Where Should You Get Medical Care? An Emergency Department or Urgent Care Center?

Urgent care services

Your doctor’s office is closed but you are too sick to wait until they open. What do you do? Your child has been injured. You cannot wait until Monday morning, what can you do? Should you to the emergency room for medical care?

Luckily you do have another option. All over the country there are after hours urgent care centers for illnesses and injuries that cannot wait for the doctor’s office for medical care but are not critical enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room.

Examples of things that can be treated at urgent care clinics:

  • Broken bones can be diagnosed and treated. Nearly 80% of all urgent care clinics can offer medical care for fractures. They have x-ray machines and can set simple fractures. If a fracture is too complicated, they can refer patients to the emergency room. People who have been seen in an urgent care center will get faster treatment once they get to an emergency department.
  • Sprains and strains can be treated. If you or your child has been injured themselves playing sports or doing anything else they can be seen at an urgent care center. This kind of medical care is exactly what these centers were created for.
  • Respiratory illnesses and the fly can be treated at a walk in clinic. If someone comes down with an upper respiratory illness of any kind, they can be treated at an urgent care center.
  • Stomach problems can be treated in an urgent care center. Any other kind of illness that causes discomfort, a fever and just cannot wait until the family doctor’s office is open again. Persistent diarrhea, vomiting, a fever that will not go away are all things that can be treated in a walk in medical clinic.
  • Travel medicine needs can be taken care of at a walk in clinic. Most family practice doctors do not have the right vaccinations for international travel but many walk in clinics do. Call ahead and see if the clinic has the medicine you need for your trip. You should also check with your insurance carrier to see what they cover.

There are some real benefits to going to an urgent care facility. Nearly 60% of people who seek medical care at an urgent care center are seen within 15 minutes of their arrival. Approximately 80% of all patient experiences at urgent care facilities spend less than one hour at the facility. Most urgent care clinics are open until 7:00 pm during the week, nearly 90% have these extended hours.

Another way getting medical care at an urgent care center may be better than the emergency room is better is that these are not as scary as hospitals. When you are in the emergency room, it is a chaotic and scary place. If you are taking your child in for medical care that can be treated at an urgent care center, not only will it take much less time, it is not as scary. There are no ambulances coming in.

There are times when you need to be seen in an emergency room. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Chest pain that will not go away.
  • A serious head injury.
  • Any symptoms of a stroke such as sudden clumsiness, difficulty speaking or confusion.
  • A broken bone that breaks the skin.
  • Bleeding that will not stop.
  • A sudden and severe headache.

If you have a primary care physician or if you take your children to a pediatrician, you can ask them what they would recommend. If you call our regular doctor after hours, you should be able to speak to a physician who is on call and you can see what they recommend you do.andlt;/Pandgt;

Nearly half of the people (48%) who seek medical care at the emergency room are not admitted to the hospital and are there only because their illness or injury required treatment before their doctor’s office opened. That means nearly half of the people in the emergency room could probably benefit from a trip to an urgent care center. If you need medical care that cannot wait, try an urgent care center first. You will be happy that you did.

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