What is Urgent Care in Medical Terms?

An urgent care center is a walk-in clinic that provides medical attention for minor illnesses and injuries. It is an outpatient medical facility outside of a traditional emergency department (ED) located in a hospital or standalone. It is important to note that urgent care is not emergency care. Urgent care centers are same-day clinics that can treat a variety of medical problems that need to be addressed quickly, but are not considered true emergencies.

These centers are usually open for walk-ins, but making an appointment or checking in before you arrive can help reduce wait time. Some urgent care centers specialize in pediatric care, making them a great option if your child needs medical attention. Certain medical conditions are considered emergencies because they may require rapid or advanced treatments, including surgery, that are only available in a hospital setting. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 or local emergency services, or go to the nearest emergency room. Walk-in clinics are a good option when you're not feeling well, but it's not severe enough to go to the emergency room or urgent care.

To expedite treatment and receive the best possible care, bring all necessary medical documentation to the clinic. Urgent care or walk-in clinics help fill a vital void when you get sick or injured, but your regular doctor isn't available and you can't wait for an appointment to arrive. It is important to understand the difference between a walk-in clinic, an urgent care center and a hospital emergency room. Knowing the difference can make a big difference, especially if you have a medical emergency. Many urgent care centers have doctors on staff, but they also have a team of physician assistants and specialized nurses who can diagnose and prescribe treatments for a variety of health conditions. Before going to an urgent care center, you can contact your primary care doctor's office if you can schedule an appointment for the same day.

Urgent: Any serious illness or condition that, by reasonable standards of medical practice, is diagnosed and treated within twenty-four (2) hours and, if left untreated, could quickly turn into a crisis or emergency situation.

Bridgette Onken
Bridgette Onken

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