Millions of Americans young and old get hurt or ill every day, and when this happens, they may need to visit a medical care site for help, such as urgent care clinics or even the emergency room. If someone needs help, then a nearby person can look up emergency care or urgent care locations in the area with an online search, and a general search such as “emergency room near me” can be refined somewhat. If the patient needs help at an odd time of day, the search can look like “emergency room near me 24 hrs,” for example. For minor medical cases, searching “urgent care near me” or “walk in clinics nearby” is best, and the seeker can find the name, address, and hours of operation of each local clinic. What is the difference between urgent and emergency care, though? These terms describe two different levels of care, and they shouldn’t be confused.
Emergency Aid for Patients in Dire Need
Most medical cases are actually too minor to require the emergency room, but if a patient’s life is in danger, it is time to look up “emergency room near me” and get that patient to the nearest emergency care site that has its doors open. At an emergency clinics or a hospital’s ER, the doctors and physicians will have the right medicine and training to save a life, and this may even involve surgery. For example, a patient can be rushed to the ER if they have suffered one or more broken bones, such as the arms or legs, and the same is true if the patient has experienced a head wound or damage to one or both eyeballs. A cracked skull will require a doctor’s attention for sure. Also, bullet wound and stab wounds call for emergency aid, as deep wounds like these may have internal bleeding that only a surgeon can control.
Meanwhile, chest pain or difficulty breathing also merit a visit to emergency services, since those conditions may soon turn life-threatening without warning, if they are not so already. This applies to heart attacks and strokes, too. But what about cases of abdominal pain? Most abdominal pain episodes are actually harmless, but if the pain is sudden, severe, and/or long lasting, then it is safest to get emergency care. The underlying cause might be quite serious, such as internal bleeding or cancer.
A helper should look up “emergency room near me” for true medical emergencies, and not for just anything. Minor medical cases are generally a waste of ER resources, and besides, it is expensive and time consuming to visit them. Minor cases are best treated at urgent care centers, and this helps free up room in the ER for patients who truly need it.
Finding Urgent Care Clinics
Meanwhile, urgent care centers are the best option for lesser medical cases that require professional attention, but are not life threatening. The good news is that while the urgent care industry is a young one, it is also robust and still growing, with over 2,500 walk in clinics found across the U.S. today. These tend to be small, independent medical centers staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians, and those urgent care clinic are often found in strip malls or even in retailers (those are retail clinics). Some are found in hospitals, and offer distinct care from the hospital itself. If an urgent care clinic is running smoothly, a patient may expect a wait time of 15 minutes or so, and many of these clinics accept a variety of healthcare insurance policies.
So then, what is treated at an urgent care clinic or walk in clinic? Most of them feature a pharmacy, where guests can visit to get a prescription drug refill, and this is a popular option for shoppers at a grocery store or a Walgreen’s or Target. During influenza season, guests may visit to get medicinal relief from the common cold or flu, and the nurse practitioners on staff can also provide lotion and ointment for sunburn and skin rashes. Four in five of these clinics can also offer treatment for bone fractures, and nearly all of them offer treatment for wrist or ankle sprains. Also, stitches and bandages can be provided for shallow cuts.