The Benefits of Urgent Care
When you come down with an illness or suffer an injury, you want to feel better right away. But what happens when you get hurt over the weekend, or if you come down with a stomach virus in the middle of the night?
Chances are your primary care physician (PCP) isn’t available during these off-hours – so what do you do?
“If your PCP is unavailable, patients should go to urgent care if their problem is not life-threatening,” says Dr. Owen Prentice, an emergency medicine physician with Kauai Medical Clinic’s Urgent Care team.
“We will do our best to help you right on the spot. If we can’t, we’ll get you to the appropriate doctor or place of care ASAP,” Prentice states.
Many people think the first place they should go in these types of situations is the hospital Emergency Department, but Prentice explains that the ED is reserved for just that – emergencies.
“The ED is best for potentially life-threatening illnesses, very bad infections, severe injuries, accidents or falls – situations that might involve ambulance transport. It is not the place to go for common illnesses or minor injuries,” he says.
Some benefits of urgent care include shorter wait times, much less testing, and more economical and quicker delivery of prescriptions.
“Urgent care is great because the wait time is fairly reasonable, usually less than 60 minutes,” Prentice says. “Additionally, the cost of urgent care is lower, as the care requires less testing.”
Urgent care physicians and staff are trained to handle an enormously wide variety of illnesses and issues, from colds, flu and UTIs, to minor aches and pains, cuts, scrapes, bruises and even minor broken bones.
“Many people are unaware that our urgent care clinic has a full-service lab during normal business hours and offers services such as X-rays, EKGs, fracture splinting, ear wax removal and treatment for minor eye care issues,” Prentice says.
However, Prentice advises patients to call 911 or go to the hospital Emergency Department for the following symptoms or conditions:
- Serious chest or abdominal pain.
- Severe shortness of breath.
- Post-surgical complications.
- Issues related to pregnancy.
“These are better handled by the Emergency Department in consultation with various hospital specialists,” Prentice states.
Click here to locate the urgent care clinic closest to you.
Published on: January 25, 2017