Deciding Where to Go During Medical Emergencies

Hospitals and urgent care facilities treat medical emergencies, but people don’t always go to the right place to receive treatment. Only a life-threatening problem requires a call to the local ambulance unit, which takes patients to emergency rooms and hospitals. By contrast, non-life-threatening medical problems can be dealt with at urgent care centers. It is important for people to properly consider the pros and cons of each type of health care facility.

The wait time for admission into the E.R. department of a hospital can be quite lengthy. For example, people who have a minor injury such as a bruise or scar might have to wait for more than hour just to get admitted into the E.R. facility. However, a person who has deep lacerations and burns would be immediately rushed into the E.R. facility in order to receive instant relief and treatment including surgery. A serious trauma that causes heavy bleeding is certainly an issue that has to be handled by paramedics and then nurses and physicians in emergency rooms.

Urgent care clinics have very short wait times because patients are admitted on a first come first serve basis. Therefore, a person who walks into such a facility can expect to see a registered nurse or licensed physician within minutes. Urgent care facilities have important diagnostic equipment to examine common problems and injuries including bone fractures. For example, radiography departments have x-rays that instantly determine extensive damage in bones. Similarly, such health care venues can also take care of cuts with stitching. In urban areas, urgent care offices are usually open 24 hours on a daily basis.

The costs for visiting urgent care facilities is significantly lower compared to the fees charged by hospitals. People who do not have health insurance can save a lot of money by seeking help at urgent care clinics. Nevertheless, individuals who are insured may still have to pay large co-payments even for hospital visits that are partially covered.

After visiting an urgent care facility or emergency room, people are encouraged to schedule follow-up appointments with their primary physicians. The appointments can address the issues that led to the urgent need for medical attention. Doctors often try to identify the root causes that may be somehow managed and prevented. Surely, patients can benefit from making multiple appointments with their doctors rather than take the risk of suffering from problems that may require hospitalization.