When someone is hurt or ill, a nearby responsible adult should look up either convenient care sites such as walk in clinics, or find emergency centers to stabilize a patient. But it should be noted that emergency care and urgent care are two different things, and they are not to be confused. What is there to know about emergency room vs. urgent care? For the most part, emergency room vs. urgent care is about the severity of the medical case involved. If a patient has a minor, everyday wound or problem, they can find urgent care or walk in clinic nearby and visit. If a patient’s life is in danger, then emergency room vs. urgent care resolves in favor of emergency aid such as a hospital’s ER. And when it comes to emergency room vs. urgent care, 24 hour healthcare providers can be very helpful if the patient needs help at an odd time of day, no matter how serious their condition is. So, a person may enter “24 hour emergency care nearby” or “24 hr walk in clinics near me” and find the name and address of local healthcare providers.
Getting Emergency Care
Emergency care is essential if the victim’s life is in danger, and some conditions, illnesses, or injuries are serious enough so that they need emergency aid at once. Urgent care can’t handle these cases, but the doctors and physicians at the ER will have the correct medicine and training to save a life. For example, a patient being rushed into emergency services may have suffered a broken arm or a broken leg, or they may have suffered an injury to their head or one or both eyeballs. Chest pain and difficulty breathing also call for emergency care, since these conditions could turn life-threatening at any time, if they are not already. And someone who recently suffered a heart attack or stroke will certainly need emergency care right away. But what about abdominal pain? Most cases of abdominal pain are in fact harmless, but if the pain is serious, long-lasting, and/or sudden, then emergency services are the best option. The pain might be caused by something serious, such as internal bleeding or cancer. Doctors will be able to make a diagnosis.
However, a hospital’s emergency room should not be treated as a catch-all medical care center, since this level of care is best reserved for patients whose lives are in danger. And besides that, it is costly and time expensive to visit them, and a patient with minor wounds or conditions may instead visit urgent care sites or walk in clinics, which tend to be faster and cheaper to visit. There are good reasons that urgent care is also known as “convenient care.” But some clinics are a third option, offering urgent and emergency care side by side. These flexible hybrid clinics are a great choice if it is not clear what level of care a patient needs.
What to Know About Urgent Care
As explained above, urgent care centers are best for minor, everyday wounds 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, and they are small, independent clinics that are staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who can treat everyday health issues. If a clinic is running fairly smoothly, its staff may see about three patients per hour, and a guest may expect a wait time of around 15 minutes. Many of these clinics are found in strip malls, though some can also be found in retailers or even in hospitals (note that they offer distinct care and different staff from the hospital itself).
Most if not all urgent care clinics feature a pharmacy where patients may get a prescription drug refill, such as at retail clinics. Guests may also get medicinal relief from the common cold and flu during influenza season. Meanwhile, four in five urgent care clinics offer treatment for bone fractures, and nearly all clinics also offer treatment for ankle and wrist sprains, too. Clinic staff may also provide lotion and ointment for skin rashes and sunburn, not to mention stitches and bandages for shallow cuts and wounds.