Although families located in urban and suburban areas can undoubtedly benefit from going to their closet urgent care locations for fast, effective treatment, people living in rural areas often need this option even more. With limited access to medical care choices due to distance and scarcity, urgent care centers can fill a huge void in treatment for many Americans.

Rural areas have a shortage of hospitalsAll across the nation, more than two dozen rural hospitals have shut down since 2013, and these numbers keep on climbing. Unfortunately, high operating costs may cause hospitals in these areas to struggle and eventually shutter. This leaves countless Americans without any hospital in close proximity. While this may not provide relief for true emergencies that require immediate treatment, there are many non-life-threatening situations that are treated by hospitals on a daily basis. In these situations, patients can bypass emergency centers and go to urgent care instead. Not only will this be more convenient and more appropriate, but it’s also much more affordable.

Getting to a family doctor’s office can be difficultWhen you live in a remote location, even going to your regular physician’s office for an appointment can be a burden. It might force you to miss work or school to drive long distances just to be seen by your doctor. And securing the actual appointment can be tough enough. For those who can’t wait to get an appointment or simply can’t afford to drive far away to receive care, urgent care centers provide immediate treatment options that are typically more centrally located (and more plentiful) than your average doctor’s office.

After-hours accidents and illnesses can be treatedIf your doctor’s office isn’t too far away, you might think you’ll be alright. But what if someone falls ill or gets hurt after your doctor’s office is closed for the day? This happens much more often than you might think. If the nearest hospital is several towns or hundreds of miles away, you may not be able to seek out immediate treatment there (if you can afford it, that is). After hours medical care is so essential, but many rural areas have no viable options for it. That’s where urgent care facilities come in. While not every clinic is open 24 hours a day, most are open into the evening hours. If you have to wait until after work to seek treatment or if an accident happens during the night, the staff at these facilities can still help your family right away.

While not every rural area has its own urgent care clinic, the growing popularity of these facilities means that they continue to expand to remote areas all across the country. If your family has difficulty getting to your physician’s office or your nearest hospital for treatment, you may want to consider looking into urgent care centers near you for non-emergency situations.