What to Do When Someone Needs Emergency Care

Americans young and old will sometimes need medical attention from professionals, and this means looking up local medical clinics and hospitals when someone nearby has suffered an injury, illness, or other medical condition. Major and life-threatening injuries and conditions such as breathing difficulties or broken legs call for emergency care, and a 24 hour emergency care clinic might be nearby. For other cases that are not so dire, a person may look for urgent care clinics and walk in clinics for a patient, and take them there. It is important to note that urgent and emergency care are two different things, and serious conditions such as breathing difficulties or head injuries call for a hospital. By contrast, wrist sprains or the flu may only require convenient care at a local clinic. If a victim needs help, a nearby adult may conduct an online search to find the right kind of care for them.

Emergency Care Done Right

As described above, emergency care is for life-threatening conditions and injuries, and the staff at a hospital or emergency clinic will have the right training and tools needed to stabilize a patient and get them out of harm’s way. Why might a patient need this level of care? Conditions such as breathing difficulties or abdominal or chest pain call for emergency services, since breathing difficulties or chest pain may soon turn life threatening at a moment’s notice, if they aren’t already. Abdominal pain can vary widely, and minor cases may be taken care of at an urgent care clinic, if they even need care at all. But if the pain is sudden, strong, or persistent, the underlying cause may be serious, and going to the emergency room is the right call.

Injuries and trauma also call for emergency care. A patient may have suffered broken arms or legs, for example, or a head or eye wound such as a cracked skull. In other cases, a patient may have internal organ damage and bleeding, such as if a broken rib has punctured a lung, or the patient suffered stab or bullet wounds. Blood loss and organ damage can quickly threaten a life.

Not all medical cases call for the emergency room, however, and it should not be treated as a catch-all medical services site. It is unnecessarily expensive and stressful to visit the ER for minor medical cases, so patients with lesser medical problems can be handled at urgent care centers and walk in clinics instead. The good news is that some clinics today are in fact a hybrid model; that is, they offer both urgent and emergency care for any patient, so if it is unclear what level of care a victim may need, these hybrid clinics can be very useful. A person may look up a hybrid clinic in particular if they are unsure what sort of care a nearby victim might need.

Urgent Care

Most medical care that doesn’t deal with life-threatening emergencies will fall under the category of urgent care. This is a large branch of the medical industry, and a few thousand urgent care clinics can be found across the United States today, often small and independent clinics staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians. Many of these clinics are found in strip malls for easy and convenient access, while retail clinics, as the name suggests, are found inside larger retailers such as Target or Walgreens. Hospital clinics are found in hospitals, and they offer distinct care from the hospital at large.

Most urgent care clinics, especially retail ones, have a pharmacy built into them staffed with pharmacists, which can be convenient for shoppers who need to pick up a refill of their prescription drugs. That’s not all a clinic can offer, though. Such clinics can also provide medicinal relief for guests who are suffering the cold or flu during influenza season, and the clinic may offer lotion and ointment treatments for rashes or sunburn. Four in five urgent care clinics offer bone fracture treatments, and nearly all of them can offer treatment for wrist or ankle sprains, too. A patient may also visit to get stitches and bandages for shallow cuts, and it is common to visit a walk in clinic due to upper respiratory issues.