As a caregiver, it’s important to know where to get care quickly when the person you care for is ill. Here are the options to help you make the right choice for the situation at hand.
Should I call 911 and/or go to the hospital emergency room (ER)?
An emergency condition is one that can permanently impair or endanger your life. Typically, something beyond the scope of a doctor’s office. Call 911.
Note – ER’s evaluate or “triage” each patient as they enter and treat the most life-threatening cases first; you could be in for a long wait.
Should I go to my doctor?
Most doctors can do the same things an urgent care clinic can do. However, you may have to wait days, if not weeks, for an appointment. Visit your primary care physician for medical conditions that don’t need to be addressed immediately, your overall continuity of care, disease maintenance and/or prevention, specialist referrals, and routine lab work.
Should I go to urgent care or a walk-in clinic?
Drive to a local urgent care or walk-in clinic for medical conditions that are not life-threatening, but need to be addressed quickly. Choose urgent care if you can’t get a doctor’s appointment quickly. Research urgent care centers near you and keep their number’s handy. Call in advance to see if they are busy.
Will insurance cover urgent care facilities?
It depends on three factors:
- First, if it is an urgent issue.
- Second, what insurance you have.
- Third, is the facility is in the network of your coverage?
All of this could affect the cost you pay. Remember, when you receive services, YOU are responsible for paying the provider, whether or not you have insurance. It’s a good idea to find out this information prior to visiting an urgent care clinic.
Below are examples of conditions treated by Urgent Care clinics and ERs. NOTE – if you are unsure, call 911 OR an urgent care center in your area and ask for advice.
|Urgent Care (walk-in clinic)
|Hospital Emergency Room
Small cuts that may require stitches
Heart attack and chest pain
We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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