The new West Branch Medical Center will include Urgent Care of Evangelical, offering fast, effective care for injuries and illnesses needing prompt attention, but that are non-life-threatening.
Urgent vs Emergency Care – How do I decide?
Illness and injury can occur without warning and at the most inopportune times. Your son wrecked his bike on Saturday morning and may need stitches. You flame-broiled your fingers instead of the burgers at the holiday picnic. Your husband just got home from work and announced he has the flu.
Your regular physician’s office is closed, so now what do you do? Understanding the difference between emergency care and urgent care can help you decide where to seek treatment when an injury or illness requires medical attention.
The key difference between a hospital emergency department and an urgent care facility is the complexity of care provided at each.
Urgent care is for symptoms you would typically address with your regular doctor, but during a time when your doctor is not available and you can’t wait to schedule an appointment. Urgent care centers offer evening and weekend hours with no appointments necessary to accommodate patients.
Emergency care, on the other hand, is for symptoms that are more serious and require complex care. Serious and potentially life-threatening conditions, such as a heart attack, stroke, or a traumatic injury sustained in an accident, require immediate, emergency attention. The emergency department is staffed and ready to provide critical care 24/7, including advanced imaging and surgery, if needed.
While we all know the difference between a minor cut and a serious wound that won’t stop bleeding, what about all the other potential symptoms of injuries and illness? It may not always be so clear which type of care is needed.
Some situations require a call to 911: seizures, severe chest pain, stroke symptoms, difficulty breathing, or life-threatening injuries. If you or a loved one experience those symptoms or injuries, it is safer to call for help rather than attempt to drive to the nearest emergency department. Trust your instinct – if your gut tells you it is serious, call 911.
Visit the Emergency Department
Seek emergency care for situations that could result in significant loss of blood, potential disability, or loss of life. Symptoms best evaluated in the emergency department include:
- Possible signs of a heart attack, including chest pain, discomfort in one of both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach; cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness
- Difficulty breathing
- Any severe pain, particularly in the abdomen
- Signs of a stroke, including sudden numbness, weakness, or paralysis, especially on one side of the face or body, face drooping, headache, confusion, impaired vision, trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
- Altered mental status or confusion
- Sudden, severe headache
- Sudden change in vision
- Newborn baby with a fever (a baby less than three months old with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher needs to be seen right away)
- Broken bones or dislocated joints
- Deep cuts or wounds that won’t stop bleeding
- Head or eye injuries
- Severe flu or cold symptoms
- High fevers or fevers with rash
- Severe and persistent vomiting or diarrhea
- Serious burns
Head to Urgent Care
Urgent care centers treat a variety of medical conditions that need to be addressed promptly, but that are not considered life-threatening emergencies.
Symptoms that can be evaluated and treated in an urgent care center include:
- Sprains and strains
- Minor breaks (wrist, hand, ankle, or foot – not obviously severe and not breaking skin)
- Colds, coughs, sore throat, allergies, and minor flu symptoms
- Fever (not accompanied by rash)
- Vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration
- Cuts, not severe, but may need stitches
- Skin rashes and infections (without fever)
- Urinary tract infections
- Eye irritation and redness
Urgent care centers also offer vaccinations, sports, and camp physicals, diagnostic tests, and imaging and laboratory services.
In addition to convenience, you’ll receive high-quality care quickly and at a lower cost than the emergency department.
Coming Soon – Urgent Care of Evangelical
Evangelical Community Hospital’s new West Branch Medical Center will include Urgent Care of Evangelical when it opens this fall. Conveniently located along Route 15 in the Weis Plaza, Urgent Care of Evangelical will be the only urgent care facility between Williamsport and Selinsgrove, expanding the availability of accessible care in the Susquehanna River Valley.