It is a fact of life that Americans, both kids and adults, will sometimes suffer minor injuries or scrapes in everyday life or may fall ill, such as the cold or the flu. Other times, people will suffer serious, life-threatening injuries or medical emergencies, and when this happens, a life can be saved when a victim is quickly taken to 24 hour emergency care, such as a hospital’s emergency room, or the ER. Those suffering more everyday wounds and issues may instead opt for urgent medical services at a walk in clinic or a 24 hour urgent care location, and a victim or someone near a victim should know what kind of medical facility is best to visit, and how to find one close by. This can save a life.
Getting Emergency Care
If a person is suffering from a life-threatening problem, urgent medical services are needed, but an ordinary urgent care clinic will probably not suffice. Rather, a victim should be taken to emergency care, whether at a hospital’s ER or at a hybrid clinic for both urgent and emergency care (such places exist in some urban centers). What mandates a trip to emergency rather than urgent care? Serious chest pain or breathing difficulties may merit a trip to emergency care, and a person may soon not be able to breathe, or they may soon suffer a heart attack, which can certainly threaten a life. External problems such as stab or bullet wounds, broken arms or legs, or head wounds or eye injuries also call for the emergency room, where trained doctors and physicians will have the equipment needed to get the patient out of danger and help them start recovery. It should be noted, though, that not just anyone should visit the ER; in fact, nearly 44% to 65% of ER episodes could have been taken care of at an urgent care clinic instead, and such a clinic is more convenient for the patient. It may be impractical for a patient with a minor injury to visit the ER when another patient with life-threatening problems needs the doctor’s attention instead.
Urgent Medical Services
By contrast, walk in clinics are very common across the United States, and they are often independent urgent medical services sites that may be part of a small local network. They cannot treat life-threatening problems, but the staff of nurse practitioners and physicians can take care of more minor and everyday problems of the patients who visit them. Such clinics might or might not be open 24 hours a day or seven days a week, but many are, and they should all have fairly broad hours of operation. They can be convenient for patients to visit, too, since they may generally be much cheaper than the ER and may accept various health insurance policies. In general,a patient there may expect to wait about 15 minutes for urgent medical services, and a facility that is running smoothly can see about three patients per hour. In fact, some of these clinics are retail clinics, meaning that they are found inside large retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens, and this makes them easy to find and park at since these large retailers have ample parking and are meant to be easy to find.
What can a patient expect from urgent medical services? These clinics typically have a pharmacy in them, and staff can write or refill drug prescriptions as needed, even at retail clinics. These clinics may also offer medicine for relief against the common cold and the flu, and may have medicine for allergies and rashes, such as poison ivy and more. These clinics can also take care of upper respiratory issues, which are common, and surface wounds such as shallow cuts can be addressed with stitches. Four out of five such clinics also treat bone fractures, and ankle and wrist sprains are another common issue among patients for urgent medical services.
It should also be noted that some urgent medical clinics are hybrids between walk in clinics and emergency rooms, and may offer treatment for both life-threatening and ordinary wounds or illnesses alike. Someone who needs care can find this out when searching for local clinics, based on their needs.