Picture this. It is past midnight, and your child is wheezing. You know this difficulty breathing is their asthma flaring up. Where do you take him for emergency care at this hour?
In this article, you’ll understand what emergency medical treatment is all about. Then, you’ll learn the difference between these two vital services. Do you have to select one? Or can you access both at the same time?
Understanding Emergency Medical Care
An urgent care facility and an emergency room are a must function in medical treatment. Indeed, the conditions of such practice are unique.
First, patients arrive with life-threatening illnesses or wounds that need prompt care. An emergency doctor has to think on their toes the best way to treat the patient. The physicians follow a strict protocol that upholds life and ethical behavior.
Second, patients come to the emergency unit when they are in critical condition. Hence, they are unable to decide on their health. Getting informed consent from such patients becomes a challenge.
Third, the patient may be coming for emergency care for the first time. Hence, there is no prior patient-doctor relationship. Often, the patient may not want to be there in the first place.
Fourth, urgent care and emergency room facilities run under a larger health institution. Also, emergency doctors don’t work alone. They rely on other doctors, ER technicians, nurses, and health care professionals. So, they follow the code of conduct of the larger institution.
Emergency doctors have a moral duty to the community beyond their facility’s setting. They must respond to calls to save lives beyond their working area.
Emergency doctors know disaster management, CPR, injury control, and general public health firsthand. They hold essential data on pre-hospital care. So, they are trustworthy support for the communities around them.
These are the conditions surrounding emergency care. To offer quality care, the emergency doctor follows strict protocols. These rules are to uphold life and ethical behavior in the profession. Besides, a new patient has to trust the doctor’s judgment.
With this understanding, what determines where you will get your medical treatment? Will it be urgent care or emergency room?
When Do You Need Urgent Care?
An urgent care center manages non-emergency medical treatment. It is your go-to after-hours medical care center.
Visit the center when you have chest pains, sprains, fractures, lacerations, or even flu or cold. Hence, a typical urgent care center opens as early as 7 am and closest as late as 8 pm.
Second, patients wait for less than 30 minutes to see a doctor, with a typical visit to an urgent care center lasting for about an hour. You don’t have to schedule an appointment or queue for services.
Others use an online pre-registration that you can use to relay info about your condition. That way, the doctors will expect your health care needs.
Third, these facilities accept most major insurance plans. Most of these centers are in convenient locations like shopping centers and plazas. Finally, urgent care is an affordable option in comparison to the ER.
Will You Emergency Room Care?
Emergency rooms handle all emergency health problems. These include difficulty breathing, profuse bleeding, and head trauma. Note that, the medical ailments and injuries under urgent care and ER are similar. But they differ in severity.
A life-threatening condition has to go to the ER right away. But, if the ailment is minor, its best to take advantage of the lower cost charged by an urgent care center. So, should you go to an urgent care center or an emergency room for your medical treatment?
How About You Embrace a Convenient Care Model?
A hybrid emergency care model has both urgent care and ER. Such a plan is to the patient’s advantage. It offers a convenient quality and cost effective ER alternative to the patient.
So, why choose one when you can access both services in one visit. Find out if there is a facility offering a suitable and convenient care model near you.