Urgent care facilities are designed to handle a wide variety of emergencies that are not considered to be traumatic, life-threatening, or that have the potential to be life threatening. Most urgent care centers are set up to handle the cases that need immediate care after a doctor's normal business hours. These include cases that involve, high fevers, dehydration, possible broken bones, concussions, and any other type of injury or illness that requires emergency attention. Urgent care centers will often pick up the overflow of an emergency room if there is a serious accident that involves multiple injuries and the ER is full.
An urgent care facility will direct a patient to an emergency room if they have a traumatic injury, such as internal injuries, life-threatening injuries that involve head trauma, and other serious conditions that may result in loss of life if the appropriate measures are not taken. While urgent care facilities are capable of handling many different types of cases, the staff may not have the knowledge and expertise of a highly skilled trauma team. They will also not have access to certain types of equipment that may be needed in life-threatening situations. If there is ever a question as to whether or not an injury or illness is life threatening, opt for the emergency room as the safest option.
Parents of small children who are running a high fever or have fallen and received a non-life threatening injury are ideal candidates for urgent care. Athletes who have been injured at a sporting event will also benefit from urgent care. Urgent care practitioners can treat many patients in a much shorter amount of time than many emergency rooms. While emergency rooms can take several hours handling one trauma case, an urgent care doctor can see several patients and reduce their waiting time by as much as half. Urgent care doctors are also able to handle severe and chronic illnesses.
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