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Emergency care vs Urgent Care

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

On a Saturday morning, while playing in the backyard your kid fell off the swing and got a few cuts and bruises on his knees and elbow. The injuries are not life-threatening but they are not minor enough to cover up with bandages at home. What do you certainly do at such times? Fix up an appointment with your primary physician or run to the hospital. Well, you would want to go to an urgent care clinic.

What Is Urgent Care?

Injuries, illnesses, and disorders that need rapid attention but are not life-threatening are treated at urgent care clinics. For instance, the bruises and cuts should not wait until the next day, but an emergency department visit is not always necessary.

Urgent care can be compared to a bridge connecting your regular care doctor and the emergency room. It is not always a life-threatening emergency, but sometimes you need medical care more rapidly than your primary care physician can offer.

The majority of people equate it with immediate care. These two expressions, however, are very dissimilar. Even though they are inappropriate for acute situations, urgent care clinics are better suited to treat critical conditions. The distinction between the two would be briefly discussed in the following section.

Emergency Care VS. Urgent Care

Urgent Care: For the majority of non-emergencies, urgent care facilities are appropriate and effective. They are also perfect in case something occurs after regular work hours of 9 to 5. For instance, the majority of urgent care facilities are open until 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. or 5:00 p.m. on weekends, when the majority of medical offices are normally closed. You only need to look at the timings of the center before you come through an urgent care clinic.

Emergency Care: For emergencies, that is, situations requiring instant support, an emergency room is ideal. Direct your attention to the nearest emergency room (ER) if your situation is life-threatening. These circumstances include:

  • Chest Pain

  • Having Trouble Breathing

  • Stroke

  • Head Injury

  • Extensive Bleeding

  • Absence of Vision

The degree of the medical issue is what distinguishes urgent care from emergency facilities. You must critically decide and evaluate the situation and the medical condition before choosing the care clinic.

Patients now have more options for where to receive medical care. This decision has an impact on the standard of care, the timeliness of services, and the overall cost. Thanks to urgent care facilities and their flexible timings and accessibility, the urgent care units are expanding, and ER visits are reduced for people requiring rapid care.

What Is Urgent Care Used For?

Asking yourself these two questions can help you decide whether going to urgent care is the best course of action:

  • Do I require emergency medical care?

  • Is the condition I have life-threatening?

Schedule a visit with your primary care physician if your medical condition can wait a few days. However, if you are unable to wait and your condition is not urgent, you should visit a walk-in clinic for urgent care. Here are several instances in which you should seek urgent attention.

  • You cannot visit your primary doctor.

  • The primary care office is shut down.

  • An ER visit seems overkill.

  • If you are ever unsure whether to go to the emergency room or an urgent care center, err on the side of caution and go there.

What Is The Difference Between Urgent Care And Immediate Care

A facility that provides immediate, expert medical care is known as immediate care. They are used for problems that don't necessitate a trip to the emergency department. These problems frequently involve mild illnesses or injuries and are not life-threatening.

Patients who require prompt attention for mild illnesses or injuries should go to an immediate care facility. The medical team's objective in an immediate care setting is to assess the patient, use simple diagnostic equipment, and be able to discharge the patient after receiving all necessary instructions and care.

When a person feels generally safe but cannot see their primary care physician or does not want to put off having their symptoms examined, they should go to an urgent care facility. The general difference between the two is more or less all about the urgency and the timeliness of the situation or the medical condition.

What Is Considered As An Urgent Medical Condition?

A condition known as an urgent medical condition presents with acute symptoms that are less severe than those associated with an emergency medical condition. High fevers, lightheadedness, animal bites, sprains, excruciating pain, respiratory problems, and infectious diseases are a few examples of urgent medical conditions. You do not have to make an appointment to visit an urgent care facility as long as it is available to the public (LawInsider).


The dilemma of choosing the appropriate care center for any medical condition can be sorted out easily after reading through this article.

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