What Do You Go To Urgent Care For?
Many people have limited experience with wake forest urgent care centers and may have questions regarding how they work. Urgent care centers are ideal for patients who require care for a minor medical emergency or require other medical services such as vaccinations and lab work. Urgent care centers are convenient and easily accessible. Below are best practices and helpful tips to know before you visit an urgent care clinic.
Check-in Online, When Possible
Many of the urgent care clinics accept walk-in patients, which means an appointment is not required. As a result, the wait times can drastically vary. The wait time could range from a few minutes to a few hours based on how many patients are in front of you.
Some urgent care centers offer appointments for patients. Calling ahead can help reduce your wait time.
Even for centers which do not offer appointments, they may have an online check-in system. The center’s website can aid in preparing for your arrival.
The Right Center for Your Needs
It is best not to wait until you are sick to begin locating an urgent care center. It is ideal to identify and select a center which accepts your health insurance plan in order to minimize your out-of-pocket expenses. It is also helpful to choose a facility that specializes in the care you need. It is also a benefit if the urgent care can easily communicate with your primary doctor’s office.
As an example, some urgent care centers specialize in pediatric care while other clinics specialize in caring for women’s health.
Be familiar with the urgent care center which is closest to your home before you have an emergency. It is helpful to understand the type of service this clinic provides in addition to their operating hours.
What to Bring
Unlike a regular doctor’s office, urgent care centers do not maintain a patient’s medical records. To help expedite treatment and ensure you receive the best possible care, bring any applicable medical documentation to the clinic. This can include your current health insurance information and the name/dosage of any prescription medication. A summary of your health history is also helpful.
Another item which is required is a photo ID. You likely don’t have a relationship with the clinic. As a result, your ID is necessary in order to verify your identity. You will also be responsible for any payments or copays which exist at the time of the appointment.
You can visit an urgent care clinic during their normal operating hours, but some times during the day may be busier than others. This can often include periods when traditional doctor offices are closed such as nights, weekends and holidays.
You May Not See a Doctor
Prior to visiting an urgent care clinic, understand that the person who provides treatment may not be a doctor. It is common for an urgent care center to have doctors on staff, however, they also have a staff of physician assistants and nurse practitioners who diagnose and prescribe treatments for patients. Regardless of the type of healthcare provider you see, they will likely suggest treatment or a prescription and encourage you to follow up with your regular doctor when possible.
Urgent care centers may be limited in the care they are able to provide. There may be occasion where you are seen in an Urgent Care facility, and they need to recommend a higher level of care in the Emergency Department. An example may be cardiac chest pain, that would require monitoring, stat labs including cardiac enzymes, and possible admission to the hospital for a nucleoside stress test.
For major emergencies, it is important to go directly to an emergency room. Some situations which require a visit to the emergency room include chest pain, difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, severe headache, severe dizziness, severe vomiting, chronic bleeding, or a broken bone which is outside the skin.
Visiting an urgent care center in the above situations can be dangerous because the clinic does not have adequate equipment to properly treat the issue and you will be redirected to the emergency room.
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