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You’ve been doing some work around the home and you’ve managed to hit your thumb hard with a hammer. Ouch! It is difficult to bear the pain and you are also concerned that you might have done some serious damage. The extent of the injury means a regular band-aid or even your home first-aid kit is not up to the job. You should really get some medical assistance from a nurse or a doctor.
Your regular doctor is not available, though, and it could be days before you can make an appointment. This will often rule that option out. The other option is to go to an emergency room, but it might seem a bit excessive for your injury. After all, you might be in pain but it is hardly a life-threatening injury. An emergency room is also not a pleasant place to be. There may well also be other people there that are in far more urgent need of help than you are. Regardless, you are in the position where you just have to wait for an appointment with your doctor, go to the emergency room or grin and bear it. Or is there another option available to you?
Fortunately, there is a 3rd option which rests nicely in between the other two. Urgent care clinics provide a service for people that can’t wait around to be seen by their regular doctor but don’t have life-threatening conditions. In the case of somebody that has hit their thumb with a hammer, an urgent care clinic makes the perfect compromise. They are convenient, usually closer to home and will not be putting a strain on doctors dealing with urgent cases. The clinic is also staffed by fully qualified doctors and nurses and they can handle all manner of medical requirements, except for life-threatening emergencies.
Just like in an emergency room, it is not usually necessary to make an appointment with an urgent care center. After all, it’s not as though we can choose to injure ourselves or become sick at times that are convenient to ourselves or others. Instead, you can just turn up whenever needed and there will be somebody available to treat you.
You should bear in mind, though, that while some urgent care clinics are open 24/7, many are not. They will still tend to have opening hours that are more convenient than your regular doctor but you should check first before going. Of course, though, if you have booked an appointment then you can be sure that there will be somebody available to see you when you arrive.
If your condition is not very urgent and you are able to make an appointment with an urgent care clinic then you should do so. It can make things a lot easier for everybody involved.
While an urgent care clinic is not likely to leave you waiting for as long as an emergency room will, there is still likely to be a queue. Nobody likes having to wait around, especially not in a room with other sick and injured people. Book an appointment, though, and you can turn up at just the right time, meaning less time waiting around. Booking an appointment in advance also gives you more time to get prepared for your visit. Here are a few urgent care requirements that you should be prepared for when going to your appointment.
Although treatment at an urgent care clinic is likely to cost less than it will at an emergency room, you will still need to pay somehow. Before going to your appointment, make sure that you are covered by your insurance if you have any. Bear in mind that not all insurances will be compatible with all urgent care centers so you should check your insurance info first. In some cases, you might need to shop around for a center that is compatible with your insurance provider. Urgent care requirements have your insurance info with you to provide to the clinic when you arrive.
If you don’t have compatible insurance, you will need to find an alternative method of payment. This might be cash and you should ask first for an estimate of the cost to see if you can afford it. You can also have a look online for alternatives that may help you to get the assistance you need. You might even find solutions that help make treatment surprisingly affordable for you.
If money is still a problem for you then let the doctor know in advance. They can try to provide only treatment that is necessary and prescribes only medication that you really need. This might mean being without medication that could help relieve symptoms such as pain, but getting the essential treatment is what really matters. The doctor or nurse might also be able to give advice on other methods and remedies to help relieve discomfort from your symptoms.
Time is something that many of us have little to spare. Sickness and injuries care nothing for how strapped you are for time, though. You will have little choice but to be patient and give the doctors and nurses time to do what they need to do. You might also need to account for extras such as getting your medication from a pharmacy. This is not good if you need to be at work or if the kids need to be taken care of, but it’s something that we can usually do little about. Friends, family and employers should hopefully be understanding toward your predicament. If you don’t have time, you will simply have to make some time.
If your time is particularly precious to you then there is a possibility of having a doctor or nurse come to you. This service will likely come at a premium, but it is worth it for people that place a lot of value on their time and convenience. This could mean arranging for them to come to your home, or maybe to your hotel room if you are staying out of town. You might need to get your own prescription, but a good hotel might be able to take care of that for you.
