Urgent Care Center Fundamentals: What Everyone Should Understand

With urgent care centers appearing in more areas across the country, you may find yourself wondering if these facilities are really worth visiting over your local emergency room when you need care right away. The truth is that, while most urgent care facilities aren't equipped for major medical emergencies like heart attacks, severe allergic reactions, or other life-threatening issues, these facilities can provide a variety of services that can help keep you out of the emergency room when your primary care doctor isn't available. Here's a look at some of the things you should understand about urgent care services.

Urgent Care Centers Have Varied Hours

One of the things that you'll find with urgent care facilities is that they offer varied schedules so that they are available as often as possible. Since they understand that many emergencies happen at night and on the weekend, when primary care doctors aren't available, most urgent care centers strive to have services available during these hours.

In fact, there are even some urgent care centers that provide 24-hour availability, which means that there's always someone there to provide care when you need it, even if your child spikes a fever in the middle of the night.

Urgent Care Centers Often Provide Additional Services

You might think of an urgent care center as limited to dealing with sinus infections, ear infections, minor cuts, and similar issues that don't require x-rays, lab work, or other additional services. This couldn't be further from the truth. 

In fact, most urgent care centers offer in-house x-ray services, and some have a lab in-house as well. Even if they don't have a lab on-site, you'll find that most urgent care centers do have a relationship with a lab for testing services when needed.

Urgent Care Centers Will Refer You When Needed

Sometimes, patients will go to the urgent care center with a cut that's too severe for urgent care treatment or a condition that warrants emergency room care. In those situations, your urgent care center will refer you to the emergency room, and can even call for ambulance transportation when necessary to ensure that you get the care and treatment that you need for your injury or illness.

Urgent care centers are offering great relief for overcrowded emergency rooms, making emergent care more accessible for those who need it. Understanding these basics about urgent care centers can help you to understand why an urgent care center is a great choice for your urgent but non-emergency needs.