What’s the Difference between Emergency Rooms and Urgent Care Facilities?

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Did you know that there’s an alternative to emergency rooms? Urgent care facilities are a kind of walk-in clinic that focuses on delivering ambulatory urgent medical care in a dedicated facility. Although these emergency room alternatives treat injuries or illnesses requiring immediate attention, they’re not substitutions for emergency medical care. An urgent care facility is there for the times when you need to see a doctor, but your life doesn’t hang in the balance.

This alternative to emergency room care was designed to help relieve some of the pressure placed on emergency rooms by cases that don’t necessarily warrant their attention. Because of the sheer volume of patients, doctors don’t get to spend enough time with patients, and wait times are extraordinarily high. As an alternative to emergency rooms and all these issues, and as a way to help solve them, urgent care facilities were built.

The problem that many have is being able to tell when they need an ER and when they need an urgent care facility. As mentioned, urgent medical cases are those that aren’t emergencies, but still need treatment within 24 hours. Urgent medical cases include: mild to moderate asthma, severely sore throat, dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting, high fever, lacerations requiring a few stitches, abdominal pain, back problems, sprains, minor broken bones, accidents, and falls.

On the other hand, emergency medical cases include: difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, severe/uncontrollable bleeding, poisoning, chest pressure, moderate to severe burns, seizures, convulsions, serious head, neck or back injury, loss of limbs, or compound bone fractures.

It should also be noted that urgent care facilities are also much more affordable than emergency rooms. The alternative to emergency room service can cost only a fraction of what an ER would cost because urgent care clinics don’t have to pay for all of the supportive staff and equipment that ERs have. The difference in cost can be as much as $800, according to Fair Health.

This alternative to emergency room addresses the gray area of injuries–those that aren’t so serious, but still need a doctor’s attention. If you have any questions about this alternative to emergency rooms, feel free to ask in the comments. Visit here for more.

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