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Urosepsis: Nursing Diagnoses & Care Plans

When an urinary tract infection is left untreated, it can spread systemically, leading to urosepsis, causing organ failure and death. Urosepsis is sepsis due to an infection of the urinary tract, bladder, or kidneys. Nearly a quarter of sepsis cases occur from a urogenital infection.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of urosepsis depend on the infected part of the urinary tract, how far the infection has spread, and its progression. It will usually include symptoms of UTI, including:

  • Dysuria
  • Frequent urination
  • Hematuria
  • Urinary urgency
  • Fever
  • Dysuria
  • Flank pain
  • Chills
  • Costovertebral angle pain and tenderness

Symptoms of sepsis include the following:

Urosepsis is diagnosed through a complete blood count, lactate level, urinalysis and culture, CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis, and ultrasound.

Nursing Process

Management of urosepsis is complex and requires the stabilization of vital signs and treatment of the underlying infection. Early detection and intervention enhance the rate of survival.

Nurses support patients with urosepsis through close monitoring, administering antibiotic therapy, and preventing complications like septic shock, coma, and death.

Nursing Care Plans

Once the nurse identifies nursing diagnoses for urosepsis, nursing care plans help prioritize assessments and interventions for both short and long-term goals of care. In the following section, you will find nursing care plan examples for urosepsis.

Deficient Knowledge

Patient education is a vital component of the management of urosepsis. Urosepsis stems from untreated urinary tract infections and can easily be prevented if accurate information is provided about the condition, symptoms, complications, and treatment interventions.

Nursing Diagnosis: Deficient Knowledge

  • Inadequate access to resources 
  • Misinformation
  • Inadequate knowledge of symptoms 
  • Poor health literacy
  • Inadequate commitment to learning 
  • Unawareness of the severity of untreated infections

As evidenced by:

  • Inaccurate statements about preventing UTIs
  • Inappropriate adherence to antibiotic regimens
  • Development of recurrent UTIs
  • Development of sepsis

Expected outcomes:

  • Patient will explain the symptoms of a UTI and when to call their provider. 
  • Patient will demonstrate completion of their antibiotic regimen.


1. Assess the risk factors for urosepsis.
Understanding the risk factors can help plan an appropriate treatment regimen for patients with urosepsis. Patients who are incontinent, use a catheter, are immunocompromised, have an enlarged prostate, or have urinary tract abnormalities, are at a higher risk of recurrent UTIs.

2. Assess the patient’s knowledge about the condition, its complications, and interventions.
Assessing what the patient knows about urosepsis will help determine appropriate teaching points and methods that support their learning style.

3. Consider education for older adults.
UTIs affect older adults differently. They may not present with usual dysuria symptoms but instead show signs of confusion and agitation. Ensure family members and friends are aware of this so they can help their loved one seek medical assistance.


1. Teach the patient about preventing UTIs.
Preventing UTIs and bladder infections in the first place will reduce incidences of urosepsis. Instruct the patient on the following:

  • Wipe front to back after using the bathroom (in females)
  • Drink plenty of water to flush the urinary system
  • Empty the bladder when you feel the urge to prevent urine stasis
  • Wear loose-fitting cotton underwear and clothing

2. Educate the patient about signs that require medical attention.
Fever, rapid heart rate, altered mental state, and dry mucous membranes can indicate a developing complication like septic shock.

3. Instruct always to complete a course of antibiotics.
The nurse can teach the patient about antibiotic resistance, which results from overuse and incorrect use of antibiotics, making treatment of infections more difficult. Antibiotics should always be completed, even if symptoms go away.

4. Instruct on a healthy lifestyle.
Maintaining good overall health through diet, physical activity, immunizations, handwashing, and managing chronic conditions will guard against sepsis and lead to better outcomes if sepsis occurs.


Urosepsis symptoms include fever, chills, respiratory distress, abnormal heart function, and mental status changes.

Nursing Diagnosis: Hyperthermia

  • Dehydration
  • Infection
  • Inflammatory process
  • Urinary tract infection

As evidenced by:

  • Flushed skin
  • Skin warm to touch
  • Diaphoresis
  • Restlessness
  • Tachypnea
  • Tachycardia
  • Stupor

Expected outcomes:

  • Patient will maintain a core body temperature within normal limits. 
  • Patient will not experience complications from hyperthermia.


1. Assess changes in temperature and other vital signs.
Hyperthermia in patients with urosepsis can be a life-threatening symptom and must be monitored frequently. Monitor in conjunction with blood pressure and heart rate.

