Impaired Urinary Elimination Nursing Care Plan


Impaired urinary elimination is a common nursing diagnosis that refers to the inability of a patient to pass urine effectively. It can be caused by several factors, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney stones, prostate problems, and neurological disorders. Impaired urinary elimination can be a serious issue that can lead to complications such as urinary tract infections, renal failure, and sepsis.

Use this nursing diagnosis guide to help you create nursing interventions for impaired urinary elimination nursing care plans.

Goals and Outcomes

The following are the common goals and expected outcomes for impaired urinary elimination:

  • The patient will demonstrate behaviors and techniques to prevent retention/urinary infection.
  • The patient will identify the cause of incontinence.
  • The patient will maintain balanced I&O with clear, odor-free urine, free of bladder distension/urinary leakage.
  • The patient will provide a rationale for treatment.
  • The patient will verbalize understanding of the condition.

Nursing Assessment and Rationales

Focus assessment is necessary in order for the nurse to determine whether incontinence is transient, in response to an acute condition, or established in response to various chronic neural or genitourinary conditions.

1. Assess the voiding pattern (frequency and amount). Compare urine output with fluid intake. Note specific gravity.
Identifies characteristics of bladder function (effectiveness of bladder emptying, renal function, and fluid balance). Note: Urinary complications are a major cause of mortality.

2. Palpate for bladder distension and observe for overflow.
Bladder dysfunction is variable but may include loss of bladder contraction and inability to relax the urinary sphincter, resulting in urine retention and reflux incontinence. Note: Bladder distension can precipitate autonomic dysreflexia.

3. Note reports of urinary frequency, urgency, burning, incontinence, nocturia, and size or force of the urinary stream. Palpate bladder after voiding.
This provides information about the degree of interference with elimination or may indicate a bladder infection. Fullness over the bladder following void is indicative of inadequate emptying or retention and requires intervention.

4. Review drug regimen, including prescribed, over-the-counter (OTC), and street.
A number of medications such as some antispasmodics, antidepressants, and narcotic analgesics; OTC medications with anticholinergic or alpha agonist properties; or recreational drugs such as cannabis may interfere with bladder emptying.

5. Assess the availability of toileting facilities.
Patients may need a bedside commode if mobility limitations interfere with getting to the bathroom.

6. Assess the patient’s usual pattern of urination and occurrence of incontinence.
Many patients are incontinent only in the early morning when the bladder has stored a large urine volume during sleep.

7. Common Assessment Findings

  • 7.1. Urgency
    Strong desire to void may be caused by inflammations or infections in the bladder or urethra
  • 7.2. Dysuria
    Painful or difficult voiding
  • 7.3. Frequency
    Voiding that occurs more than usual when compared with the person’s regular pattern or the generally accepted norm of voiding once every 3 to 6 hours
  • 7.4. Hesitancy
    Undue delay and difficulty in initiating voiding
  • 7.5. Polyuria
    A large volume of urine or output voided at any given time
  • 7.6. Oliguria
    A small volume of urine or output between 100 to 500 mL/24 hr
  • 7.7. Anuria
    Lack of urine production
  • 7.8. Nocturia
    Excessive urination at night interrupts sleep

8. Observe for cloudy or bloody urine, and foul odor. Dipstick urine as indicated.
Signs of the urinary tract or kidney infection that can potentiate sepsis. Multistrip dipsticks can provide a quick determination of pH, nitrite, and leukocyte esterase suggesting the presence of infection.

9. Obtain periodic urinalysis and urine culture and sensitivity as indicated.
These tests monitor renal status. A colony count over 100,000 indicates the presence of infection requiring treatment.

10. Monitor BUN, creatinine, and white blood cell (WBC) counts.
These reflect renal function and identify complications.

11. Measure residual urine via postvoid catheterization or ultrasound.
Measuring residual urine via postvoid catheterization or ultrasound is helpful in detecting the presence of urinary retention and the effectiveness of a bladder training program. Note: The use of ultrasound is noninvasive, reducing the risk of colonization of the bladder.

Nursing Interventions and Rationales

The following are the therapeutic nursing interventions for impairment in urinary elimination:

1. Begin bladder retraining per protocol when appropriate (fluids between certain hours, digital stimulation of trigger area, contraction of abdominal muscles, Credé’s maneuver).
Timing and type of bladder program depend on the type of injury (upper or lower neuron involvement). Note: Credé’s maneuver should be used with caution because it may precipitate autonomic dysreflexia.


2. Encourage adequate fluid intake (2–4 L per day), avoiding caffeine and use of aspartame, and limiting intake during late evening and at bedtime. Recommend the use of cranberry juice/vitamin C.
Sufficient hydration promotes urinary output and aids in preventing infection. Note: When a patient is taking sulfa drugs, sufficient fluids are necessary to ensure adequate excretion of the drug, reducing the risk of cumulative effects. Note: Aspartame, a sugar substitute (e.g., Nutrasweet), may cause bladder irritation leading to bladder dysfunction.

