House Call: Emergency Department vs. Urgent Care – Getting the Right Medical Attention

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When unexpected illnesses or injuries occur, it is sometimes difficult deciding whether the condition needs treatment at an emergency department or urgent care facility.  

If an individual is experiencing a life-threatening situation such as symptoms of a heart attack, trouble breathing or traumatic injury such as a severe fall or vehicle accident, call 911 immediately. The county’s emergency system will get you to the immediate medical attention needed. 

More: Winter Injury Prevention Tips

Urgent care facilities are very useful for individuals who have an illness, injury or other healthcare concern and are unable to get an appointment with their primary care physician.  Although, many people are unaware that urgent care facilities have many of the capacities and abilities of an emergency department, yet on an outpatient care basis.  Urgent care healthcare providers often treat sprained joints, wounds that need suturing, broken bones and rashes, along with pneumonia, flu, sore throats, common colds and viruses. 

While emergency departments operate and treat patients on a 24/7 basis, urgent care facilities also often have extended hours, including evenings and weekends.   Therefore if you are experiencing a non-life threatening illness or injury, and do not suspect the need to be admitted to a hospital, it is best to seek treatment at an urgent care facility. 

If your condition is assessed and determined to need emergency medical attention by an urgent care healthcare provider, they will make sure you get to proper treatment. Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of urgent care facilities, emergency departments, and a trauma care center dedicated to providing immediate treatment for individuals in the community experiencing unexpected illness, injury and other concerning health conditions.

Spokesperson Background:

Chelle Jeffery is a physician assistant at Urgent Medical & Family Care on Pomona Drive in Greensboro and a member of Cone Health Medical Staff.  Chelle has more than 12 years of experience in the medical field.  She graduated from Wake Forest University’s Physician Assistant Program in 1999, after receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Guilford College in 1995.