Urgent Care vs Emergency Room: March 21, 2017
When you’re not feeling well, health experts say, don’t delay treatment. Call your primary care physician and book an appointment.
Debra Hanna, an ambulatory care registered nurse with Lee Health, says your primary physician should be the first call when you’re not feeling well. But if the symptoms come on suddenly, or if it’s after hours at your primary physician’s office, Hanna says it’s time to find an urgent care facility. “We would like patients to use convenient care for things that might not be appropriate for the emergency room, so something like a cold, the flu.”
All convenient care facilities are equipped with laboratory services, x-rays, and physicians that are even available on weekends. Patients experiencing things like an ear infection or sore throat should go to convenient care instead of the emergency room. “If it’s a life threatening emergency or a very serious illness you’re going to go to the emergency room,” said Hanna.
If a patient goes to urgent care, health experts can assess them when they arrive to determine if they need to be moved to the hospital. “That happens quite a bit, actually. It’s ok because they will make the decision on whether you need to be transferred to the emergency room,” said Hanna.
If patients aren’t sure where they should go they can call one of the locations and ask. “We have a triage nurses who can kind of assess where the patient needs to go. Ask them whether it’s appropriate for Convenient Care or the emergency room,” said Hanna.
If you’re experiencing symptoms make sure you seek medical help by your physician, urgent care clinic, or hospital to get the help you need.