Americans young and old will sometimes need medical attention, and they can get it from all sorts of healthcare providers. This may include emergency care centers for serious medical conditions, while more mild medical cases are best handled at walk in clinics or urgent care clinics across the United States. If a victim needs help due to an injury or illness, then a nearby responsible adult may take them to local emergency care centers or walk in clinics, and look up those clinics online if necessary. A person may look up “urgent care center near me” or “local emergency care center” and enter their ZIP code to find some local results. Doing this may show some nearby clinics of the desired type, along with the address, name, and hours of each one. Not all, but some emergency care centers or urgent care clinics may be open 24 hours a day, which is very helpful if a patient needs care at an odd time of day. Ultimately, what is the difference between emergency care centers and urgent care? What can each one offer?
All About Emergency Care
Put simply, emergency care centers or a hospital’s ER are necessary for treating patients whose lives are in danger due to serious injuries or illness. The doctors and physicians on staff will have the training and medicine needed to get a patient out of danger and stabilize them, and this can save a life. A patient might need this level of care, for example, if they have a broken arm or leg, or if they have suffered an injury to the head or one or both eyes. Bullet wounds or stab wounds also call for this level of care, which may be bleeding heavily. Serious chest pain and/or difficulty breathing also merit a visit to emergency care, since these conditions may soon turn life-threatening, if they aren’t already. And what about abdominal pain? Most abdominal pain cases are in fact harmless, but if the pain is severe, sudden, and/or long lasting, the patient should visit an emergency care center since the underlying cause may be serious (such as internal bleeding or even cancer).
However, an emergency care center or a hospital’s ER should not be treated as a catch-all medical care site, since minor cases are best left to walk in clinics. Visiting urgent care centers is often much less expensive and much faster than visiting the ER, anyway, and the ER should be kept clear for patients who truly need it. It may be noted, though, that some clinics today are a hybrid model; that is, they offer both emergency and urgent care, making them a great option if it’s not clear what level of care a patient might need.
What to Expect From Urgent Care
Meanwhile, patients who need care for minor and everyday illnesses may visit urgent care centers for help and there are good reasons why this level of are is known as “convenient care.” Over 2,000 urgent care centers can be found across the United States today, and these walk in clinics are staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians who can treat everyday wounds with ease. Most of these clinics are small and independent, though they are also known to form small, local networks with one another. Many of them are located in strip malls, and some may be built into retailers or even in hospitals. Hospital clinics offer distinct and separate care from the hospital itself.
Most, if not all, urgent care centers and walk in clinics feature a pharmacy where guests may get a prescription drug refill, and this may be common in retail clinics for the convenience of shoppers who visit them. Guests may also get medicinal relief from the common cold and flu during influenza season, and upper respiratory issues are another common reason to visit these urgent care centers today. Four in five walk in clinics offer treatment for bone fractures, and a guest may almost certainly expect to get treatment for a sprained wrist or ankle, too. Nurses on staff may offer stitches and bandages for shallow cuts, and patients may get lotion or ointment for bad cases of sunburn or skin rashes.