Urgent Care VS Emergency Care – Open on Holidays
When you or a loved one suddenly needs immediate medical attention during a holiday, you have to make a quick decision between Urgent Care and the ER. Both places offer 24/7 care that is readily available even in the absence of your doctor, but how do you settle for either choice? It becomes a dilemma especially during holidays when emergency rooms are notoriously trafficked and understaffed.
It is guaranteed that both urgent care and the ER will be a little busier during the non-holidays when more people are on the road, more eggnog is being consumed, and more nails are being struck. However, urgent care will be a better option if you want to get it, get out and basically pay less. Urgent care services are cheaper compared to the emergency room’s services owing to the ER’s expensive equipment and materials that are normally required to handle life-threatening emergencies. The expense is also incurred during the intensive tests, diagnosis, and treatments administered in the emergency room.
You should visit an urgent care facility if you are feeling confident that you are comfortable talking to your physician about your condition. However, it isn’t an easy decision to make that is why many medics will advise on the best choice to make during a holiday emergency.
It is advisable to visit your primary medical care doctor since they are already familiar with your medical history. If you are unable to see your regular doctor probably due to holiday absence, a visit to an urgent care center could turn convenient and cost-effective.
Urgent care centers handle moderate and foreseen medical issues that require attention within 24 hours but not necessarily an emergency. It could be a cut that requires stitching, fever, sore throat, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea or even worsening of a pre-existing condition such as blood pressure, asthma attacks, and high blood sugar levels. Non-serious injuries such as sprained ankles, back pains, non-threatening falls and accidents and simple fractures can be handled at the urgent care clinics.
An emergency places a patient’s life between life and death hence calling for immediate treatment of an injury or ailment. Such issues include head injuries, chest pains, unconsciousness, difficulty breathing, persistent bleeding, complex bone fractures, high degree burns or even ingestion of toxic substances. Also if a patient has intolerant pain from any part of the body, that is an emergency indicator that calls for immediate action. If you or your loved one experiences difficulty speaking, arm weakness or facial drooping, call for an emergency action via 911 since it could be a stroke attack. Dizziness, difficulty in moving your body or poor vision and even sudden confusion warrants an immediate call to 911.
If your intuition tells you that you need more than just normal medical care, check in at the nearest emergency room to get more attention to your needs. According to statistics, you will spend fewer hours at the urgent care center compared to the emergency rooms. Moreover, you are likely to spend an average cost of $2250 at the emergency room against $176 at the urgent care. The costs and time spent should not let you forego a serious injury treatment for the goodies.
On the other hand, while most urgent cares limit opening hours during holidays, mostly 8.00am to 3.00 pm on Christmas and Thanksgiving, most if not all emergency rooms are open 24/7 despite being a holiday. This factor should also come into consideration when choosing between visiting an emergency room or an urgent care center.
Urgent care centers offer the best convenience especially during where you don’t want to miss grandma’s Thanksgiving turkey or grandpa’s Christmas barbecued chicken. Urgent care centers give you the option of check-in online from home or church where you can book your spot in the wait queue. Emergency rooms handle injuries and ailments with the order of severity. If you have a cough, you will probably wait for like forever.
You could also prevent the holiday emergencies by not overdoing the eating and drinking. Stick to your healthy eating routines especially if you have diabetes or you have a heart condition. Be careful when hanging the mistletoe. Falling off the ladder could lead to broken bones. You could also plan ahead with your medic to have your prescriptions filled in before the holiday kicks in or even a quick checkup to determine if you are good to go for a vacation. It is also a good time to settle any issues that you feel may disrupt during the holiday. You may also need to save a few more optional medical contacts such as Frontline ER in the case where your health care providers will be unavailable.
Holidays are meant to be fun, and the best measure is always preventive. However, if an emergency kicks in, the above guidelines will help you decide on where to rush.