It can be difficult to think clearly when you are facing a severe medical issue. Between pain and worry, it is challenging to know what to do and what resources are the best option for your situation.
The emergency room is understandably expensive. There is a long list of staff, and all of them need to be prepared no matter who comes through the door. In some cases, urgent care can be a cost-saving alternative, but how do you know which one is the best fit?
Here’s what you should think about when you are deciding between going to urgent care and the emergency room.
First, look at the clock
The emergency room (also called the “emergency department” at some hospitals) is open all day every day. Urgent care, on the other hand, typically has set hours.
Urgent care is often open later than a traditional doctor’s office but will eventually close for the night.
Where does it hurt?
The staff and equipment in the emergency room can handle anything and everything. While some hospitals have different levels of care, for the most part, you can find someone skilled in the type of medicine you need when you go to the hospital.
When you are considering going to urgent care, remember that the medical personnel are typically not specialists. If you are unsure whether the urgent care near you can handle your situation, call ahead and ask.
If you have a severe emergency, such as trouble breathing or chest pain, go straight to the emergency room. In general, when it is a very urgent matter, the emergency room will help you get the help you need right away.
Urgent care centers can handle a variety of minor medical issues that are important, but not life-threatening at a lower cost than hospitals. Remember, if you have a life-threatening emergency, call an ambulance or go straight to the emergency room.