Knowing When to Get Emergency or Urgent Care

The modern American healthcare industry is a truly vast one, but it encompasses more than just hospitals and emergency rooms. While emergency care is quite important, patients may also be taken to convenient care centers or walk in clinics, or they may visit a pain clinic or even a detox center. Children may be taken to pediatric care centers for everyday bumps and scrapes, and some such clinics may be open 24 hours a day. When a victim needs medical attention, a nearby adult may assess “is it an emergency?” and determine where to take that patient. When it comes to “is it an emergency?”, the adult may check if the patient has trouble breathing or heavy bleeding, for example. The adult may then look online with a PC or smartphone to find a 24 hour emergency care center if needed, or an urgent care clinic. In fact, some clinics are a hybrid model, offering both emergency and urgent care at the same time. On a PC, the seeker may find the hours of operation, name, and address of local care centers.

Is It An Emergency

When it comes to helping a victim, a nearby party may check “is it an emergency?” to see if that patient really does need emergency care. It should be noted that an ER or a hospital should not be treated as a catch-all medical care center, and they are best reserved for truly emergency cases. For patients with non life-threatening problems, a 24 hour walk in clinic is more ideal.

What calls for emergency care? A patient may be rushed to the ER if they have suffered serious trauma such as bullet or stab wounds, and such injuries may be bleeding heavily or even involve organ damage. Broken arms or legs also call for the emergency room, and a patient will also need the ER if they have suffered injuries to the head or eyeballs. Meanwhile, difficulty breathing or chest pain also call for the ER, as such conditions may turn life-threatening at any time, if they are not already so. And what about abdominal pain? This is a broad topic, and many causes of abdominal pain are fairly harmless, such as indigestion or gas. But if the pain is strong, sudden, and/or lasts a long time, the patient should get emergency care. The cause may be something serious, such as internal bleeding or even cancer.

Getting Urgent Care

As mentioned earlier, urgent care and emergency care are two different things, and should be treated as such. It is costly and time-consuming to visit the ER for a mild health problem, so instead, a patient with a non life-threatening medical issue is urged to visit urgent care clinics. In some cases, the patient may be well enough to take themselves there. Some clinics are a hybrid model, offering urgent and emergency care at the same time. This is helpful if it’s not clear at first what level of care a patient may need.

Over 1,000 urgent care clinics can be found across the United States today, and they are typically staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who can handle non life-threatening issues among their patients. Not all of these clinics are open 24 hours a day, but some are, and these clinics may be small and independent (though they sometimes form local networks).

Where to find them? Such clinics are often built into strip malls for convenience, though some may be built into retailers, known as retail clinics. These clinics often feature pharmacies, so shoppers may pick up prescription drug refills. Some clinics are even built into hospitals, offering distinct care from the hospital at large.

Patients may visit urgent care clinics to get medicinal relief from the common cold or flu during influenza season, and they may also get lotions and ointment for bad skin rashes or sunburn. Four in five such clinics offer treatment for bone fractures, and nearly all of them may offer aid for sprained ankles or wrists. The nurses on staff can provide bandages and stitches for shallow cuts, and upper respiratory issues are another common reason to visit these clinics. Most urgent care clinics also offer a pharmacy, whether or not they’re built into a retailer.