Every day, many Americans young and old get hurt or ill, and they are going to need professional medical attention at once. For serious or even life-threatening cases, the victim needs to get to a hospital for emergency care. But for minor medical cases, walk in clinic are much more practical, and there are many of them. So, when a victim needs help, a nearby person can look up local hospitals or emergency clinics with a mobile device and get the name and address of local sites. Or in other cases, it is best to find urgent care centers and note their location, address, and hours of operation. Some urgent care centers are open 24 hours a day, but others are not. So, if the patient needs help at an odd time of day, then a person should specify “24 hour urgent care” when they look online. Also, some medical facilities actually offer both urgent and emergency care side by side, helpful for when it’s not clear what level of care a patient will need.

Going to the Hospital for Emergency Care

Emergency care services are essential for victims in dire condition, and the doctors and physicians at these hospitals or emergency clinics can stabilize a patient to save their life. A patient will need this level of care if they have suffered a broken arm or leg, for example, or if they have experienced a head wound or an eyeball wound. The same is true for bullet wounds or stab wounds, which may be bleeding heavily and certainly call for a hospital visit. Chest pain or difficulty breathing also merit a visit to the hospital, as these conditions may soon turn life-threatening (if they are not so already). A recent heart attack or stroke will also require emergency medical attention, but what about abdominal pain? Most cases of abdominal pain are actually not serious, but if that pain is severe, sudden, and/or long lasting, then emergency medical attention is a must. That pain’s underlying cause might be something serious such as cancer of internal bleeding.

As mentioned earlier, not all medical cases call for emergency aid or a hospital’s ER. Minor medical cases are usually not worth the time and expense of visiting the ER, and it is estimated that around 40-65% of ER episodes could have been handled at an urgent care clinic instead. In fact, urgent care clinic are known as “convenient care” since they are much faster and cheaper than emergency care. Only about 3% of urgent care patients are diverted to emergency services.

Getting Convenient Care

The field of urgent care is a fairly young one, but it is rapidly growing and has proven highly popular. Over 2,500 urgent care centers and walk in clinics can be found across the United States today, and these are typically independent and small facilities that are staffed with nurse practitioners and physicians. Sometimes, these clinics may form local networks with one another, and many of them accept a variety of healthcare insurance policies. These clinics provide convenient care since they are fairly affordable and quick, and a clinic that is running smoothly may see three patients per hour. As for where to find them, many walk in clinics are found in strip malls, though some can also be found in large retailers such as Target or Walgreen’s (these are known as retail clinics). Some urgent care clinics are found in hospitals, and they provide distinct care and different staff than the hospital itself. A guest there can ignore the hospital itself and focus on getting urgent care treatment done.

Most urgent care centers have a pharmacy in them, especially retail clinics, where a guest may visit and get a prescription drug refill. During influenza season, meanwhile, patients at a clinic can get medicinal relief from the common cold and flu, and the nurses on staff can always provide lotion and ointment for sunburn and skin rash cases. The nurses on staff can also provide stitches and bandages for shallow cuts, and they can also provide treatment for wrist and ankle sprains (these are common injuries). Four in every five urgent care centers can also provide care for bone fractures.