How Family Clinics, Urgent Care, and Emergency Rooms Are All Different


When a member of your family is sick or hurt, you may need to take him or her to a medical center Belvidere IL. Different services are available at different facilities, and it can be difficult to know where to go. Once you understand how family doctors, emergency rooms, and urgent care clinics care for patients, it may give you a better idea of where you should go given the circumstances.

Family Doctor

Family doctors go by many different names, such as general practitioner or primary care physician. In any case, their job is to provide non-emergency medical care to patients who are ill or injured in the setting of an outpatient clinic. It is usually possible for the patient to get an appointment to see the doctor on the same day he or she called for an appointment.

Emergency Room

The emergency room is for patients in the midst of a medical emergency. Examples include heart attacks, severed limbs, and severe allergic reactions. Basically, any medical problem that could cause death if not treated immediately warrants a trip to the ER.

Because time is of the essence, you should typically call 911 to summon an ambulance to respond to the medical emergency rather that trying to drive yourself or a loved one there. On the other hand, if your condition is really not a medical emergency, you should not go to the emergency room so they can give priority to the patients in the greatest need.

Urgent Care

Urgent care clinics cater to non-emergency medical issues, typically outside the normal hours of family clinics. For example, a broken bone is usually not a medical emergency, but it is also less than ideal to wait until the family clinic opens for treatment if it happens after hours. An urgent care facility should have the ability to X-ray the bone to confirm the fracture as well as set and cast or splint it as necessary.

If there is any question of whether the situation is a medical emergency, you should call 911 first to go to the emergency room.