The modern medical industry in the United States is quite large, and it involves a hospital and its ER, urgent care centers, pediatric care, and more. Every day, many people young and old get ill or injured, and they may need professional and timely primary medical care. To get that timely primary medical care, a nearby person may look up urgent care centers or emergency care services on their behalf, often with a smartphone or PC if they have to. A person can look up “timely primary medical care urgent” or “24 hour emergency care near me,” and they can find some local results. This list may show the name, address, and hours of operation of all local care centers, and some might be open 24 hours a day for patients who need help at an odd time of day. When it comes to emergency room visits and urgent care locations, it is important to know how “urgent” and “emergency’ care differ. They are both different forms of timely primary medical care, but are not to be confused.
All About Emergency Care
Emergency care is the highest form of medical care, and a patient will need emergency medical services if they have suffered serious and possibly life-threatening injuries or illnesses. A hospital’s ER is a form of emergency care, and there are many emergency clinics out there, too. They are staffed with doctors and physicians who have the right training and medicine to stabilize a patient and get them out of harm’s way. For example, a patient there may have a broken arm or leg, or they may have suffered an injury to the head or their eyes. Bullet wounds and stab wounds also call for the ER, and such injuries might be bleeding heavily. A patient will need emergency services if they have difficulty breathing or chest pain, since such conditions may soon turn life threatening, if they are not already. And what about abdominal pain? Most cases of abdominal pain are in fact harmless, but if the pain is severe, sudden, and/or long lasting, then emergency care is the right option. The pain’s underlying cause might be quite serious, such as internal bleeding.
However, emergency medical services are just one form of timely primary medical care, and the ER is best reserved for patients who are in dire condition. It is time consuming and expensive to visit the ER, and this is not a practical option for a patient who only has a minor medical problem. However, some timely primary medical care sites are hybrid clinics; that is, they offer both emergency and urgent care side by side, and that makes them flexible care providers. If it is not clear what level of care a patient might need, then finding these hybrid clinics may be a good idea. Such clinics might appear on a search either for urgent care or emergency care.
What to Know About Urgent Care
Meanwhile, patients who have minor medical needs are encouraged to visit walk in clinic and urgent care clinics for care. Ever since the year 2000, a few thousand of these urgent care clinics have been built across the United States, and they are typically small, independent clinics staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians. If a clinic is running smoothly, it may see three patients per hour, and a guest may expect a wait time of around 15 minutes. Many of these walk in clinics also accept various healthcare insurance policies. Often, such clinics are found in strip malls for convenient parking and access, though some may also be found inside major retailers, or may be built into a hospital (and provide distinct care from the hospital itself).
Patients may visit the pharmacy in a walk in clinic, or they may get medicinal relief from the common cold and flu during influenza season. Four in five such clinics may offer treatment for bone fractures, and nearly all of these clinics can also provide care for ankle or wrist sprains. Nurses on staff may provide bandages and stitches for shallow cuts and wounds, and the staff can provide lotion and ointment for cases of sunburn or rashes. Upper respiratory issues are another common reason to visit urgent care clinics.