What are urgent care center services and what can you expect from going to this type of clinic? Find out below.
Intro to urgent care center services
It is a walk-in style of clinic in most states in America. The idea behind them is to provide medical service to everyone at any time of the day, 7 days a week.
If you feel ill in the evening after all the other businesses have closed for the day and are looking for medical advice, this clinic can be a good place to go. A major benefit is there’s no need to make an appointment; you can walk into the building then wait for the next available general practitioner to see you.
There are thousands of these clinics all around the world. Doctors privately own some of them, and they have affordable prices, especially if you have medical insurance.
In contrast, primary care facilities usually have longer waiting times. To help solve this issue, urgent care was developed. Reasons why people use health services such as these, are mentioned on this website.
When facilities such as these are open at all hours of the day or night, their appeal obviously increases, which creates demand for more centers to open up. The scope of urgent care center services in comparison to typical hospitals and doctors’ clinics is also much wider.
If you’re wondering whether you can visit one for your condition or not, below is useful information that can help you decide.
What to go to urgent care for
The information here relays an extensive list of what situations call for a visit to a walk-in clinic: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/urgent-and-emergency-care-services/when-to-visit-an-urgent-treatment-centre-walk-in-or-minor-injury-unit/. Below is an overview of the conditions you can go to urgent care for:
- Emergency contraception
- Cuts and grazes
- Eye problems
- Sprains and strains
- Stomach pain
- Minor head injuries
- Stings and bites
- Suspected broken limbs
- Coughs and colds
- Rashes or skin infections
- The high temperature in child and adults
- Being sick (vomiting) and diarrhea
- Throat infections
- Ear infections
- Minor burns or cuts
It’s also important to note that there is a difference between walk-in clinics, emergency rooms, and urgent care. Recognizing the differences can help you choose the right one for your needs.
Urgent care center vs emergency room vs walk-in clinic
Even though all three of these choices imply that your medical requires immediate care, they are not all of the same. The main differences are the services they offer and the level of attention they give to each patient. There are other factors to consider too, such as costs and specialized facilities with certain machines.
When you get sick or injured and your normal doctor is unavailable, an urgent care center can be a handy place go for help. In most cases, an appointment is not needed. Typically, you can wait in their waiting room or foyer for any available medical professional to see you. The same holds true for retail walk-in clinics.
If you are in the same situation but would rather consult your doctor, they might not be free for an appointment. In this case, urgent care centers can be the option you do next. It is typically a separate building, whereas an emergency room is part of a hospital and a retail walk-in clinic is part of a bigger pharmacy or retailer.
Also, hospital emergency rooms and departments provide medical care in specific specific. Both their staff and equipment gear towards more specific patient needs. Some patients when seen at hospital emergency rooms are sent to the critical care facilities to get an MRI scan, Magnetic resonance imaging, or an X-Ray.
These types of equipment are not always available in public hospitals. The staff there aren’t always trained in using them either. When you visit an ER (emergency room), the conditions treated here are slightly different and more serious than the list above.
For instance, an ER is typically the place to go to treat those suffering from seizures, serious burns, fainting, severe cuts or facial lacerations, and vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. It is also where you would normally go for difficulty breathing, broken or dislocated joints and bones, and chest pain.
As you can see, one treats more serious conditions and injuries than the other. The rule of thumb is to trust your gut. If your intuition tells you what your feeling is a serious thing, go to the ER, but if it does not feel like it is or it can wait, but you would like to get checked anyway, go to the urgent care unit for a checkup.
A few last words
It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your own or your family’s health. The worst-case scenario is if you’re at the wrong place, the staff will send you to the right one.