Is it an Emergency?
Are you confused by the terms emergent, urgent and primary care? Wondering which one is right for you … and when you should go to the ER? Here’s a guide:
Life-Threatening? Go to the ER!
Examples of when a trip to the emergency department is absolutely essential include:
- Chest pain or other signs/symptoms of heart attack
- Paralysis or partial paralysis, difficulty speaking or seeing or other signs/symptoms of stroke
- Motor vehicle accidents or similar situation
- Any loss of limb, finger, toe, etc.
- High fever, difficulty breathing
- Thoughts of suicide or a desire to harm yourself or others
This is not a complete list, but should serve as a guide. Our recommendation is – if you’re not sure, go to the Emergency Department. Understand, though, that you may wait longer in the Emergency Department and the visit will cost you the most of the three options.
What about Urgent Care?
An urgent care facility is designed to treat common problems/complaints that usually aren’t life threatening. If you would usually go to your family doctor for the problem, urgent care is probably the right choice. This includes things like:
- Sore throat
- Sprains, strains
- Minor cuts, bruises
An urgent care visit usually costs less than an ER visit, but more than a visit to the doctor’s office. Many people are willing to pay the additional cost because they can be seen quickly, without the need for an appointment.
King’s Daughters Urgent Care centers maintain records of visits with our electronic medical records system, Epic, and information regarding your visit is accessible to your primary care provider if he/she is associated with KDMC.
What About my Family Doctor?
This is the best choice for ongoing care, physicals, management of chronic illnesses that don’t require a specialist, and so on. The primary care provider is interested in not just the reason for the current visit, but also your overall health and well-being. We advise everyone to establish with a primary care provider because that is the best care for the long run. Visits to a primary care provider are also the most affordable of all options.