Urgent care centers are popping up all over the place, but how do you know whether it is better to go there or to your hospital’s emergency room? Let’s talk about the benefits of each and about which one is best for which types of illnesses and injuries.
Emergency Room for Serious Injuries
Major trauma involves having an injury or sudden illness that could have a life-threatening impact, and this type of health issue requires an immediate visit to the emergency room. Ambulances take patients straight to the emergency room in the case of a heart attack, stroke, car accident injury, and similar acute issues; you can also go to the emergency room by driving there yourself if you can.
However, someone with a minor, non-life-threatening injury – such as a sprained ankle – may sit in the emergency room’s waiting area for hours while the intake nurses triage patients. Triage is how patients are evaluated and treated in order of seriousness, not arrival time.
Urgent Care for Non-Traumatic Injury
Someone who suddenly twists an ankle while playing basketball is a prime example of a reason to go to an urgent care clinic instead of the emergency room. A bad cut that may need a few stitches, an injured elbow from playing golf or tennis, or a mildly dislocated joint are excellent candidates for urgent care, particularly orthopedic urgent care.
The quality of care at an urgent care is as good as that received at a hospital, and it likely will cost far less than an ER visit. An urgent care clinic’s medical staff can take X-rays to determine if there is a break or dislocation, and can put on a cast or splint if necessary.
Walk-ins are welcome at an urgent care center – there is no need for an appointment. For people who visit the urgent care instead of the emergency room, they are usually in and out in less than an hour. Most urgent care centers also accept health insurance, so they are an excellent option for diagnosing and treating acute illnesses or sudden mild injuries.
Whereas most patients are seen by a doctor within 30 minutes at an urgent care, the wait time at an emergency room can change radically within minutes. If there is a severe accident with several people injured who were brought into the ER where you are, you may be waiting for several hours before you can be seen.
As long as the condition is not considered life-threatening, then go to urgent care.
Medical Center with Urgent Care
Anytime there is a life-threatening situation, such as a severe sudden pain or traumatic injury, go to the emergency room. However, most health situations can be well-treated and handled at an urgent care clinic. Urgent care centers will see patients in the order of their arrival at the clinic, and you will receive excellent health care by qualified doctors and health professionals.
If you or someone you know has a minor injury or health condition and is in the Fort Worth area, contact our experienced team at Texas Medical Institute. Call us at (817) 615-8633 or request an appointment online, or walk in during our extended weekday hours for prompt medical attention. We look forward to taking care of you.