When to Visit an Urgent Care Walk In Clinic for Pediatric Care
April 17, 2017
An urgent care center is a walk in clinic that offers some of the benefits of both a regular doctor’s office and an emergency room. Urgent care is designed for situations that require immediate medical attention but aren’t life threatening enough to be worth a visit to the emergency room. They are most commonly utilized when access to a family doctor isn’t available for whatever reason.
Options for Medical Treatment: What is an Urgent Care Situation?
When it comes to medical care for acute injuries or illnesses, you have three basic options.
1. Family Doctor
Your family doctor is familiar with your family’s medical history, which can be beneficial if you’re managing any chronic health conditions. It makes sense to see your family doctor for minor illnesses or injuries long as you’re in the area and the problem occurs within office hours. If the incident happens after hours, however, you’ll need to visit an urgent care walk in clinic or the emergency room. The same goes for incidents that occur while you’re out of town.
2. The Emergency Room
The emergency room was designed for medical situations that could be serious or life threatening. This includes things like:
- Severely broken bones or dislocated joints.
- Head or spinal injuries.
- Chest discomfort or difficulty breathing.
- Severe allergic reactions.
- Cuts or wounds that are bleeding heavily.
- Any injury or state that causes a loss of consciousness.
If you think a situation could be life threatening or require immediate care, it’s better not to second guess yourself. However, the medical bill for an ER visit can be extremely expensive, and it’s always a good idea to consider whether urgent care could be a better option. It’s estimated that the average ER visit costs up to 10 times more than a trip to urgent care. Your insurance will likely cover this, but it’s still best to avoid the ER unless you’re sure it’s needed. On top of being costly, emergency rooms tend to be overcrowded, and you may experience long wait times.
3. Urgent Care
Most urgent care centers can treat minor cuts, scrapes, puncture wounds and burns. The same goes for mild broken bones. Any non-emergency illness or injury can be handled at urgent care.
Specialized Care for Kids: What is Pediatric Urgent Care?
Pediatricians are used to providing care to young people. Children have different medical concerns and are sometimes given completely different treatments than adults, so it’s important to choose an urgent care center that has a pediatrician on staff. Most centers are capable of providing immediate care to children, but those with a pediatric focus will do a better job of catering to the specific medical needs of your child.
A Guide for New Parents: When Should You Visit a Pediatric Urgent Care?
New parents have a lot to think about. It’s natural to be a little nervous, and it’s totally normal if your child getting sick or injured is one of your biggest fears. One way of calming your anxiety is to always have a plan in place.
1. Know What You’ll Do
You, your spouse or anyone else who helps care for your child should all be aware of a protocol that you decide on for illnesses or injuries. This way, you can relax while your child is in the care of babysitters or other family members. One method is to write down a list of medical situations that would require the ER versus an urgent care center. Keep the list in your home and make copies for anyone who cares for your child.
2. Locate the Pediatric Urgent Care and the ER
If you’re out of town or on vacation, you won’t have access to your family doctor, and you might not be familiar with the location of the closest ER. If an emergency did occur, not knowing the location of the hospital might make things even harder. You can avoid trouble by noting the name, phone number and location of emergency room and urgent care clinic that is closest to where you’ll be staying. Hopefully, you won’t need them, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
3. Talk to Your Family Doctor
If you are going to leave on a trip or just have concerns about what to do if your child becomes sick after hours, discuss the situation with your family doctor. It’s normal for new parents to have anxiety. Don’t be embarrassed about asking questions, especially if you child suffers from a chronic condition. There might be nuances of your situation that only your doctor can comment on.
For more information about urgent care, please contact us today.