2. Assess and review laboratory results.
Alterations in laboratory values, such as leukocytosis, can indicate an infection that causes hyperthermia.

3. Obtain cultures.
The nurse should obtain blood and urine samples to culture and assess the presence of bacteria. This must be completed prior to administering antibiotics.


1. Administer antipyretics as indicated.
Antipyretics can help regulate body temperature and lower it within normal parameters.

2. Provide a tepid sponge bath.
A tepid sponge bath can help lower body temperature that is caused by urosepsis.

3. Institute cooling measures.
Cooling measures like removing extra clothing and linen and maintaining a cool environment can help reduce body temperature.

4. Increase fluid intake if not contraindicated.
Hyperthermia can cause rapid dehydration. Offer oral fluids if the client is alert. Cooled saline can also be administered IV to reduce the core temperature.

5. Monitor for seizure activity.
Hyperthermia can result in fever-induced seizures. Monitor for symptoms like nystagmus, eye fluttering, and changes in mental status.

Impaired Gas Exchange

Urosepsis is a form of sepsis that originates from an infection of the urogenital tract and can cause physiologic, biologic, and biochemical abnormalities resulting in multiple organ dysfunction, impaired gas exchange, respiratory distress, and even death.

Nursing Diagnosis: Impaired Gas Exchange

  • Disease process
  • Sepsis
  • Ventilation-perfusion mismatch

As evidenced by:

  • Abnormal ABG levels
  • Altered breathing pattern
  • Bradypnea
  • Tachycardia
  • Diaphoresis
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Hypoxemia
  • Hypoxia
  • Nasal flaring

Expected outcomes:

  • Patient will demonstrate improved ventilation and adequate oxygenation with blood gas levels within normal range.
  • Patient will remain free from any signs of respiratory distress.


1. Assess and monitor the patient’s respiratory rate, depth, and rhythm.
Urosepsis is associated with systemic inflammation and will increase respiratory rate and rhythm. With shallow and rapid breathing and hypoventilation, gas exchange is impaired.

2. Assess and monitor the patient’s mental status.
Impaired gas exchange in patients with urosepsis can initially manifest with irritability, confusion, and restlessness. Late signs of impaired gas exchange include lethargy and somnolence.


1. Continuously monitor the patient’s oxygen saturation.
Continuous monitoring of the patient’s oxygen saturation can help determine worsening gas exchange in patients with urosepsis. An oxygen saturation measuring less than 88% indicates a significant oxygenation problem.

2. Administer supplemental oxygen as indicated.
Supplemental oxygenation is essential in preventing hypoxemia in patients with impaired gas exchange. Oxygen therapy must be titrated accordingly to improve hypoxemia and promote an increase in oxygen saturation of at least 90%.

3. Monitor ABGs frequently.
After administering oxygen, check ABG results every 30-60 minutes to monitor for acidosis.

4. Administer antibiotic therapy as indicated.
Aggressive antibiotic therapy is essential in resolving urosepsis and reversing its systemic effects and symptoms.

5. Intervene if respiratory distress develops.
If acute respiratory distress occurs, prevent deterioration to respiratory failure by alerting the emergency response system and preparing the patient for intubation.

Risk for Deficient Fluid Volume

Patients with urosepsis and other forms of sepsis are at risk for developing deficient fluid volume due to fluid loss and shifts from intravascular space into the intracellular and interstitial spaces caused by hypovolemia, fever, vasodilation, diaphoresis, and increased respiratory rate.

Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for Deficient Fluid Volume

  • Systemic inflammatory response
  • Disease process
  • Systemic infection
  • Fever
  • Diaphoresis
  • Fluid loss
  • Interstitial fluid shifts
  • Hypotension

As evidenced by:

A risk diagnosis is not evidenced by signs and symptoms as the problem has not yet occurred. Nursing interventions are aimed at prevention.

Expected outcomes:

  • Patient will maintain normal vital signs and urine output of 0.5 ml/kg/hr.
  • Patient will be free from signs of hypovolemia and dehydration, such as hypotension, tachycardia, poor skin turgor, or concentrated urine.


1. Assess for early signs of hypovolemia.
Early detection of hypovolemia can help initiate prompt interventions to prevent further complications in patients with urosepsis. Early signs of hypovolemia include thirst, headaches, irritability, and restlessness. Late symptoms of hypovolemia include cold, clammy skin, cyanosis, weak thready pulse, oliguria, and confusion.

