When you feel unwell or have an accident that needs medical attention, you’ll likely have options of where to go to receive care. Two of the most common healthcare facilities are Urgent Care clinics and Emergency Rooms. Still, you are not alone if you’ve ever wondered whether you need to go to the ER or Urgent Care clinic.
Because both provide similar services, knowing which facility is the right choice can be confusing. Yet, knowing where to head when you need emergency care can save precious time and even help save a life.
At RapidCare Emergency Room we are an independent emergency room offering cutting edge ER technology on-site, staffed by caring ER doctors 24/7 even on holidays. We truly care about the many communities that we serve. For this reason, we hope to clarify the differences between an Urgent Care clinic and an Emergency Room. We hope to help guide you to know where to go depending on the circumstance to ensure your family’s safety and wellness. Find out where to go, Urgent Care vs. ER.
Severity of Your Health Problems
The first thing you must consider when choosing where to receive medical care, basically urgent care vs. ER, is how severe your symptoms are.
These facilities are suitable for mild to moderate symptoms. However, Urgent Care clinics cannot treat medical emergencies or potentially life-threatening symptoms.
An Emergency Room can handle all types of conditions, from mild to life-threatening. They have all the latest diagnostic equipment and an on-site laboratory to help doctors diagnose and treat your symptoms faster and more accurately.
Most clinics offer extended hours but are unavailable 24/7 and many are unavailable during holidays.
The best thing about an emergency room is that they are open 24/7 every day of the year. This means you always have the option to receive care when needed.
These clinics are not required to have a doctor present at all times. Typically, you will find a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or nurse treating patients. These healthcare providers can request basic lab tests and imaging to help them diagnose your condition but don’t have access to a full range of diagnostic equipment.
On the contrary, Emergency Rooms always have a licensed doctor on staff along with nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and physician assistants trained in delivering emergency care. Additionally, the team has quick access to cardiology, orthopedics, and neurology specialists. They also have complete imaging and laboratory resources at their disposal to help diagnose and deliver care.
Not all facilities have the ability to treat pediatric cases.
These facilities have the necessary equipment to treat patients of all ages, from infants to seniors.
Labs and Radiology
Most facilities have access to basic lab tests and imagining such as X-rays, but they don’t have access to advanced imaging technology such as CT-scans
ERs have complete clinical labs on site, ready to run a wide range of tests. They also have advanced imaging technologies such as digital X-rays, ultrasounds, and CT-Scans.
Many clinics cannot administer intravenous (IV) fluids or medications. This can be a severe drawback in cases of dehydration and when the patients require intravenous antibiotics or medications.
ERs have access to all necessary medications and ways to administer them. The list of drugs available at an ER includes heart rate and blood pressure, pain medications, antibiotics, blood products, medications to help with breathing, and IV fluids.
When to Go to an Urgent Care Clinic
You can visit an Urgent Care clinic when you have mild to moderate symptoms. However, if you believe your condition is severe or your life might be in danger, it’s better to head to the nearest Emergency Room.
Common reasons to visit an Urgent Care
Mild to moderate back or muscle pain
- Minor cuts and burns
- Mild to moderate diarrhea
- Urinary Tract infections
- Sore throat
- Mild to moderate sprains and strains
- Symptoms related to a cold or flu
When to Go to the ER
At Rapid Care Emergency Room, we are open 24/7/365 will take care of you and your loved ones in the event of a medical emergency. Seek immediate ER care should you experience any of the following:
- Pain or pressure in the chest area
- Head injuries
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden, severe headache, paralysis, or weakness on one side of the body
- Severe abdominal pain
- Loss of consciousness or sudden unexplained confusion
- Vomiting or coughing blood
- Broken bones
- Injuries stemming from a vehicle accident
- Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis)