What to Know About Urgent Care


The modern medical industry is a large and diverse one, and medical care centers are ready for patients of all different levels of need. Every day, many people young and old will get hurt or ill, and it is important for a responsible adult to find the right medical care site for them. This may mean looking up local convenient care online, such as searching “urgent care clinics near me” or “urgent care services in the area” if they have to. Performing an online search allows the seeker to find the name, hours, and address of all local walk in clinics, and if the patient needs help at an odd time of day, the seeker can look for a 24 hour urgent care clinic in particular. What are the benefits of urgent care, and how does it differ from emergency care? These are not the same thing, and emergency care is best for major medical cases while the benefits of urgent care are for minor medical cases.

About Emergency Care

Emergency care services, such as an emergency clinic or the ER in a hospital, are best reserved for patients who are in critical condition, or even in life threatening condition. At an emergency medical provider, the doctors and physicians on staff will have the expertise and medicine to stabilize a patient and allow them to recover. For example, a patient may have a broken arm or a broken leg, or they might have suffered an eye or head injury that calls for the ER. Bullet wounds and stab wounds also call for emergency care, especially if they are bleeding heavily. In addition, serious chest pain or difficulty breathing call for the ER, since these conditions may soon turn life threatening, if they are not so already. And what about abdominal pain? Most cases of abdominal pain are in fact harmless, but if that pain is severe, sudden, and/or long lasting, the patient should visit an emergency care provider. The underlying cause might be quite serious.

Emergency services can save a life, but they are not really universal medical care centers. It is expensive and time consuming to visit them, especially for minor cases that are better off treated at urgent care clinics instead. But if it is not clear what level of care a victim might need, then a person can take them to a hybrid care provider. These hybrid clinics offer urgent and emergency care services side by side, and patients can either get stabilized or enjoy the benefits of urgent care.

The Benefits of Urgent Care

If emergency care is for serious medical cases, then urgent care is for minor health issues that may require some professional attention. This is often known as getting “convenient care,” since there are over 2,500 urgent care centers found across the United States today, many of them built since the year 2000. A typical urgent care center or walk in clinic is a small and independent medical facility run by nurse practitioners and physicians who can take care of minor medical cases. If such a clinic is running smoothly, the staff may see three patients per hour or so, and a guest may expect a wait time of around 15 minutes or so.

Where are these clinics? Many of them are built into strip malls, which makes them easy to find and get parking for. Shoppers can also get the benefits of urgent care at retail clinics, which are indeed built in large retailers. Some of these clinics may be built into hospitals, and they provide distinct care from the hospital itself.

Most urgent care facilities have a pharmacy built in them, where a guest may visit and get a refill of prescription drugs at the hands of on-site pharmacists. And during influenza season, guests at an urgent care clinic may get medicinal relief from the common cold and flu. Meanwhile, patients at an urgent care center can get braces for wrist and ankle sprains, and four in five urgent care clinics can also provide treatment for bone fractures. Nurses on staff can provide stitches and bandages for shallow cuts and wounds, and they can also offer lotion and ointment for cases of sunburn and rashes.

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