular fluid deficit, response to effects of antihypertensive medications, or uremic pericardial tamponade.
Investigate reports of chest pain, noting location, radiation, severity (0–10 scale), and whether or not it is intensified by deep inspiration and supine position.Although hypertension and chronic HF may cause MI, approximately half of CRF patients on dialysis develop pericarditis, potentiating risk of pericardial effusion or tamponade.
Evaluate heart sounds (note friction rub), BP, peripheral pulses, capillary refill, vascular congestion, temperature, and sensorium or mentation.Presence of sudden hypotension, paradoxic pulse, narrow pulse pressure, diminished or absent peripheral pulses, marked jugular distension, pallor, and a rapid mental deterioration indicate tamponade, which is a medical emergency.
Assess activity level, response to activity.Weakness can be attributed to HF and anemia.
Monitor laboratory and diagnostic studies:
  • Electrolytes (potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium), BUN and Cr;
Imbalances can alter electrical conduction and cardiac function.
Useful in identifying developing cardiac failure or soft-tissue calcification.
Administer antihypertensive drugs such as prazosin (Minipress), captopril (Capoten), clonidine (Catapres), hydralazine (Apresoline).Reduces systemic vascular resistance and renin release to decrease myocardial workload and aid in prevention of HF and MI.
Prepare for dialysis.Reduction of uremic toxins and correction of electrolyte imbalances and fluid overload may limit and prevent cardiac manifestations, including hypertension and pericardial effusion.
Assist with pericardiocentesis as indicated.Accumulation of fluid within pericardial sac can compromise cardiac filling and myocardial contractility, impairing cardiac output and potentiating risk of cardiac arrest.

Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

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See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:

Other care plans and nursing diagnoses related to reproductive and urinary system disorders:


Matt Vera is a registered nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing since 2009 and is currently working as a full-time writer and editor for Nurseslabs. During his time as a student, he knows how frustrating it is to cram on difficult nursing topics. Finding help online is nearly impossible. His situation drove his passion for helping student nurses by creating content and lectures that are easy to digest. Knowing how valuable nurses are in delivering quality healthcare but limited in number, he wants to educate and inspire nursing students. As a nurse educator since 2010, his goal in Nurseslabs is to simplify the learning process, break down complicated topics, help motivate learners, and look for unique ways of assisting students in mastering core nursing concepts effectively.
  • Thank you Matt :) This helped me understand how to do a care plan. I was asked to do one without them showing us a sample first so I was completely lost. Thank you!

  • Hi Matt,
    I’m an RN BSN WCC x 25 years. What you’re doing is great. Keep up the good work. Only suggestion is to broaden examples of applicable POC’s in the community. Community nursing is becoming highly skilled. Especially with Covid. In many cases of CKD, in the community, the CG becomes a huge part of the POC. Teach and Assess must be added to POC.
    Keep going! Its not enough for our nursing students to pass the boards. They need to understand critical thinking, and be creative/problem solve now more than ever.

    • Hi Sue,

      We’ll do our best to include your suggestion on our nursing care plans (which we are currently updating). And I agree: thinking critically is a must skill. Thank you so much for your kind words!

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