When your child is ill or injured, you might typically visit either your family doctor or the emergency room of your local hospital. In many cases, you'll simply make a judgment call about which avenue of care to take based on the severity of the illness or injury. You might not always consider an urgent care center, but the good news is that these clinics are present in many communities and serve as a valuable resource for issues that aren't extremely serious, but that should also be treated promptly. If you haven't previously sought urgent care for your child, here are some handy things to know.
They Can Handle A Wide Range Of Medical Issues
A big advantage to visiting an urgent care center is that the doctors and nurses can handle a wide range of medical issues. Unlike your family doctor, who may send you to see a specialist, you can often find a medical professional in the urgent care environment who is specifically trained in whatever problem you're dealing with this. This means that whether your child has a cut that needs stitches, a burn that needs first aid, has painful illness symptoms, or has broken a bone, you can rely on your local urgent care center.
They Aren't Open 24 Hours A Day
Hospital emergency departments are open 24 hours a day, while your family doctor's clinic is likely staffed during normal business hours — for example, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The hours for urgent care clinics fall somewhere in between — they often are open longer than your doctor's office, but they aren't open around the clock. It's worthwhile to check your local urgent care center's website before you plan to visit. Many urgent care centers are open first thing in the morning and may be open until 10 p.m. or midnight, for example. As with an emergency room, you don't need an appointment to visit.
Ambulance Services Might Not Visit
It's worthwhile to check with your local ambulance service to determine where it takes its patients. In many cases, you'll find that ambulances visit hospital emergency departments but not urgent care centers. This is because someone who needs transfer by ambulance may be in a critical situation. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be able to more accurately decide how to proceed when your child is ill or injured. For example, if you're OK to get driven for help by a family member, heading to the local urgent care clinic is likely the right move.
For more information, contact an urgent care facility like Emergency Care Dynamics near you.
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