Monday, 27 February 2012

Urgent Care: Understanding What It Means To You

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Not many years ago, people would have no idea what you meant if you mentioned an "urgent care clinic". They would figure you were just using a weird term for the emergency room. Of course, now these clinics are ubiquitous. Few communities, large or small, don't have at least a few of them within driving distance. But what are they and how do they differ from the hospital? As far as the terminology goes, these clinics are designed to treat injuries and illnesses that are not serious enough for the ER, but too serious to wait week for a doctor's appointment. Considering how many incidents can fall into this category, it's hardly a wonder why these clinics have thrived.


What is an urgent care clinic, in terms of who is providing the services? Generally speaking, they are comprised of the same medical professionals you would find at the hospital. Family doctors, nurses, physicians' assistants, and specialists have all been known to take a job at one of these facilities. In almost all cases, these clinics are privately owned and operated, though they must of course abide by strict medical regulations as set forth by state law. Studies have found that -- for the type of services they provide -- patients often receive a much higher level of care than they would have received at the ER, and for a largely reduced cost.


There are a number of reasons to choose an urgent care clinic instead of the emergency room. If you've ever been to the ER, you already know that it's a place you want to avoid if at all possible. They provide a valuable service and there is no substitute for the ER if you are facing a life-threatening emergency. But they are not a place you want to go when you have a cold or a sprained ankle. The wait can be immense, especially for one of these less serious conditions. ERs don't work on a first-come, first-served basis so much as a most serious to least serious system. Someone who just needs some butterfly stitches could be waiting a long time.

Choosing Where to Go

Many people struggle with whether they should go to the ER or an urgent care clinic. It's relatively easy to tell the difference, however. If you would have called 911 if you didn't have a ride to the hospital, you should probably go to the ER. It's the right place for any condition that could potentially be life threatening. This includes situations where you simply don't know how things might progress. For situations that are well in hand like colds, minor injuries (sprains and controlled cuts), and minor allergic reactions, the clinic will be your best choice.

Morris IL urgent care takes care of patients promptly and efficiently. For knowledgeable and friendly medical professionals near you, go to

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