Emergency Care Facilities: Know Where to Go

Anymore there seems to be a hospital on every street corner.  The thing is though are they all really hospitals? And do they all have the same capabilities that you would think they would?  Sometimes the answer is no. There are big main hospitals where you will get all the departments such as Emergency Room, Inpatient Floor, Surgical Floor etc.  Then there are these new hospitals that are popping up now called Micro Hospitals or Neighborhood Hospitals. Those will even differ from the Immediate Care places that are around too.  It is hard to know where you should go for a visit depending on your needs.

Immediate Care Facilities

Immediate care places are usually where you start if you are sick and your regular physician isn’t available.  Whether this is after hours or on weekends or even sometimes if you doctors schedule doesn’t allow you to get in in a timely manner.  Usually this is for minor illnesses. Because sometimes these immediate care facilities don’t have all the machines to help diagnose, or a lab on site to draw blood.  Wait times can be long due to the fact its walk in with no appointment and it’s first come first serve. There aren’t specialist on staff. This can cause you to have to follow up with other doctors at another time. Immediate care facilities will not always treat you if they feel your illness is too severe and may send you on to an emergency room or a neighborhood hospital.  


Micro Hospitals or Neighborhood Hospitals

Micro or Neighborhood hospitals mean the same thing.  They are mini hospitals. Usually consisting of a stand alone emergency room and then with a limited amount of observation beds where they will keep patients for a 24  hour observation period if needed. These are usually equipped with X-ray, Ct scans, ultrasound machines and other diagnostic tools that you would find in regular Emergency room attached to a full hospital.  They have all the supplies stocked for a full functioning Emergency room including respiratory items in case someone comes in with respiratory distress. As well as fully stocked observation area so that they can make sure they have everything that could be needed.  There is a risk of being transported out of a Micro Hospital if you require a specialist or more extreme care such as surgery or a cardiac specialist. The benefit of the Micro Hospital though is they are more conveniently located so if you have a true emergency, heart attack, or stroke, you can get to one quicker where they can get you stabilized before you are transported somewhere else if necessary. The Micro Hospitals usually have low wait times with little to no wait sometimes as little as 10 minutes.

Main Hospital Emergency Room

Now a main hospital emergency room is going to be an emergency room attached to the bigger hospital.  Going here for care has lots of bonuses. The chances of having to be transported out are slimmer because there are more departments within the hospital to help you.  Emergency rooms have the availability to X-ray, Ct scanners, and other diagnostic tools to help find out what is wrong. Though sometimes when thinking of going to the emergency room the groans start in the thought of wait time.  Wait times do have a tendency to being long. And unlike the immediate care facilities where it is first come first serve, the more critical cases in an emergency room take precedence and will be taken first. Weekends seem to be less busy at emergency rooms, while Monday and Tuesday seem to be slower days in the emergency rooms.  Another bonus of emergencies rooms within a hospital is they will have doctors on call 24/7. So if you need a specialist they are more accessible. Going along with that if emergency surgery is needed there is usually a surgical floor there where you can be taken straight into an operating room. Or if you need to be kept for observation you would be moved up to the inpatient floor or observation floor so that you can continue to get care after being assessed in the emergency department.


All of these options have their pros and cons.  It really comes down to what you are needing. After hours doctor, we have the immediate care facilities.  Small low wait time completely functional emergency room but know a specialist isn’t needed, the Micro hospitals would be perfect.  Or if you have no idea and you think there could be the need for specialists or other department interventions a main hospital emergency room may be best.  


Sources: https://www.wthr.com/article/traditional-er-what-you-need-emergency


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