When you’re sick or injured, the last thing you want to do is spend time debating on if you should go to urgent care or the emergency room. Before you start your car, there are essential things you should know to decide if 24-hour urgent care or emergency hospitals are right for you. You may not think there is a difference, and that is why we’re here to help.
The Best Reasons To Go To Urgent Care
Typically the bill for urgent care is much less than the emergency room. That may be a great choice if you’re on a tight budget, but need to see a doctor. It is estimated that 51 percent of visits to these clinics were reimbursed by private insurance while 14 percent were for Medicare, and 10 percent for Medicaid (Becker’s Hospital Review). By going here, you will prevent excessive medical debt especially for a minor problem as nausea.
At the urgent care, you won’t have to worry about another patient getting to cut in front of you due to the severity of their condition. It is a first come, first served type of environment reducing the wait time for you. Generally, you can expect to wait in urgent care for about 30 minutes or less (Debt.org).
Minor Injuries or Illnesses
For conditions such as the flu or a small cut, you will be able to get care at your 24-hour urgent care. The facility specializes in common illnesses and minor injuries that don’t put your life in danger. They’re also good if the condition is common, but you still need to be treated by a doctor, and your provider is unavailable.
When The Emergency Room Is Appropriate
The Injury Is Life-Threatening
It is always important and recommended for you to go to the emergency room if the injury or illness has put your life at risk. You should immediately call 911 in these types of situations for immediate help. The case could get gradually or suddenly worse if there is a delay from the time your condition starts to when you decide to call 911 or drive to the emergency hospital.
What Is Urgent Care?
Urgent Care Clinics are expedient resources to seek treatment when you aren’t able to see your primary care doctor or if you don’t need to go to the hospital’s emergency room. When going to the urgent care, you can expect them to be able to handle a broad scope of ailments however their primary expertise is on acute medical problems you’re having.
You should go to an Urgent Care if You’re experiencing some of the following symptoms:
- Pink eye
- Ear Infection
- Sprains and Strains
- Allergic Reaction
- Back Pain
- Upper Respiratory Infection
However, this list is not exhaustive so you will be able to get treatment for even more conditions.
About Emergency Rooms
Emergency rooms are ideal for life-threatening medical issues that can arise at any second or over some time. You should only seek treatment for this kind of care if you indeed are in dire need because of the high expense and it can often be inefficient if you have a minor condition due to it detracting from other patients who need emergency care.
Here are everyday situations that indicate when you should go to the emergency room:
- Severe Bleeding
- Moderate to Severe Burns
- Difficulty in Breathing
- Convulsions or Seizures
- Loss of limb or Severe Broken Bone
- Chest Pain or Pressure
- Serious Head, Neck or Back Injury
If you have any of the following conditions, please call 911 right away for assistance or find the closest emergency room in your area.
Ultimately, you make the decision, but this guide should help make things clearer. If you still aren’t sure on what to do it is best to talk to someone like your health provider. They can go into more detail to explain when to go to an emergency room versus urgent care. If you happen to get them on the phone at the time of the trauma, then they can recommend a decision based on what you tell them. The most significant takeaway is to go to an emergency room if it is life-threatening and go to the urgent care if the condition is minor.