Urgent care clinics deal with medical conditions that are not life-threatening. Patients can also access other medical services like vaccination and lab work from urgent care clinics. Emergency rooms are specifically tailored to handle life-threatening medical conditions like heart attacks, poisoning, fatal wounds, etc.
So, if you or a loved one aren’t suffering from a life-threatening medical condition, visit an urgent care clinic instead of an emergency room.
However, before making your visit, here are things that every patient must know before visiting an urgent care clinic.
Check Whether The Urgent Care Clinic Fulfills Your Needs
The internet is an excellent place to search for an urgent care clinic. An online search will help you find an urgent care clinic close to your location. You will also be able to familiarize yourself with their operating hours.
You can also check whether the clinic specializes in offering the type of healthcare you need. For example, if your child requires medical care, look for pediatric clinics.
If you’re on health insurance, look for clinics that accept your insurance plan; this will help in reducing your out-of-pocket costs.
Make An Online Check-In If Possible
The majority of the urgent care clinics are walk-in centers; therefore, you aren’t required to make an appointment to see a healthcare professional. So, if there are many patients ahead of you, you should expect a long wait time. And it’s for this reason that a good number of urgent care clinics don’t allow appointments.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t shorten your wait time. If there are no appointments, check if your clinic allows online check-ins. If your clinic offers online check-ins, go ahead and offer your details so that the clinic’s staff can prepare for your visit. Using this process, you can reserve a spot in the line, and you’ll see a physician sooner since your wait time will begin before you arrive at the clinic.
Alternatively, you can call the clinic to see if they can provide you with a specific time slot to visit the clinic.
Understand What You Should Bring During Your Visit At The Urgent Care Clinic
If you’re visiting an urgent care clinic for the first time, it’s obvious that they won’t have any of your medical records. Therefore, it’s up to you to provide this information during your visit.
Carry your recent medical records, health insurance information, and a list of any vaccinations or diagnoses that you believe are relevant. It would also be best if you brought along the contact information of your primary physician or your child’s pediatrician.
Remember to present parental consent if you’re bringing a minor who isn’t under your guardianship. Don’t forget to carry your ID since it will prove your identity.
Be Prepared You May Not Be Treated By A Doctor
A visit to the urgent care center doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see a doctor. Physician assistants and nurses in urgent care centers have the necessary experience to handle the medical issues they regularly encounter in the clinic. Therefore, they can diagnose and prescribe treatment. And if they need to, they will consult with the doctors working in the center.
Urgent Care Centers Aren’t Emergency Rooms (ER)
Urgent care centers don’t have the resources and specialists that ERs have to deal with life-threatening medical conditions. Every minute counts in life-threatening situations like heart attacks, gun wounds, and fatal accidents. Therefore, if you or a loved one shows signs of a life-threatening condition, head to the ER or call 911 immediately. Below is a list of medical conditions that require the care of an emergency room specialist.
- Difficulty breathing
- Endless vomiting or bleeding
- Heart attack or stroke symptoms
- Multiple, back, or head injuries
- Drug overdoses
- Severe pain
The Best Time To Visit Is During Midday
If you believe your medical condition can wait until the next day, the best time to visit an urgent care clinic is midday. Most patients go for urgent care either before or after work. Therefore, wait times are usually longer early in the morning or right before dinner due to the long lines. So, if you visit an urgent care clinic during the late morning or early morning, you will be more likely to avoid the long lines.
If you don’t need emergency medical treatment, you should visit an urgent care clinic. However, you must find the right urgent care provider to provide the best care for your needs. For further information on the type of medical services we provide, visit our website or call us now.