It is a good idea for every adult to know where the nearest walk-in clinics are located. About 85% of urgent care facilities are open for business seven days a week. The same cannot be said of the average primary care physician’s office. It is important to understand what treatments are available at urgent care centers, as walk-in clinics are not the same as the emergency room at a hospital. Here are a few tips to prepare you for a trip to urgent care.
What Purpose Do Urgent Care Walk-in Clinics Serve?
Much to the public’s dismay, the average doctor’s office is not open seven days a week. Their office hours also have the bad habit of directly coinciding with working hours. This makes it difficult if not impossible for many people to see a doctor for something minor, such as a persistent cold.
What Types of Injuries Or Illnesses Does a Walk-in Clinic Treat?
Each urgent care center will have different policies, however there are some commonalities. For example, four out of five medical care facilities are able to treat fractures. This is fairly common, as it is estimated about 25,000 adults sprain an ankle every day.
Urgent care centers can diagnosis illnesses that have grown in severity but do not appear life-threatening. These might include the common cold, the flu, strep throat, and other upper respiratory conditions. The clinic is attractive because it offers walk-in capabilities without the long wait times associated with the emergency room.
Are the Wait Times Really That Much Better At Urgent Care Walk-in Clinics?
Most urgent care clinics keep a physician available during business hours. This is part of the reason why most clinics have a wait time of 15 minutes, with most patients having a complete turn-around time of less than an hour and a half. These faster processes are also aided by the limited services offered.
A shorter wait time is not the only benefit. Many urgent care facilities are open during hours the average doctor’s office is not. This includes weekends as mentioned above, but also earlier hours in the morning and later hours at night. More available hours makes it possible for working professionals to see to their health without missing work.
How Can I Be Prepared For a Visit to Urgent Care?
When going to a walk-in clinic, it is important to ensure that the facility is able to treat the problem you have. For example, while most clinics are able to treat fractures, not all have that ability. Failing to verify the treatments the clinic offers before your arrival could be a waste of your time.
Another important distinction is understanding the difference between an urgent medical concern and an emergency. An urgent condition is one in which a major organ or limb might be permanently damaged if care is not administered soon. An emergency is when a major organ might fail, a limb might be lost, or a fatality will occur if care is not promptly administered.
Walk-in clinics fill an important gap in the medical treatment map. While primary care physicians have an important role in the patient’s health maintenance, these physicians are not always available. The emergency room might be able to treat all major health problems, but the wait time can be long. A walk-in clinic offers the hours the average doctor’s office cannot, with the shorter wait times the ER cannot offer to patients. These facilities play an important role.