Urgent Care Vs. Emergency Room: Making the Decision

AppUrgent_frontHow do you know which facility to go to? We are grateful for our sponsor AppUrgent Care Center to help bring to light the differences and the type of services each facility provides.  The High Country is fortunate to have emergency services and urgent care services.

Most importantly, if there’s any doubt, call your primary care physician to ask which is the best place to go for your illness or injury.

The following scenarios are fictitious and not based on real people.

It’s 5:30 on a Wednesday evening. Sue has just picked up her kindergartener Billy from after-school care and he tells her his ear has been hurting all day. When they get home she checks his temperature, and isn’t surprised when she sees he has a fever, a temperature of 103 degrees. He’s had two ear infections already this winter, this must be another one. If they can get him antibiotics soon, he might only miss one day of school. This is a perfect opportunity to visit the AppUrgent Care Centeropen weekdays 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Saturday night at 2 a.m., Joe wakes up with a gripping pain in his chest. Without thinking twice, his wife Carol calls 911 and Joe is transported to the emergency room at Watauga Medical Centerwhere he is immediately taken back and taken through the appropriate tests. It turns out he had a minor heart attack, and Carol’s quick trip to the ER might have saved his life.

The examples above are two very black and white cases, but there are many more that are not that clear cut. Overall, you can feel safe in making decisions for your family by using the following guidelines.

Urgent Care Centers

Sprains and broken bones
Flu-like symptoms
Ear infections, cough, or sore throat
Animal bites
Cuts or minor laceration repairs
Urinary Tract Infections

Emergency Centers

Chest pain
Stroke symptoms
Severe/sudden pain
Severe Bleeding
Head injury
Difficulty Breathing

The rule of thumb is that emergency centers are equipped to treat severe and life-threatening illnesses and conditions. The doctors and medical staff have been trained in these areas and have the appropriate equipment and labs to run tests and prescribe medicine to treat traumas in the best possible manner.

Urgent care centers, on the other hand, can often be confused with emergency departments because they are also a place where you can come on a walk-in basis. But they are set up for less severe illnesses and injuries. The extended and weekend hours make them an appropriate place to go for things that you would normally visit your primary care physician for, but can’t because it’s after hours. They are also equipped to handle sprains and broken bones and other minor injuries. In most cases it’s cheaper and faster to visit the urgent care than the emergency room!

Understanding the differences and the types of services each provide will help you be able to plan where to go when the moment of need arises. And if there’s any doubt, call your primary care physician to ask which is the best place to go for your illness or injury.

For more information about AppUrgent Care Center (2146 Blowing Rock Road, Boone, NC 28607), visit www.apprhs.org/arma/appurgent-care-center.

For more information about the Emergency Department at Watauga Medical Center (336 Deerfield Road, Boone, NC 28607) and Cannon Memorial Hospital (434 Hospital Drive, Linville, NC 28646), visit… https://www.apprhs.org/emergency-services