Going to Urgent or Emergency Care

Whenever a patient today needs urgent care or emergency care, he or she should be taken by a responsible adult to the nearest medical center of the correct type. However, an emergency room in hospitals or a walk in clinic are not the same, and they offer quite different types of care for their guests. If someone is suffering from a life-threatening injury or illness, a nearby person may call 911 or promptly search online for local care, such as “emergency room near me” or “emergency room in hospital Boston MA” or something to that effect. In other cases, if a patient needs urgent care for everyday light wounds or illnesses, a walk in clinic is a fine option, and a local clinic may not be far away. Many of these clinics have broad hours of operation and have trained nurses and physicians on staff. What to do when a nearby victim needs care?

An Emergency Room In Hospitals

A person needs to be rushed to the emergency room either by ambulance or private transport if he or she is suffering from serious or even life-threatening injuries or conditions. There the doctors and physicians there will have the training, tools, and medicine to treat a patient. For example, someone may be rushed to emergency care if they are suffering from serious chest pain or difficulty breathing, which can soon become life threatening at any moment. In other cases, blunt trauma is the reason to visit the ER, such as broken arms or legs, or head or eye wounds. In some cases, there may be heavy bleeding involved or damaged organs, such as if a broken rib has punctured a lung. It should be noted, though, that an emergency room in hospitals is best left to patients in serious condition, and other patients are urged to visit walk in clinics instead. It is estimated that as many as 44-65% of ER episodes could have been handled at an urgent care clinic instead, and going to such a clinic may be more convenient and affordable for the patient in any case. If a patient is unsure if their conditions calls for urgent or emergency care, though, they may err on the side of caution and seek emergency care.

How Urgent Care Works

Urgent walk in clinics, by contrast, are small and independent clinics found all across the United States, and there are many thousands of them. Nearly any city or town will have at least one or two, and these clinics may also be linked into small local networks with one another. At these clinics, staffs of nurse practitioners and physicians can see patients during many different hours of the day (clinic hours may be fairly broad), and they will have proper training to treat many ailments. At such a clinic, a patient may expect a wait time of around 15 minutes, and if the clinic is running smoothly, it will see about three patients per hour. Many of these clinics also accept many different healthcare insurance forms, but a guest may want to check ahead of time if their particular policy is accepted there.

Some of these clinics are in fact built into larger facilities, such as retailers or even hospitals. In the former case, a retail clinic is built into a large retailer such as Target or Walgreens, taking advantage of how those large retailers are easy to find and get parking for. Such clinics nearly always have a pharmacy, which may be convenient for many shoppers. In the latter case, clinics that are built into hospitals will keep their staff and medical treatments strictly distinct from that of the general hospital, something for guests to note.

At a clinic, a patient may get medicine for relief against the common cold, flu, or stomach flu, and similar influenza cases. Patients there may also visit for upper respiratory issues or for lotion and ointment against skin rashes, such as from allergies or poison ivy. Four out of five urgent care clinics can treat bone fractures, and most can treat ankle or wrist sprains as well. A patient there may also get stitches and bandages for shallow cuts, such as if they mishandled a knife or if they stepped on broken glass.

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