Collection and Preservation of 24-Hour Urine Specimens
The 24-hour collection container may contain chemicals (as a preservative) that are hazardous. DO NOT urinate directly into the container
. Collect urine in a clean, dry vessel and carefully pour the urine into the 24-hour collection container.
- Follow your physician’s advice regarding any food, drink or drugs before and during collection.
- Empty your bladder completely upon awakening and discard this urine. This is your start date and time. Write it on your paperwork and/or the collection container.
- Collect all urine for the next 24 hours. The last urine collected should be that voided upon awakening the second day, at the same time as the start time.
- Recap the collection container carefully and completely.
- Return the collection container to where you were instructed to return it as soon as possible.
NOTE: Some urine tests require that the 24-hour urine collection be refrigerated during collection. Follow your physician’s instructions for all collection procedures.
If it is necessary to measure the total amount of soluble substances excreted in a 24-hour period, a strictly timed 24-hour specimen is required, because many soluble substances exhibit diurnal variations.
Consult the following on-line resources
- Collect the specimen in one or more disposable, wide-mouthed, clean plastic container(s) with a plastic lid large enough to hold about 3 L. Amber-colored containers may be required for light-sensitive analytes.
- Determine if the collection will require a preservative, ensuring the collection container has the appropriate preservative, at the correct concentration, along with a warning label indicating the preservative in use.
- Label the collection container including the patient identification (name and hospital number), test(s) required, and preservative used.
- The start date and time plus the finish date and time should be recorded on the container and requisition at the beginning and end of the collection period.
- The 24-hour collection should begin by having the patient empty his or her bladder or catheter bag at a fixed time and discard the specimen. Record this start date and time on the collection container and on the laboratory requisition.
- If a preservative is required, the patient must be advised to collect the urine in a separate clean container and then carefully transfer the urine to the collection container that will be transported to the laboratory. Comment: Assume that all preservatives are hazardous (most are).
- Instruct the patient (or nurse) to collect all voided urine during the 24-hour collection period and add it to the collection container.
- The collection should end exactly 24 hours after it began, by having the patient empty his or her bladder, or catheter bag, and adding this specimen to the collection container.
- Record the ending date and time on the collection container and on the laboratory requisition.
- Carefully seal the cap tightly so as to avoid leakage.
Department of Nursing Services and Patient Care policies:
Pathology Laboratory Services Handbook: