The emergency room works under a triage process, taking only the most at-risk patients first. If you do not have life-threatening injuries and are in stable condition, you will likely have to wait the longest. Luckily, urgent care facilities are specifically designed to treat patients’ non-threatening injuries and symptoms promptly.
However, judging which healthcare facility is the best choice for your needs can be challenging. Follow this guide to know where and when to go to primary care, urgent care or the emergency room.
Urgent Care Providers
An urgent care provider is just as qualified as a primary care provider, with similar educational backgrounds and training — including a bachelor’s degree, medical school and board certifications. However, an urgent care provider provides medical advice or care to patients in a walk-in clinic instead of a doctor’s office or hospital.
Primary Care, Urgent Care and the Emergency Room — Where to Go
We have provided a comprehensive list of information below to help you determine proper care, from scheduling an appointment to receiving more immediate forms of treatment.
In primary care offices, patients will make an appointment with their physician, who will continue to monitor their ongoing medical needs. These needs could include diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, asthma, mental health conditions and other conditions that require routine visits.
Primary care physicians will also provide ongoing medication refills or adjustments because of their extensive knowledge of your health history. Further medical examinations are common — like lab work or diagnostic radiology — and referrals to specialty offices are possible.
Urgent care is a mixture between primary care and emergency room treatments. Patients often go to urgent care when an appointment with their primary physician is unavailable. Urgent care clinics work on a walk-in basis and treat patients with non-threatening illnesses, injuries or conditions. These include:
- Minor illnesses like sinusitis, fever, sore throats, colds, headaches, earaches or bronchitis.
- Urinary complications, like UTIs.
- Allergic reactions to bee stings, insect bites and more.
- Skin conditions like acne, abscesses or rashes.
- Minor injuries such as burns, lacerations, sprains, fractures or strains.
The Emergency Room
Emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. These facilities operate on a triage system like the one below:
- Level one: Patient suffers from life-threatening conditions, is unresponsive or unconscious and may require resuscitation.
- Level two: Patient shows signs of distress or symptoms that could develop into a life-threatening condition and requires monitoring.
- Level three: Patient is stable but has multiple needs that require resources and monitoring.
- Level four: Patient is stable but with injuries requiring medical attention.
- Level five: Patient has non-threatening symptoms, is stable and does not require immediate attention.
If you or a loved one fall into level one or two, immediately head to your nearest emergency room. High-priority needs such as the following will be addressed as soon as possible:
- Car accidents
- Bone fractures
- Severe burns
- Severe trauma to the head
- Chest pain
- Stroke symptoms
- Uncontrollable bleeding
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
Skip the Wait at Modern Urgent Care
Modern Urgent Care has locations in Stockton, Manteca and Ceres, California, and is here to help whenever you need us. Book your appointment to reserve your place in line or walk into a clinic near you today!