If you've never visited an urgent care facility before, you may not know what to expect. An urgent care facility is different from visiting an emergency room because it's not a part of a hospital. As such, there are some significant differences that you may want to know about before visiting.
The following are five things you should be aware of:
You'll probably find a short term solution to your problem.
Visiting an urgent care facility may be sufficient to stabilize you if you're suffering from a medical situation that needs to be addressed immediately. For example, you can get emergency treatment for high blood sugar issues if you visit an urgent care facility.
However, it's important to understand that urgent care treatment is really only enough for immediate care. Many issues for which you might visit an urgent care facility will require follow up care with a primary care physician in order to be fully resolved.
It's more convenient for you to visit during the week rather than on the weekend.
If you have a situation that requires a visit to an urgent care facility, it's often helpful if you can choose a visit mid-week rather than on the weekend.
Urgent care facilities are typically busiest on the weekends when accidents are more likely to happen and when more people have time to stop by for medical care. If your work schedule and your health condition permit you to choose when you will visit, visit during the week. Weekdays are generally less busy and allow for faster attention from health care staff.
Urgent care is often more affordable than a visit to a hospital ER.
Urgent care facility visits tend to be significantly more affordable than visits to a hospital ER. If you're looking to save money on health care costs, you should definitely look into the urgent care option.
You'll most likely be treated by a nurse, nurse practitioner, or physician's assistant.
You're probably not going to be looked at by a medical doctor when you visit an urgent care facility. These facilities are primarily staffed by nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician's assistants. However, there are many urgent medical needs that a nurse or PA can handle and for which a medical doctor really isn't necessary.
Particularly severe emergency health problems may require an ER visit.
If you are experiencing a potentially life-threatening condition like severe head trauma or chest pain, an urgent care center may not be sufficient. If in doubt, head straight to the ER.