Today, adults and children alike will sometimes face the threat of medical ailments such as wounds, injury, or illness, and whenever someone becomes afflicted with a condition, it is important for everyone involved to stay calm and find the nearest medical facility that can take care of them, but knowing the difference between urgent care and the emergency room can help out. Convenient care can be found at a 24 hour urgent care location, for example, and an ill person or someone helping them can search or “24 hour walk in clinic near me” into a smart phone or a PC and get the name, address, and directions to a nearby clinic for care. Sometimes, major health issues call for more assistance than convenient care can provide; in this case, emergency care and a hospital will be needed to save a life. Convenient care is very effective and flexible, but it cannot handle a life-threatening problem. What should someone know when looking for convenient care or a hospital?
For conditions that are life-threatening, or those that may soon become life-threatening, a person must be brought to emergency care, such as at a hospital and its emergency room, or ER. What problems or symptoms call for this? Serious chest pain or difficulty breathing can easily become life-threatening, such as obstruction of the respiratory system or an impending heart attack. Serious trauma such as broken arms or legs, stab or bullet wounds, or head wounds or eye injuries also call for the ER, and only at a hospital will a patient get access to doctors and physicians and the medicine and equipment needed to deal with the problem. This is emergency care, which is not to be confused with urgent care of convenient care. In fact, it has been found that anywhere from 44% to 65% of ER episodes could have been handled at a walk in clinic instead, and this is a problem since such patients are taking up room that patients with life-threatening issues will need, and getting care at the ER is more expensive than care at an urgent care center anyway. For this reason, only life-threatening issues mandate the ER. For more everyday and milder issues, going to convenient care is the right call.
Why Go to Urgent Care?
Convenient care and urgent care clinics will have a lot of appeal for patients who have more minor and everyday wounds or illnesses to treat, and these clinics are common all over the country, operating independently or in very small networks with each other. Such clinics are staffed with physicians and purse practitioners, who will have the expertise and medicine and equipment to deal with minor health problems. Not all of these centers are open 24 hours a day or seven days a week, but many are, and all of them will have at least fairly broad hours of operation. They can also be fast and efficient if working well; a patient may expect a wait time of about 15 minutes, on average, and a clinic may see around three patients per hour if there are no issues. Going to these clinics may also be more price-friendly than visiting the ER, making them even more appealing, and many accept various brands of health insurance.
What problems are typically treated at convenient care or a walk in clinic? Medicine for the common cold and flu is available, and someone suffering these viruses can visit to get relief for their symptoms and help fight off the infection faster. Four out of five urgent care centers will also treat bone fractures, and most of them will also help take care of ankle and wrist sprains. Seeing how about 25,000 Americans get ankle sprains per day, it is a good thing that these clinics can handle that. Broken fingers or toes may also be treated at such a clinic, along with skin problems like rashes. Upper respiratory issues are common problems that are treated here, along with allergies. These clinics also typically have pharmacies in them.
Some urgent care clinics are retail clinics, and can be found in major retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens, and are therefore easy to find and visit. They often contain pharmacies as well for refilling drug prescriptions.