An urgent care center is where you go when you have a minor medical issue. This could be getting your shots or vaccinations or doing some blood work. Urgent care centers are also called “immediate care centers.” They are convenient and easily accessible. To learn more about them, visit them at afcurgentcare.com.
Sometimes you may need quick medical attention outside your doctor’s regular working hours. This is when visiting an urgent care center makes sense. If you don’t have a primary care doctor, it is also advisable to seek medical attention at an immediate care center. These centers are also ideal if you have a medical condition that’s not a life-threatening emergency; instead of going to the emergency room, you can visit one of these facilities.
It’s crucial to remember that urgent care facilities are not the same as emergency rooms. This is because they don’t usually handle life-threatening conditions. For example, if you develop a diabetic coma, it’s inadvisable to go to an urgent care center. In such cases, an emergency room of a hospital is the ideal place to visit.
Before visiting an immediate care center, keep the following things in mind:
- Checking In Online is an Option
The vast majority f urgent care centers are walk-in facilities. You can go and expect to see a healthcare professional without making an appointment. The drawback is that how quickly you get to see a doctor will depend on the number of people you find in the waiting area. For instance, if you find 20 people in the queue, it could take hours before seeing a doctor. Some allow appointments. In such cases, it’s best to make an online appointment, thereby saving you the inconvenience of going there and waiting for hours before seeing the doctor.
- Know What to Bring With You
Because you’re not a regular patient, the urgent care center will not have a record of you. This means that you must bring all the necessary documentation when you visit, starting with a picture ID. This is useful for identification purposes. Make sure to bring your medical records. This ensures that you get expedited services instead of the attending physicians having to collate your medical history. It helps if you have your primary doctor’s contact information on hand if they need to be reached for any inquiries. If you’re bringing a minor to the center, ensure parental authorization to avoid legal issues.
- Know About the Best Time to Go
Because most people visit urgent care centers outside their doctor’s regular working hours, these centers will be crowded during such times. These include weekends, nights, and public holidays. This isn’t good news if you need to see a doctor right away. The more people you find at the center, the longer it’ll take to see a doctor. Call ahead if you can and ascertain the estimated time it will take before you can be attended to. This will save you time and inconvenience.
- Find the Ideal Urgent Care Center for Your Needs
It’s crucial to remember that some urgent care centers may focus on addressing specific medical issues. For example, an immediate care center may deal most with pediatric issues, making them an ideal facility for your kids should you need to take them there. If the facility focuses mainly on orthopedic cases (bone issues), then it makes sense to visit such a facility if you suspect you’ve got a fracture or dislocation. Also, ensure that this facility will accept your insurance plan. This helps you reduce your out-of-pocket costs.
- Know That You May Not See a Doctor
Nurse practitioners and physician assistants run many urgent care centers. While they may have doctors on their staff, those doctors may not be available every time. Of course, nurse practitioners and physician assistants can diagnose and prescribe treatment for various medical issues. They can also recommend follow-up treatment with your regular doctor.
- Don’t Visit an Urgent Care Center for a Life-Threatening Medical Condition
Your local urgent care center is there to handle simple cases that don’t immediately threaten your life. These can include urinary tract infections, minor burns, non-life-threatening allergic reactions, bruises and sprains, simple fractures, etc.
Never go to these facilities if you have severe medical conditions like:
i)Uncontrolled severe bleeding
iii) Chest pain and difficulty breathing
- iv) Slurred speech, drooping face, loss of balance, or any symptom that may hint at a severe stroke or neurological problem.
- v) Confusion or unconsciousness
Overall, know what your local urgent care facility can handle before going there. This will save you precious time, potentially saving your life.