In the case of a life-threatening emergency, an ambulance is likely to be necessary. In rare instances, there might even be a helicopter ride involved. These can get you to a hospital quickly and they can also treat you on the way. If you are going to an urgent care clinic, though, then you are unlikely to need an ambulance. If you do need an ambulance, you should probably not be going to a clinic anyway.
Some clinics might have some form of transportation, particularly for their old or infirm clients. If it really is necessary to you then you could always check in advance. There might be a clinic in your region that has just what you need. Bear in mind, though, that you would likely be expected to pay extra for the service.
If you have a car, and you are still able to drive, then you should drive yourself there. Failing that, you should book a taxi or ask a friend to take you. If you are feeling up to it, you could even use public transport to get you there. It won’t be as quick as an ambulance, especially if there is traffic, but the clinic is unlikely to be too far away.
It’s impressive what we can do with medicine nowadays. Medication can now treat illnesses that would likely have been deadly just a few generations ago. It can also help to treat symptoms, helping patients to feel more comfortable while medical professionals work on the cause. Depending on your problem, you might be prescribed some pretty strong medication.
Medication can have some unwanted side-effects, though, and it can also react badly to other medication you are using. If you are already on medication, take some with you so that the doctor knows exactly what you are already using. This can help avoid any instances of giving you an incompatible prescription. It can also prevent them from giving you prescriptions for medications that you already have. If you have allergies to any types of medication or you have experienced negative side-effects in other ways, let the doctor know.
If you have any information regarding your medical conditions and treatments, take it with you. This is especially important if you are suffering from symptoms of any pre-existing conditions you might have. This will help the doctor fully understand your condition and tell them how you should be treated. While most of us tend not to have our medical records lying around the home, you should be prepared to give the doctor as much information about your urgent care requirements. Even the slightest bit of information can be very useful to a doctor. It might seem useless information to you but you should let the Doctor decide that.
Any urgent care clinic is likely to keep a record of your files once you have used their service. This means that they should have all they need available should you need to use their service again in the future. They could also request additional information if needed so that they have a full picture of your urgent care requirements. This will make things a lot more convenient for you on future visits.
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To be absolutely clear: If you are suffering from any problem that you consider to be a danger to your life, you should not be going to an urgent care clinic. Instead, you should be going directly to an emergency room and you should be doing so immediately. Even if you are unsure either way, you should still go to an emergency room just in case. It is far better to go to an emergency room when you didn’t need to than not go to an emergency room when you did need to. It could literally be your life on the line so it is best not to take any chances whatsoever.
That said, some people will still insist on going to an urgent care clinic even for conditions that might be serious. We can all be stubborn at times, and a lot of people might feel as though they don’t wish to be a burden to others. This could also be the case with a friend or family member you are with that has a medical emergency.
If you, or somebody else, is insisting on going to a clinic and not an emergency room, you should at least be as prepared as possible. If a doctor at the emergency clinic deems that your life is in immediate danger then they may well arrange for you to get to a hospital immediately. In this instance, it would be very convenient for you if you are already equipped with clothing and other supplies you might need. While this won’t be necessary for something like a bad cold or a broken finger, it would be wise for borderline cases.
All in all, preparing yourself for your appointment with an urgent care center is largely a matter of common sense. Try to bear in mind what the doctors and nurses will need to be able to treat you. Also bear in mind practicalities such as payments, insurance info and other arrangements. Use common sense before you go and you should hopefully get the treatment that you need that will put you well on the road to recovery. It could also mean that your visit is over a lot quicker than it otherwise might be.
Perhaps the most important thing of all is to remember that an urgent care clinic is not equipped to deal with serious injuries and life-threatening illnesses. If your life is in danger, or the person you are with is at risk, make no delay in getting to an emergency room. Call an ambulance if necessary, just act as quickly as possible.
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