Urgent care facilities are centers that have grown in popularity as a result of the growing population of individuals who need health care, but cannot afford to pay. While emergency rooms attend to serious conditions and injuries, urgent care centers seek to treat minor issues such as, x-rays, sprains, and vaccines. These centers are necessary because physicians are not always present to deal with serious, but non-life threatening situations. This is especially true if the patient is seeking after hours care.
Conditions that deserve the attention of after hours care centers include falls, difficulties breathing, cuts and burns, fevers, sore throat and more. These are ailments that can be treated for half the cost of which one might incur in an emergency room. Heart conditions, immunizations, and chronic illnesses should be taken to the ER, and should not be assumed to be urgent care related.
Benefits of Urgent Care
Urgent care centers have taken pressure and volume from those waiting to receive care at emergency rooms. In the past, there were many individuals waiting for ER care for both serious and non-life threatening cases. This resulted in a delay for those who needed to see a physician as a result of a life-threatening injury, and may have made their condition worse.
Since conditions being treated at urgent care centers are not serious, the cost is not as high for the patient. These centers are usually staffed by nurses and physician assistants who do not charge the fees owed to the average physician. This serves to keep medical treatments affordable and to treat only those who suffer minor injuries.
After Hours Care
Many doctor offices operate standard hours of 9AM to 5PM. Any treatment or attention that the patient requires outside of these hours can be given by an urgent care center which typically treats patients 24 hours a day. In the event that a patient injures themselves or become ill after hours when their primary physician is closed for the day, they may visit an urgent care center after hours if the condition is not too serious.
Equipped with More Locations
Whereas most cities have only hospitals for residents, urgent care centers are usually plenty in number due in part to the low operating costs. It is easier for individuals to arrive at urgent care centers than large hospitals that are typically located within a city center. People who cannot drive, or are paralyzed need to be able to get medical care, which is why urgent care centers are frequented as they are dispersed evenly in cities.
Physicians often require that patients make an appointment weeks in advance in order to receive specialized services. With urgent care, patients can walk in anytime they feel unwell and still be able to receive treatment. This prevents an ailment from progressing into a serious condition.
Other services provided at urgent care centers include lab work, IVs, treating sutures and lacerations, and escalating care to other medical centers, if the patient is found to have a serious condition. For minor injuries and illnesses, patients should seek the treatment of urgent care facilities for after hours and timely care.