What to Expect at an Urgent Care Center

The modern American healthcare industry is a truly vast and varied one, and patients may visit any sort of medical clinic for help. Addicts can visit detox centers to get clean, while someone with back pain may visit a pain clinic for relief. And for more general medical cases, a victim may need the services of a24 hour walk in clinic, or even 24 hour emergency care for more serious cases. Knowing the difference between urgent care and emergency care is important, as a 24 hour walk in clinic offers different services than a 24 hour emergency clinic. Not all walk in clinics are in fact 24 hour walk in clinics, but if a victim needs help at an odd time of day, a nearby responsible adult may look up “24 hour walk in clinics near me” online to find some. An online search may show the name, address, and hours of a local clinic, and the same is true when looking for emergency services. What can someone expect from emergency care? Or will they need urgent care instead?

Visiting Emergency Centers

As explained earlier, emergency care services are essential for serious medical cases where a patient’s injuries or illness is too serious for urgent care. The doctors and physicians at emergency care clinic will have the right training and tools to save a life and get a patient stabilized. What might call for a visit to emergency services? For example, a patient might have suffered a broken arm or broken leg, or the patient may have a head or eye injury. Meanwhile, chest pain or difficulty breathing also merit emergency services, since these conditions might turn life-threatening at any moment, if they are not already. A patient who just suffered a stroke or heart attack will certainly need the ER, too. But 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 options are the safest route to take. After all, the underlying cause might be quite serious, such as internal bleeding or even cancer.

It may be noted, however, that emergency services such as a hospital’s ER are not a catch-all for all medical cases, and the ER is best reserved for patients whose lives are in danger. For more minor medical cases, a patient is urged to visit an urgent care center, which is typically much faster and cheaper to visit anyway. Statistics show that nearly 44-65% of all ER cases could have been handled at urgent care instead. Still, there is a third option: hybrid clinics that offer urgent and emergency care side by side. These flexible clinic are a fine option if it is not clear what level of care a patient might need, and the staff there will know what to do.

Urgent Care Done Right

While emergency care concerns itself with life-threatening medical cases, urgent care is for minor, everyday health issues that are not serious enough for the ER. Fortunately, over 2,000 urgent care centers and walk in clinics can be found across the United States today, each one staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who can handle many different minor medical cases among patients. These clinics tend to be small and independent, and they can be found in strip malls, retailers, and even hospitals. A clinic that is running smoothly may see about three patients per hour on average, and a guest may expect a wait time of around 15 minutes or so.

What might bring a patient to urgent care? Often, they visit to get a prescription drug refill at the clinic’s pharmacy, and this is common in retail clinics, too. During influenza season, guests at these clinics may get medicinal relief from the common cold or flu, and upper respiratory issues are another common reason to visit urgent care centers. Around four in five such clinics also offer treatment for bone fractures, and nearly all clinics can offer care for sprained wrists or ankles. Staff at the clinic may also offer stitches and bandages for shallow cuts or wounds, and the staff may offer lotion and ointment for bad cases of sunburn or skin rashes.

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