- December 21, 2022
Urgent Care vs Emergency Room
Urgent care is a great option for those who need medical attention quickly. It can treat many conditions, including minor illnesses and injuries. However, some people will need emergency room care if their condition is more serious or if there are complications that arise during treatment. In this article, we’ll explain when you should visit an urgent care clinic vs an emergency room and what each service involves so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your needs.
Emergency Room Care
There are many reasons why an injured patient may be taken to the emergency room. Emergency room care is for life-threatening injuries and illnesses, so it’s most often used for situations like car accidents or heart attacks. The cost of emergency room care can be quite high depending on what services are required and how much time you need to wait before seeing a doctor.
In addition to being an expensive option, it’s not always available at your local hospital. If you’re traveling outside your area or have trouble getting there quickly enough, then this may not be an option for you either! Whether or not there’s a lack of availability will depend entirely on where in town your local hospital is located; some might be full all day long while others may only see patients during certain hours.
Emergency rooms tend to get crowded because they’re designed primarily as service centers rather than facilities where patients can spend extended periods of time waiting around before receiving treatment. This means longer waits between visits from doctors who specialize in treating specific conditions.
Urgent Care Clinic
Urgent Care Clinic is a medical facility that provides care for patients with non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries. They are open when primary care offices are closed and provide same-day treatment for non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries.
Urgent care clinics function as an extension of your primary care physician’s office, so you can be seen by a doctor right away instead of waiting to see them at an emergency room or urgent care center. This type of clinic generally does not have the same level of equipment as the ER does, but it can be just as effective in treating common conditions like sprains and bruises.
When to Head Straight for Emergency Services
It’s important to note that urgent care centers are not always equipped with the same level of medical expertise as hospitals. So if it is possible to get yourself seen immediately at your local hospital, then this would be best for your health and safety.
Emergency room visits are for more severe conditions and injuries, so it’s important to know when it’s time to visit the emergency room. Here are some guidelines:
If you’re experiencing an injury that is bleeding or have broken bones, go straight to the ER. The sooner you see a doctor at the hospital, the better your chances of getting treatment quickly and appropriately.
If you have symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath with no other explanation, take these steps before visiting an urgent care center: drink plenty of fluids; monitor your blood oxygen levels; seek medical attention immediately if there is no improvement within 30 minutes after taking these actions.
When to Visit Urgent Care
Urgent care centers can offer immediate treatment for minor ailments that require no waiting time and can be seen in a short amount of time.
If your primary care physician is closed or unavailable on the day of your appointment and cannot see you at another time within the next few days, then urgent care may be the best option for you. Urgent care centers will usually accept most insurance plans and may not require any prior appointment with a doctor before being able to see patients who are sick or injured.
Urgent Care vs Emergency Room Cost
The cost of urgent care can vary based on the severity of your illness or injury, as well as your insurance coverage and location. However, most urgent care centers will charge less than $50 for a visit to their facilities.
In contrast, an emergency room visit generally requires payment in full at the time of service, and sometimes upfront. This may mean that you end up paying more than if you had gone elsewhere for treatment.
Do you need urgent care or emergency services?
If you’re wondering if you need urgent care or emergency services, it’s important to understand the difference between them. An urgent care visit is similar to a walk-in clinic in that patients can receive diagnostic tests and treatment without an appointment. Urgent care services are typically less expensive than an emergency room visit, but they do not provide the same level of medical care as the ER does.
If you have an injury or illness that requires immediate attention from a doctor or nurse practitioner, then an urgent care facility may be appropriate for your needs.
If you are experiencing a non-life-threatening injury or illness, the urgent care clinic is the right place for you. The emergency room is for emergencies only and should be used only as a last resort if necessary.
The difference between an urgent care clinic and an emergency room is that urgent cares are open during normal business hours, while ERs are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you’re having an emergency and have no other options, then the best thing is to go to a hospital. However, if the situation is not urgent enough, then it makes sense to visit an urgent care facility so that you can be seen as soon as possible.
Naz Kleiman is a ANCC board-certified Nurse Practitioner with over 13 years of nursing experience in trauma nursing, primary care, women’s health, urgent care, workmen’s comp, allergy testing and family medicine. She graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Walden University with Master of Science in Nursing.