Should You Go to Urgent Care or the Emergency Room?

urgent care

Though it’s comforting to know emergency rooms and urgent care facilities are there if you need them, you hope you never do. But it’s good to understand their differences, so you can get treated as quickly as possible.

Emergency rooms must take patients with life-threatening illnesses and injuries first. So that means everyone waiting in the ER with a cold, fever or sprain has a longer wait. For faster assistance in Los Angeles County, anyone experiencing a non-life-threatening medical issue should visit PVHC’s urgent care facility instead of the emergency room. Our urgent care center fills a vital gap for people in need of non-life threatening medical attention.

Urgent care or the emergency room?

Here is an easy way to determine whether you should go to the emergency room or an urgent care facility: If you have a medical issue that is not life-threatening, but can’t wait until your doctor is available, then you should visit an urgent care facility. Emergency rooms should be reserved for life-threatening or other severe medical issues.

One important reason it’s important to use the emergency room sparingly is because the services tend to be very expensive. Emergency room visits are approximately 85 percent more per visit than urgent care.

Below is a list of medical issues that can be treated at an urgent care facility:

  • Mild abdominal pain
  • Cough and cold
  • Eye irritation
  • Fever
  • Flu symptoms
  • Mild asthma attacks or other breathing issues
  • Migraine
  • Minor broken bones
  • Sprains and strains
  • Sore throat
  • Tick bites
  • Rash
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration

Head to the emergency room for the following medical emergencies:

  • Eye injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Loss of balance/fainting
  • Newborn baby with fever
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Deep cuts that require stitches
  • Pregnancy-related problems
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Large open wound
  • Compound fracture (bone protrudes through skin)

Visit our urgent care in Pomona Valley when you need high-quality, compassionate care for any non-life-threatening medical problems that just can’t wait. Schedule your urgent care visit by calling 909-536-1493.

 

Emergency Room vs. Urgent Care

emergency room vs. urgent care

Access to medical assistance is crucial in times of emergency situations. It is important, however to understand the important differences between an urgent care center and a hospital emergency room — especially if you’re concerned about medical costs. Families, in particular, should keep these differences in mind if an emergency or urgent need comes up.

Choosing an emergency room or urgent care center

Emergency rooms are required by federal law to treat patients regardless of their ability to pay. This fact makes emergency rooms very attractive to those without health insurance or the ability to pay out-of-pocket expenses. Unfortunately, it places added strain on the resources and effectiveness needed to treat critically injured or ill patients. A National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey estimates that one-third to one-half of all ER visits are for non-urgent care.

In addition to cost, convenience is another key factor people often consider when deciding between emergency rooms and urgent care centers. People want medical treatment 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and emergency rooms accommodate that demand.

These key factors are two of the many reasons Americans spent over $3 trillion on healthcare in 2014. In fact, medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States. Most of these debt problems could be easily avoided if people understood when to visit a hospital emergency room and when to go to an urgent care center instead.

When to visit an urgent care center

Visit an urgent care center if you have a non-emergency condition like:

  • Eye irritation
  • Fever without rash
  • Migraine
  • Cold/cough
  • Mild asthma attacks
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Minor cuts and scrapes
  • Minor cuts that may require stitches
  • Sprain/strain injuries
  • Minor broken bones (toe, foot, finger)

Visiting an urgent care center for these conditions will likely save you both time and money.

When to visit a hospital emergency room

Visit a hospital emergency room if you have an extreme medical emergency like:

  • Eye injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Loss of balance/fainting
  • Newborn baby with fever
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Deep cuts that require stitches
  • Pregnancy-related problems
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Large open wound
  • Compound fracture (bone protrudes through skin)

A hospital emergency room will be far better equipped to handle these kinds of emergency situations.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you need emergency or urgent care to ensure you get the right kind of help you need. For more information about the urgent care and other services offered at Pomona Valley Health Centers, call (909) 536-1493 today.