When it comes to you or your loved one’s health, seeking out care may be necessary. Though the location on where to actually head may be questionable, choosing appropriate care is based on various factors, including the condition needing treated, severity, and insurance coverage. From ER vs urgent care vs primary care, which one should you choose?
When to Go to…
…the Emergency Room.
Going to the ER is justified when a true emergency is present at any part of the day or week. Emergency rooms are equipped to care for severe or traumatic cases, as they mostly have x-rays and surgical equipment available in the case of life-threating situations. Validations to head to the nearest ER or call 911 include:
- Allergic reactions, whether it be related to food or an animal or bug bite
- Evident or speculated broken bones that need immediate care
- Wounds that are deep and severe
- Bleeding that will not subside
- Persistent vomiting and diarrhea
- Symptoms of a heart attack, including shortness or breath and chest pain
- Head injuries and unconsciousness
Urgent care follows urgent matters, but generally not as severe as described with an ER visit. Most urgent care centers are equipped to handles non-life threatening conditions, though most waiting times can actually be shorter than an ER visit. However, reasons to go to urgent care may include:
- Flu and cold symptoms, including mild vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain
- Coughs and a sore throat
- Infections, including urinary tract, eye and ear infections
- Minor injuries, including cuts and scrapes
- Sports injuries, without the concern of any head trauma
- Vaccines and lab tests
…Your Primary Care Provider.
A primary care provider is encouraged throughout all lifespans, as they are your essential guide to health and know you the best. They are generally your go-to for both knowledge and support, including short-term and long-term conditions and concerns, including both physical and mental health. Visits with your primary care provider are mostly apart of a prevention program and improve overall health. As caregivers, schedule an appointment with your loved one’s primary care provider if you notice or speculate any of the following:
- Weight gain or loss
- Suspect their medications need changed
- Witness any sort of cognitive decline
- Depressive feelings
Primary care providers may be able to manage any of the other conditions identified for urgent care. However, schedule with them only if they are able to squeeze you in an appropriate time to manage the mild or moderate condition requiring acknowledgment or treatment.
Ultimately, when dealing with the situation at hand it is always important to consider the health of you or your loved one’s health and use best judgment. For instance, if a deep cut occurs in the kitchen, taking care of it immediately can lessen the risk of bleeding out or infection; while a light, manageable scrape may not be worth the monetary value paid for care. Additionally, especially if not life-threatening, choosing care centers that accept your primary health insurer is encouraged.