Emergency rooms and urgent care centers both treat a variety of conditions for patients. You can get proper care from both settings; however there are some major differences. Knowing whether it is best to be seen by an ER physician or visit your nearest urgent care express center can save time and money.
Emergency rooms are equipped with knowledgeable staff familiar with dealing with a variety of issues from life threatening to minor uncomfortable health concerns. You can be sure that your condition will be addressed properly; however you will spend considerably more money by going to the ER. Emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week, even when your doctor’s office is closed. Your wait time in an emergency room can be considerably long, depending on how many people are in front of you and how severe their conditions are compared to yours.
Urgent Care Clinics
Urgent care clinics are equipped with knowledgeable staff as well. Many urgent care offices have extended hours, though they are not open 24 hours. Majority of urgent care centers stay open until 7 p.m. or later on weeknights, and 9 p.m. or later on weekends. Patients typically wait 15 minutes or less to be seen by a physician, according to the Urgent Care Association of America. According to the same source, approximately 80% of total visits have patients in and out in less than 60 minutes. The cost to visit an urgent care facility is typically significantly lower than the cost for an ER visit.
Conditions Requiring ER
Chest Pain, shortness of breath, and wheezing are medical conditions warranting a trip to the emergency room. Any type of severe pain, especially that which occurs in the abdomen and headaches is a condition, which requires emergency treatment. Go to the nearest ER if you experience loss of balance, fainting or having a seizure with no prior diagnosis of epilepsy. Deep cuts requiring stitches, broken bones with bone protruding from skin, dislocated joints and serious burns need to be checked immediately at the ER. If you experience serious burns, bleeding with pregnancy or intestinal bleeding then you should be seen by an ER physician.
Conditions for an Urgent Care Center
Conditions such as fevers, skin rashes and minor burns are capable of being treated in an urgent care express facility. Sprains and strains, insect bites and minor cuts requiring stitches can be treated in an urgent care clinic. Your local urgent care clinic can also address foreign objects in the eye, nose or ear,insect bites and minor broken bones. Roughly four out of five urgent care facilities have the resources to properly handle fractures. Minor ailments in adults and children such as sore throats, ear infections and common colds can also be addressed at an urgent care express facility.
If you condition is life threatening then it is best to dial 911 or proceed to your nearest emergency room. Knowing whether to go to the ER or an urgent care facility will depend on a lot of things including severity of your condition, but whenever possible, utilizing the services of your local urgent care express facility will save considerable amounts of time and money.