Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan

Streamline patient care with our Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan Template for effective management and optimal patient outcomes. Download or print now.

By Telita Montales on Jul 21, 2024.


Fact Checked by Nate Lacson.

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What is a urinary tract infection?

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common healthcare challenge affecting individuals across all age groups, though they are more prevalent in women due to anatomical differences. A UTI is a bacterial infection in any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra (Flores-Mireles et al., 2015).

They are typically caused by bacteria that enter the urinary tract through the urethra and begin to multiply. The most common culprit is Escherichia coli (E. coli), a bacteria normally found in the digestive tract. However, other bacteria and even certain fungi can also cause UTIs.

UTIs can be classified into two main categories:

  1. Lower urinary tract infections: These infections involve the bladder (cystitis) and urethra (urethritis).
  2. Upper urinary tract infections: These infections affect the kidneys (pyelonephritis) and ureters.

Lower urinary tract infections are more common and typically cause symptoms such as a burning sensation during urination, frequent urination, acute pain, and pelvic pain or discomfort. Upper urinary tract infections, while less common, can be more serious and may lead to complications like kidney infection or damage or bloodstream infections if left untreated (Chu & Lowder, 2018).

Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan Template

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Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan Example

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Urinary retention vs. UTI

While urinary retention and urinary tract infection are related conditions, it's essential to understand their differences and connections. Urinary retention is not an infection but a condition that can increase the risk of developing a UTI.

When urine remains stagnant in the bladder, it creates an environment conducive to bacterial growth. Individuals with urinary retention are more susceptible to recurrent urinary tract infections, as the residual urine in the bladder can harbor bacteria even after antibiotic therapy or treatment. Urinary retention is when an individual cannot completely empty their bladder, resulting in a buildup of residual urine.

There are two main types of urinary retention:

  1. Acute urinary retention: This is a sudden and complete inability to urinate, often accompanied by severe discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen. It requires immediate medical attention to relieve the bladder and prevent potential complications.
  2. Chronic urinary retention: This is a persistent, incomplete emptying of the bladder, where a significant amount of urine remains after voiding. It may not cause immediate discomfort, but it can lead to bladder distention and increased risk of UTIs over time.

Additionally, urinary stasis, caused by structural deformities, obstruction, reflux, or repeat infections in the upper urinary tract, can further contribute to the development of UTIs by promoting bacterial growth and reducing adequate urine output.

What is a Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan?

A Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan assists nurses and healthcare professionals in managing and treating urinary retention. In this condition, patients cannot empty their bladder entirely or partially. This condition can be acute or chronic and is often due to various causes, such as urinary tract infection (UTI), neurological disorders, side effects of medications, or postoperative complications.

The template starts with a thorough patient assessment, including evaluating symptoms and risk factors, conducting bladder scans, and measuring residual urine. A urine culture is essential in diagnosing UTIs and guiding appropriate treatment.

The care plan then outlines targeted nursing interventions tailored to the patient's needs. These interventions may include catheterization for immediate relief, bladder training to improve bladder function, and fluid management to optimize urine output. Patient education is also critical, focusing on self-care practices. Encourage increased fluid intake, avoid urinary tract irritants, and implement lifestyle modifications to manage the condition effectively.

How does it work?

A Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan can also help in UTI nursing diagnosis. Here are the steps for using this template:

Step 1: Assess the patient

The first step involves comprehensively evaluating the patient's urinary retention symptoms. This includes assessing the ability to empty the bladder, frequency, urgency of urination, and any discomfort or pain.

Step 2: Conduct a nursing diagnosis

Based on the assessment data, nurses can identify relevant nursing diagnoses. Identifying and managing recurrent infections in patients with urinary retention is crucial. Common diagnoses include impaired urinary elimination, risk of urinary tract infection, or risk of skin breakdown.

Step 3: Set goals

Goals are set to address the specific needs identified in the nursing diagnosis. They are tailored to the patient and focus on improving bladder emptying, preventing complications, and enhancing comfort.

Step 4: Plan for intervention

Interventions are planned based on the established goals. They may include catheterization for immediate relief, medication management to improve bladder tone, bladder retraining exercises, and lifestyle modifications.

When would you use this template?

The Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan can be used to address different scenarios, such as

Postoperative care

It is essential for patients experiencing acute urinary retention following surgical procedures. It helps manage postoperative complications and promotes recovery of normal bladder function.

Long-term care

In long-term care facilities, it helps manage elderly patients or those with chronic conditions that predispose them to urinary retention, such as benign prostatic hyperplasia or neurological disorders.

Home care

This template is beneficial for patients managing chronic urinary retention at home. It aids in creating a home care plan that includes interventions like self-catheterization and lifestyle modifications.

Specialized units

Utilized in urology, neurology, and rehabilitation units, patients may present with urinary retention due to various underlying causes.

Emergency and acute care

They are applied in emergency settings to immediately manage acute urinary retention and urinary frequency, prevent complications, and provide prompt relief.

Additionally, it is essential in specialized units for managing urinary retention due to underlying conditions and in emergency settings for prompt relief and prevention of complications. For further support, consider using a more general care plan template, a care plan for urinary retention, a nursing care plan, or a nursing diagnosis template to ensure comprehensive management and continuity of care.


Chu, C. M., & Lowder, J. L. (2018). Diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract infections across age groups. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 219(1), 40–51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajog.2017.12.231

Flores-Mireles, A. L., Walker, J. N., Caparon, M., & Hultgren, S. J. (2015). Urinary tract infections: epidemiology, mechanisms of infection and treatment options. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 13(5), 269–284. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrmicro3432

How do you create a Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan template?
How do you create a Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan template?

Commonly asked questions

How do you create a Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan template?

Develop a Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan Template by including sections for assessment, nursing diagnosis, goal setting, interventions, and evaluation specific to urinary retention management.

When are Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan Templates used?

Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan Templates are used to manage patients with acute or chronic urinary retention, particularly in postoperative care and long-term care settings, and individuals with underlying medical conditions.

How are the Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan Templates used?

Healthcare professionals use these Urinary Retention Nursing Care Plan Templates to assess, plan, implement, and evaluate care for patients with urinary retention, focusing on individualized patient needs.

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