2. Assess and monitor the patient’s vital signs.
Deficient fluid volume can signal further deterioration in patients with urosepsis. Vital sign changes associated with deficient fluid volume include tachypnea, tachycardia, decreased pulse rate, and an increase or decrease in temperature.

3. Assess laboratory values.
Electrolyte levels, BUN, and creatinine must be monitored to assess for alterations that signal imbalances in fluid volume.


1. Initiate fluid resuscitation with crystalloid solutions.
Fluid resuscitation with crystalloid solutions is indicated for patients with urosepsis. Prompt initiation and correction of fluid problems can prevent further deterioration of the patient’s condition and reduce the risk of dehydration and hypovolemia.

2. Monitor urine output and characteristics.
Decreasing urine volume, along with concentrated urine, signals potential renal injury from hypovolemia.

3. Encourage increased fluid intake as tolerated.
Adequate fluid intake can help correct and prevent complications in fluid volume deficits in patients with systemic inflammation and infection due to urosepsis.

4. Initiate interventions to resolve the patient’s hyperthermia.
Patients with urosepsis initially experience hyperthermia due to systemic infection and may experience fluid loss due to heat exhaustion, diaphoresis, and excessive sweating. It is vital to provide supportive care to resolve hyperthermia by providing antipyretic medications, removing excess clothing, providing a tepid sponge bath, and keeping the environment cool.

Risk for Shock

Severe cases of urosepsis can progress to septic shock. Septic shock is a medical emergency that causes blood pressure to drop dangerously low and multiple organs to shut down. ICU nurses are vital in treating patients with septic shock.

Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for Shock

  • Infection 
  • Hyperthermia
  • Hypothermia 
  • Infection
  • Unstable vital signs
  • Hypoperfusion
  • Disease process

As evidenced by:

A risk diagnosis is not evidenced by signs and symptoms as the problem has not yet occurred. Nursing interventions are aimed at prevention.

Expected outcomes:

  • Restore central venous pressure (CVP) to 8 mmHg to 12 mmHg.
  • Restore mean arterial pressure (MAP) greater than 65 mmHg.
  • Patient will maintain a urine output of 30 mL/hour.
  • Patient will remain alert and oriented to person and place.


1. Assess lab values for developing shock.
Hyperglycemia above 120 mg/dL, WBC above 12,000/mm3 or below 4,000/mm3, azotemia, platelets below 100,000/mm3, and lactic acidosis above 2 mmol/L are laboratory findings in sepsis and septic shock.

2. Assess the patient’s vital signs.
Shock can manifest with cold and moist skin, cyanotic extremities, weak and rapid pulse, alterations in blood pressure, and altered mental state. Tachypnea and altered cognition are predictors of poor outcomes.


1. Administer antibiotics immediately as ordered.
Antibiotics should be administered within 6 hours of diagnosis.

2. Provide continuous cardiopulmonary monitoring.
Continuous monitoring of vital signs and organ perfusion is necessary to monitor the effectiveness of treatment and the status of the patient.

3. Monitor the patient’s intake and output.
Urine production is evidence of how well the kidneys are perfusing. Strict intake and output documentation can determine the patient’s kidney function.

4. Monitor skin color, temperature, and pulses.
In early shock, when blood pressure is maintained, extremities may be warm with rapid capillary refill and bounding pulses as the body attempts to compensate. As septic shock worsens, hypotension occurs with cool extremities, sluggish capillary refill, and thready pulses.

5. Provide adequate fluid resuscitation.
IV fluids with normal saline are necessary to manage hypotension and support organ perfusion.


  1. Lewis’s Medical-Surgical Nursing. 11th Edition, Mariann M. Harding, RN, Ph.D., FAADN, CNE. 2020. Elsevier, Inc.
  2. Septic Shock (Nursing). Mahapatra S, Heffner AC, Atarthi-Dugan JM. [Updated 2022 Jun 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK568698/
  3. Urosepsis. Porat A, Bhutta BS, Kesler S. [Updated 2022 Aug 9]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482344/
  4. What Is Urosepsis? Healthline. Updated: June 2, 2017. From: https://www.healthline.com/health/urosepsis
  5. What Is Urosepsis? WebMD. Reviewed: June 7, 2021. From: https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-urosepsis
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Maegan Wagner is a registered nurse with over 10 years of healthcare experience. She earned her BSN at Western Governors University. Her nursing career has led her through many different specialties including inpatient acute care, hospice, home health, case management, travel nursing, and telehealth, but her passion lies in educating through writing for other healthcare professionals and the general public.