Do you have a significant medical issue and aren’t sure how to proceed in getting treatment?
It’s the type of information that you don’t know that you need to know until you need to know it. When should you wait to be seen by your doctor for medical help? When can it be handled by one of the urgent care locations in your area? When is it best to go the emergency room? Stay tuned, we’re going to give you a simple guide of where to get medical care for any type of health concern:
When to Visit Your Doctor
If you are able to, going to your own doctor for a medical issue is ideal. Your doctor knows your medical history, and will have a hand in any ongoing treatment you need. They probably are in the best position to make decisions regarding your medical treatment plan. However, many of the most common medical treatments aren’t available at a private doctor’s office. Additionally, you should never forgo treatment you need immediately to wait for an appointment to open up with your personal doctor. Here are a few situations where going to a private doctor:
- The medical treatment you need is not urgent, and you can wait until you are able to be seen by your doctor.
- You need (non-urgent) medical treatment that will require ongoing participation from a medical professional.
- You need follow-up care for a previous health issue, even if you were treated at another medical clinic.
When to Visit the Emergency Room
Emergency rooms are designed to treat life threatening issues. They are equipped to handle non-life threatening medical issues, but by going to an emergency room for a medical treatment that could be provided elsewhere, you are tying up ER resources that should be available for saving lives. Also, emergency rooms often cost more for the same medical treatment than you would have to pay at your doctors or urgent care.
Emergency rooms are very important for the following instances:
- Bleeding profusely
- Heart attack or stroke symptoms
- Severe head injuries
- Compound fractures (broken bones where the bone is protruding from the skin)
- Other medical emergencies where you believe the vitality of the patient is at risk.
When to Visit Urgent Care Locations
Urgent care locations fill the gap in medical care between what your medical provider offers and what the emergency room is designed for. Getting treatment at an urgent care is in your best interest if you need to be seen before your medical provider can fit you in, you are only able to seek medical treatment after normal business hours or on weekends, or if the medical treatment you require is outside of the scope of what your doctor offers.
Visiting urgent care locations is typically far less expensive than going to the emergency room; many times, insurance providers treat it the same as visiting your primary care physician. Also, you’ll find the wait times at an urgent care to be shorter than that of the emergency room. Emergency rooms are designed to treat patients on a hierarchy of who needs care more. If you have a broken femur, you’ll be bumped after the patient who has a stab wound, regardless of who came in first. Meanwhile, urgent cares units serve patients on a first-come-first-serve basis. A few good reasons to go to urgent care include:
- Intravenous fluids. Most primary care physicians are not able to, but urgent cares are able to administer IVs.
- Fracture care. Urgent care offices are usually able to provide X-rays, bone setting, and casts, unless your bone injury requires surgery.
- Lab services. If you need blood tests, or urine analysis in order to get a diagnoses and treatment, you can usually receive it onsite at an urgent care, rather than having to go to a separate lab.
- Prescriptions. When you know you just need a round of antibiotics to treat a minor infection, you may be able to get it in a single visit to an urgent care, rather than having to make a trip to a pharmacy.
Do you have any questions regarding when to visit your doctor, go to urgent care, or the ER?