Urgent care is an important intermediary between primary care doctors and the emergency room. In many instances people are unsure when they should go to urgent care versus the emergency room or if they should simply wait for an opening at their primary doctor. There are several services that can help you determine when urgent care is appropriate.
Injuries are a common reason for going to the emergency room, but many of these issues can be handled by urgent care. If you need to make the decision whether to go to the ER or urgent care, you should decide based on the extent of the injury. When someone is profusely bleeding, has burns that appear to be third degree burns, or is unconscious, you are probably better off calling the ambulance so the person can receive prompt care in route to the emergency room. Otherwise many types of sprains, strains, and broken bones (even complex breaks that protrude through the skin) may be handled by urgent care when necessary.
In some instances, you need fast physicals, and your primary doctor may not be able to see you quickly. Many urgent care facilities can do physicals for children to enter into sports and for adults who need pre-employment physicals. Some urgent care centers may not even require an appointment for different types of physicals. Childhood physicals for participation in sports usually involve an overview of medical history to identify problems that may compromise your child's ability to participate in sports, such as heart problems. Children also receive an eye exam and physical fitness testing. For adults, physicals usually involve similar checks as children. Another reason adults may need to visit urgent care is for drug screenings. Their place of employment may require drug screenings at random or as a condition of an employment offer.
If you or someone in your family is experiencing an illness that you would normally have evaluated by your primary doctor and you either cannot see them promptly or it is after-hours, urgent care is usually the best choice. One of the advantages of using urgent care over the emergency room is it is less expensive and the wait time is usually less since many illnesses are considered low-priority in the emergency room. Additionally, urgent care centers are frequently using virtual visits for basic illnesses. The benefit of virtual visits is you can avoid spreading illness like COVID-19, the flu, colds, or other communicable disease to other people in the waiting area. Similarly, people who are vulnerable to illnesses can also avoid coming into contact with ill people.
In many non life-threatening situations, urgent care is the best option to fill voids left by the limited hours of primary care, or to avoid a significant wait and/or higher costs in the emergency room. If you are unsure whether urgent care is right for your needs, you can usually call ahead and ask for an opinion.Share
21 June 2021
One day I was playing a game of basketball with a friend, and the friend I was playing ball with tripped and took a hard fall to the ground. He hit his head hard, but he insisted he was okay and just wanted to go home and take a nap. I knew in my heart that he was not thinking clearly, and I didn't feel right letting him go home. I talked him into letting me take him to the hospital, and after some tests, it was determined he had a bad concussion. The doctors told me that if I had let him go home and sleep, things could have taken a turn for the worse. I created this blog to remind everyone to look out for each other after injuries. Not everyone thinks clearly after a head injury, and just being a good friend could save a life.