Five Situations That Are Better for an Urgent Care Clinic Vs. the ER
In situations where an unexpected injury or illness takes place, particularly when a teenager or child is involved, it can be very tempting to head to the emergency room without a second thought. Of course, there are clear cases when the ER is exactly the place you need to be, including a seizure; chest pain; severe pain/swelling; changes in vision, mental status or ability to breathe; severe burns; deep lacerations; and head/eye injuries.
In the event that none of the previous ailments are present, there’s a good chance that the injury or illness you’re facing is a better fit for an urgent care center like Pacific Family Practice.
Here are five situations that are better for an urgent care clinic:
- Non-severe lacerations and burns
- Bone fractures (non-compound)
- Muscle sprains/strains
- High fever – including infections, the flu and colds
- Pink eye
The benefit of visiting urgent care clinics like Pacific Family Practice is that they often offer patients care after normal business hours. For example, our clinic is open until 8:00pm during the week and from 10:00am – 4:00pm on Saturdays. Another benefit is that trips to the ER can be very expensive, even when the treatment is ultimately fairly minor or straightforward. Total cost at an urgent care clinic can vary but is rarely matched by pricing at a hospital ER. Lastly, although waiting time in an urgent care center will depend on staff availability and total number of patients, the overall time is rarely comparable to the average time spent waiting to be seen in an ER, which starts around an hour.
How to prep for an urgent care situation
Urgent healthcare needs do not announce themselves ahead of time. They come when it’s most inconvenient, like when you’re already busy, stressed or lacking spare time. This is why it’s essential to be aware of your closest urgent care clinic and know its hours and whether it accepts your insurance. You don’t want to have to research urgent care clinics when a laceration has already occurred or you’re on day two of what might be the flu. Having this information on hand and ready to go will save you time and stress during what could be a difficult day.
If you have questions about our urgent care clinic and the services we provide, please contact Pacific Family Practice today. Scheduling an appointment is easy, but we welcome walk-ins as well.