Ideally, you should be able to make an appointment with your primary doctor whenever you need to. You should simply be able to call your doctor’s office, and he or she should be able to see you and provide treatment for whatever ails you within a few hours. However, many physicians often do not work during evenings, weekends, or holidays. As emergency rooms are crowded as a result of life-threatening emergencies, many individuals find they need after hours urgent care when they are faced with a non-life threatening issue during times when their primary care physician is not available.
The Importance of After Hours Medical Care
Medical emergencies and acute illnesses and injuries don’t often happen between regular working hours. More often than not, patients require after hours urgent care when most clinics are closed. They may also happen when your primary doctor is either busy with other appointments, out of town or otherwise unable to see you.
There are a couple of options available to you if you are faced with an acute illness or injury. The first option is often the emergency room. Although this is exactly what someone should do in a life-threatening medical emergency, it poses a major disadvantage. While you don’t need an appointment to go to an emergency room, but there’s no guarantee that somebody will be able to see you right away. Most of the time, you will have to wait in a lobby, sometimes for hours. The other option for after hours care is to visit an urgent care clinic.
Urgent Care Facilities Treat Non-Life Threatening Emergencies
Urgent care specializes in treating the kinds of acute medical problems that require immediate medical attention but don’t qualify as medical emergencies. An urgent care clinic can also be visited if one’s primary doctor is unavailable as the staff of such a facility is fully trained and equipped to offer a number of medical services and treatments. The staff can see most patients within a matter of minutes as opposed to hours. Urgent care clinics also have longer hours than most other medical facilities, so they are available even after regular hours.
It is important to remember that there are some medical treatments and procedures that urgent care facilities aren’t equipped to handle. They can treat acute injuries, such as individuals needing sutures or x-rays, but they rarely have the resources and facilities to perform surgical procedures. Urgent care is also not for life-threatening emergencies, those who require immediate attention to a life-threatening emergency, such as a heart attack must go to an emergency room.
Urgent care facilities have become far more common over the past several years, and there is most likely an urgent care clinic near you. Your primary doctor will be able to tell you where the nearest urgent care clinic is. If not, that information may also be readily available online or from the nearest hospital. Urgent care centers are also willing to work with a variety of insurance providers and are even affordable for those who do not have health insurance.