Friday, June 21, 2024

Navigating Your Care: Know when to go where

by BIZ Magazine

Deciding whether or not to visit the emergency room is something most everyone has struggled with before. Many people aren’t sure when they should utilize an emergency room or when to go to an urgent care. The answer isn’t always obvious but knowing the difference between urgent care and emergency care – and where to seek treatment – could be life-saving in the case of a medical emergency. It can also make a difference in treatment and costs incurred during the visit.

It is important to first evaluate if visiting your primary care provider is the best option. This team knows you best and has quick access to your medical records, and history. Your primary care team is also the first line of defense in managing chronic conditions. Call your primary care provider first for:

• Flu shots

• Cough, Cold, Fever, Flu

• Ear, Nose and Throat care

• Physicals, Immunizations

• Chronic Care, COPD, High cholesterol 

• Diabetes, Hypertension

• Pediatric care, Well visits 

• Sick visits

• Clearance for surgery

There are also options for telemedicine in Shreveport-Bossier, making it possible to navigate your care without ever leaving the comfort of your home. For example, CHRISTUS On Demand Care allows patients to sign in and connect to the first available clinician.

If your primary care provider’s office is closed and telemedicine isn’t for you, then head to urgent care. In an urgent care facility, patients are treated for a variety of medical problems quickly and in most cases without an appointment. Though urgent, these symptoms don’t usually warrant an emergency:

• Flu, Cold, Fever

• Headaches

• Chills

• Sprains, minor fractures

• Minor lacerations, burns

• Dehydration

• Coughs, congestion and sinus problems

• Rashes, animal and bug bites

• Allergic reactions (non-life threatening)

• Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea

In the Emergency Room, patients are triaged to assess the severity of their conditions. Patients with life or limb-threatening conditions receive immediate attention by a team specially trained in emergency medicine. The ER should be used to treat patients who are in immediate need of care with symptoms such as:

• Chest pain

• Abdominal pain

• Shortness of breath

• Stroke-like symptoms

• Loss of consciousness or vision

• Broken bones

• Severe cuts

• Falls with injury or while taking blood thinners

• Sudden severe head pain or injury

• Suspected poisoning 

• Extreme pain, especially if the cause is unknown 

• Repeated vomiting 

• Allergic reaction that causes difficulty swallowing 

Emergencies are stressful whether it’s happening to you, a loved one or a stranger. Knowing when to go where will help get you to the appropriate level of care quickly.

John Messier, PA-C, CHRISTUS Velocity Urgent Care-Shreveport

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