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Is Going to Urgent Care like Going to the Emergency Room?

If you were to get sick, would you know whether to go to urgent care or to the emergency room? If you’re like most people, you probably think these facilities are the same or very similar. But there are key differences that you should know about so that you can make an informed decision before choosing an urgent care Charlotte. You want to be prepared for when you have an accident or an illness that requires medical attention.

If you need to see a doctor during regular business hours, then you can probably just contact your primary care physician. If it’s after hours, then you’ll need to make a decision about where to go. Both an urgent care and emergency clinic Charlotte NC serve a purpose that’s beneficial. You should first determine if it is appropriate to call 911. If the situation is less urgent, you will then ask yourself if your situation is severe enough to require a visit to the emergency room. The situation requires a self-assessment or the help of a loved one to determine the next steps.

A key benefit of using a minute clinic Charlotte NC facility is that they can serve in the same role as your primary doctor even though it’s a separate clinic. Since urgent care facilities are open during the evenings and on weekends, they can provide the kind of service that your regular doctor would have provided which may include care for a minor injury or illness, such as a cold or the flu. Urgent care is also where many parents find themselves after their child receives an injury while playing sports and ends up with a sprained ankle or a small cut that requires a few stitches. There was a time when urgent care facilities were limited and didn’t offer lab tests or have x-ray machines, but given the advancement of technology, a lot of urgent care facilities provide these services.

On the other hand, hospitals are fully equipped with not just lab testing and x-ray machines, but just about everything that you could possibly need to treat an injury or illness, regardless of how severe. Emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and they don’t close down on holidays. Unlike urgent care, emergency room services can include MRIs, CAT scans, ultrasounds and radiology labs, among many other diagnostic tests. Emergency rooms also have a multi-disciplinary team that can provide treatment for a variety of illnesses and injuries. Unlike an urgent care facility, emergency rooms offer beds for patients who need to be admitted for additional medical services.

Urgent care facilities are usually staffed by a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner. If you’re someone who gets impatient and doesn’t like to wait, then there’s a good chance that an emergency room might be the best choice for you. Urgent care facilities are not always sufficiently staffed where there’s a high volume of patients which means the wait can be very long. Even though emergency rooms are also notorious for long wait times, it’s not unheard of for someone to spend many hours waiting at an urgent care facility to be seen by a doctor.

This is all the more reason why your decision will be based upon the seriousness of your condition. Hospitals triage patients and give priority to those whose condition is more serious. For example, if you go to the emergency room for a broken finger, a heart attack patient will receive priority.

One key factor that will likely impact your decision about where to go is whether or not insurance covers urgent care and emergency room visits. Although the most important factor is the nature of your condition and whether it’s life-threatening, you might also need to consider the cost involved since some insurance plans will only cover a portion of the bill. These are the kinds of decisions that you might want to make in advance by reviewing your insurance policy so that you’ll know exactly where you need to go before an emergency happens.

Simply put, urgent care might be the best choice for minor issues because there’s a good chance that it will be cheaper than going to an emergency room. Just keep in mind that if you go to an urgent care facility and they don’t think they can assist you because your injury or illness is too severe, you’ll find yourself headed to the emergency room to get the care that you need.

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