It is a simple fact of life that Americans will sometimes become ill or injured during everyday life, and when this happens, it is critical to know where to find medical care, and know what sort of facility to visit. Life-threatening injuries should be treated at the emergency room, where emergency room care can stabilize a patient and get them out of danger and allow them to start recovery. But emergency room care is not needed for more minor issues; if a person has a non life-threatening wound or illness, they can instead visit clinics where nurse practitioners and physicians can take care of them, and even offer prescription drug refills. Finding emergency room care can often be as simple as a search on a PC or a smart phone to find the name and address of the nearest hospital, and someone looking for urgent care can conduct a search such as “walk in clinic near me” to find the name, address, and hours of nearby clinics. What are common ailments that necessitate a visit for emergency room care, and what common issues may send a person to urgent care instead?
Emergency Room Care
Some injuries or illnesses are life-threatening, and when someone is suffering such a condition, it is critical for someone nearby to find a hospital and take the victim there to see an emergency room doctor right away. What may send someone to emergency care? Broken arms and legs, for example, are very serious and cannot be easily treated at a clinic. What is more, serious chest pain or difficulty breathing can soon result in a heart attack or respiratory arrest, both of which can threaten the victim’s life and can only be dealt with by means of emergency room care. Other major trauma such as stab wounds, bullet wounds, head wounds, or an eye injury may send someone to emergency care, where doctors and physicians will have the training and equipment to get a patient out of danger and address the problem, and set them on the road to recovery while being monitored. However, not everyone who visits the ER even needs it; estimates show that 44% to 65% of all ER episodes could have been taken care of at an urgent care clinic instead, and this is an issue when such a patient is taking up ER space and a doctor’s attention when someone else with a life-threatening condition needs that attention instead. For this reason, someone with a relatively minor issue should instead visit a clinic.
Going to a Clinic
Why should someone visit an urgent care clinic instead of finding emergency room care? Not only is a hospital simply not needed for minor health issues, but going to a clinic can be much more convenient and more cost-friendly, too. Clinics are often open seven days a week (this may vary), and they may have broad hours of operation for when patients need to visit. Most clinics are either independent or are part of small networks with each other, and they will have staffs of nurse practitioners and physicians who will have the training and equipment to deal with everyday life wound and illness. If a clinic is running smoothly, a patient may expect a wait time of around 15 minutes, and such a clinic may see about three patients per hour.
The common cold and the flu are two ailments that may send a person to urgent care, especially if their symptoms are getting serious and they are not recovering easily on their own. The staff at a clinic can provide relief with medicine, such as during cold or flu season, and the same will be true for taking care of a stomach flu or food poisoning. Upper respiratory problems may also be taken care of at such a clinic, and are fairly common problems among patients. Physical problems may also be taken care of at a clinic. Around 25,000 Americans suffer ankle sprains every day, and most urgent care clinics can take care of ankle or wrist sprains, and four out of five clinics will also take care of bone fractures. Most clinics should also be able to handle broken fingers or toes, and they can provide relief for skin problems like rashes.