3. Promote continued mobility.
This decreases the risk of developing UTIs.

4. Cleanse the perineal area and keep it dry. Provide catheter care as appropriate.
Proper perineal hygiene decreases the risk of skin irritation or breakdown and the development of ascending infection.

5. Recommend good hand washing and proper perineal care.
Handwashing and perineal care reduce skin irritation and the risk of ascending infection.

6. Teach Kegel exercises.
These exercises improve pelvic floor muscle tone and urethrovesical junction sphincter tone.

7. Educate the patient about the importance of limiting the intake of alcohol and caffeine.
These chemicals are known to be bladder irritants. They can increase detrusor overactivity.

8. Catheterize as indicated.
Catheterization may be necessary as a treatment and for evaluation if the patient is unable to empty the bladder or retains urine.

9. Teach self-catheterization and instruct in the use and care of indwelling catheters.
This method helps patients maintain autonomy and encourages self-care. An indwelling catheter may be required, depending on the patient’s abilities and degree of urinary problem.

10. Keep the bladder deflated by means of an indwelling catheter initially. Begin intermittent catheterization program when appropriate.
An indwelling catheter is used during the acute phase for the prevention of urinary retention and for monitoring output. Intermittent catheterization may be implemented to reduce complications usually associated with the long-term use of indwelling catheters. A suprapubic catheter may also be inserted for long-term management.

11. Administer medications as indicated: Oxybutynin (Ditropan), propantheline (Pro-Banthine), hyoscyamine sulfate (Cytospaz-M), flavoxate hydrochloride (Urispas), tolterodine (Detrol).
These drugs reduce bladder spasticity and associated symptoms of frequency, urgency, incontinence, and nocturia.

12. Administer anti-infective agents as necessary: Nitrofurantoin macrocrystals. (Macrodantin); co-trimoxazole (Bactrim, Septra); ciprofloxacin (Cipro); norfloxacin (Noroxin).
Bacteriostatic agents inhibit bacterial growth and destroy susceptible bacteria. Prompt treatment of infection is necessary to prevent serious complications of sepsis/shock.

13. Refer for further evaluation for bladder and bowel stimulation.
Clinical research is being conducted on the technology of electronic bladder control. The implantable device sends electrical signals to the spinal nerves that control the bladder and bowel. Early results look promising.

14. Refer to a urinary continence specialist as indicated.
Collaboration with specialists is helpful for developing an individual plan of care to meet patients’ specific needs using the latest techniques, and continence products.

Recommended Resources

Recommended nursing diagnosis and nursing care plan books and resources.

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Ackley and Ladwig’s Nursing Diagnosis Handbook: An Evidence-Based Guide to Planning Care
We love this book because of its evidence-based approach to nursing interventions. This care plan handbook uses an easy, three-step system to guide you through client assessment, nursing diagnosis, and care planning. Includes step-by-step instructions showing how to implement care and evaluate outcomes, and help you build skills in diagnostic reasoning and critical thinking.

Nursing Care Plans – Nursing Diagnosis & Intervention (10th Edition)
Includes over two hundred care plans that reflect the most recent evidence-based guidelines. New to this edition are ICNP diagnoses, care plans on LGBTQ health issues and on electrolytes and acid-base balance.

NANDA International Nursing Diagnoses: Definitions & Classification, 2021-2023
The definitive guide to nursing diagnoses is reviewed and approved by the NANDA International. In this new version of a pioneering text, all introductory chapters have been rewritten to provide nurses with the essential information they need to comprehend assessment, its relationship to diagnosis and clinical reasoning, and the purpose and application of taxonomic organization at the bedside. A total of 46 new nursing diagnoses and 67 amended nursing diagnostics are presented.

Nurse’s Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Prioritized Interventions, and Rationales
Quick-reference tool includes all you need to identify the correct diagnoses for efficient patient care planning. The sixteenth edition includes the most recent nursing diagnoses and interventions from NANDA-I 2021-2023 and an alphabetized listing of nursing diagnoses covering more than 400 disorders.

Nursing Diagnosis Manual: Planning, Individualizing, and Documenting Client Care 
Identify interventions to plan, individualize, and document care for more than 800 diseases and disorders. Only in the Nursing Diagnosis Manual will you find for each diagnosis…. subjectively and objectively – sample clinical applications, prioritized action/interventions with rationales – a documentation section, and much more!

All-in-One Nursing Care Planning Resource – E-Book: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Maternity, and Psychiatric-Mental Health 
Includes over 100 care plans for medical-surgical, maternity/OB, pediatrics, and psychiatric and mental health. Interprofessional “patient problems” focus familiarizes you with how to speak to patients.

See also

Other recommended site resources for this nursing care plan:


Gil Wayne ignites the minds of future nurses through his work as a part-time nurse instructor, writer, and contributor for Nurseslabs, striving to inspire the next generation to reach their full potential and elevate the nursing profession.

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