Did you know that just under half of all adult emergency room patients are not sick enough to be admitted to the hospital but went to the E.R. because their doctor’s offices were closed? Maybe you have been in this situation yourself. It’s late in the evening, you have a fever, you know you’re sick and need treatment, but you don’t know where to turn to get the best care available. For non-emergency illnesses and injuries, your best bet may be to learn what is urgent care and to find a center near you.
What is urgent care?
Urgent care centers are clinics that are cheaper and faster than a trip to the emergency room, but have more flexible hours than your doctor’s office. About 60% of all urgent care facilities have a wait time of 15 minutes or less to see a doctor or a mid-level provider and 65% have a doctor on-site at all times. Most urgent care centers stay open past 7:00 pm on weeknights and two out of five urgent care centers will remain open until 9:00 pm or later. Many even have weekend hours.
What can be treated at an urgent care clinic?
Most urgent care centers are equipped to treat patients with common illnesses such as sinus infections, ear infections, and strep throat. As far as injuries go, most (80%) of urgent care centers are able to provide fracture care. 70% or urgent care centers are even able to provide intravenous fluids if needed.
How can I decide between going to an urgent care clinic and going to the emergency room?
If you have a common illness and you don’t believe that it is serious enough to get you admitted to the hospital, urgent care might be the best choice. Emergency rooms are best for emergency situations and injuries and illnesses that will require hospitalization.
How can I be prepared for a visit to an urgent care center?
Be sure to familiarize yourself with urgent care locations in your city or town so that when you are sick you will know right where to go. It is also a good idea to know your local urgent care clinic’s hours and if they are open on weekends. You may want to ask your doctor if there is an urgent care center nearby that he or she recommends.
Remember, when it comes to your health, the choice is yours. When faced with an illness, deciding where to get treatment is important. Now that you know what is urgent care, you can weigh your options and seek the best and most convenient treatment possible.