Knowing When to Get Urgent or Emergency Care

Americans young and old alike will sometimes need professional medical care, and there is more to the healthcare industry than a hospital’s emergency room, or ER. For serious medical cases, 24 hour emergency care is indeed needed, but most medical cases only call for convenient care at local walk in clinics or urgent care centers. This is a lower level of medical care, and many everyday wounds and illnesses can be treated at 24 hour urgent care locations. When a victim is hurt or ill and needs help, a responsible nearby party may look up “24 hour urgent care locations near me” on a PC or smartphone to find local results. An Internet search for 24 hour urgent care locations may show the name and address of local urgent care clinics. Children can be taken to a childrens urgent care center, or pediatric urgent care. Overall, what sort of medical cases call for 24 hour urgent care locations, and when is it time for the ER?

What Emergency Care Can Do

Serious, life-threatening medical cases are too severe for an urgent care location, so a victim needs to be taken to an emergency clinics or a hospital’s ER if their life is in danger. That, or the victim may need the ER if their injuries are major, such as if they suffered a broken arm or leg. Patients may also need the ER if they have sustained bullet wounds or stab wounds, and injuries like that may be bleeding heavily (and there might be damaged internal organs, too). Head injuries or eyeball injuries also call for the ER.

Difficulty breathing or chest pain may also merit a visit to an emergency care provider, as these conditions may become life-threatening at any moment, if they aren’t already. The same is true if the patient recently had a stroke or a heart attack. And what about abdominal pain? Most abdominal pain cases are harmless, but if the pain is sudden, severe, and/or long lasting, a trip to the ER is the safest route to take. After all, the underlying cause might be something major such as internal bleeding or even cancer.

An ER or emergency clinic will have trained doctors and physicians on hand who have the training and medicine needed to get a patient stabilized, and this can save a life. But an ER should not be thought of as a catch-all medical site, since this route is often too expensive and time-consuming to take for minor, everyday problems. But it may be noted that some clinics are a hybrid model, offering both urgent care services and emergency care side by side. These flexible clinics can be helpful if it is not clear what level of care a patient might need once they go in.

What Urgent Care Can Do

As mentioned above, convenient care providers such as 24 hour urgent care locations can take care of a variety of minor, everyday health problems. For years now, many more of these clinics have been built across the United States, and by now, a few thousand of them can be found in towns and cities everywhere. These clinics tend to be small and independent, though they will sometimes form small local networks. They are typically staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians, and there may be trained pharmacists on hand, too.

Where are these clinics? Most are built into strip malls, but some are retail clinics, built into large stores like Target or Walmart for shoppers to visit (such as their pharmacy). Some clinics are even built into hospitals, offering distinct care from the hospital itself.

Patients at 24 hour urgent care locations may visit for the pharmacy, or visit to get medicinal relief from the common cold or flu. The nurses on hand can also provide stitches and bandages for shallow cuts, and they can also offer lotion and ointment for nasty sunburns or skin rashes. Four in five such clinics also offer treatment for bone fractures, and nearly all of them can take care of sprained ankles and wrists, too. Upper respiratory issues are another common reason to visit a doctor’s office or an urgent care location.