What You Should Know Before Going To Urgent Care
Nobody ever plans to go to Urgent Care—that’s why “urgent” is built into the name. If you find yourself at Urgent Care, it’s because you’re under a lot of stress and you were genuinely worried that you had a life-threatening problem that needed to be treated right then. You weren’t in a position to research the best doctors for the condition. You may not even have had the time to see which Urgent Care was within your insurance network. You’re completely vulnerable and at the mercy of the healthcare system when you go to Urgent Care, which is why many visits to the UC come with major surprises. Here are things you need to know before you visit Urgent Care.
Call an ambulance from a landline
If you can call an ambulance from a landline, do so. This allows the dispatcher to pinpoint your location. If you call from your cell phone, you’ll need to explain to the dispatcher where you are, but you may not be in physical condition to do that.
Stay on the phone
Stay on the phone with the dispatcher until the ambulance arrives. He or she is trained in giving you tips that can save your life in that moment. And remember that your condition can change rapidly, so even if you feel stable enough to get off the phone, stay on.
The cost of an ambulance
The average cost of riding in an ambulance for two miles is $2,700. That’s something to consider before calling one, if you do have a friend or family member who can drive you there and if you won’t require medical care on the drive over.
Getting to the hospital fast is a priority
If you could die in the next five minutes but the nearest hospital that takes your insurance is an eight-minute drive away, the ambulance is going to take you to the closer one. It’s that simple. That being said, if you live near several Urgent Care centers, research which ones takes your insurance now. In the event of an emergency, you can ask the ambulance to take you to that one.
These are the busy hours
Mondays are the busiest days and 6 pm is the busiest hour. If you’ve been dealing with symptoms that aren’t life-threatening, but your regular doctor cannot see you and you have the luxury of choosing when to go to Urgent Care, go between 3 am and 9 am. These are the quietest hours.
An ambulance doesn’t put you at the front of the line
Arriving at Urgent Care in an ambulance doesn’t mean you’re rushed to the front of the line. The order in which you’re seen will depend on the urgency of your condition.
It’s not their job to talk money
It’s not the Urgent Care staff’s job to talk to you about payment when you arrive. Their priority is to address your problem immediately. They aren’t trying to trick you into a large bill by not discussing cost with you. Their only job is to save your life or get you into stable condition.
Be grateful if you have to wait
If you have to wait for a long time in the lobby, that’s because the check-in staff has deemed your condition non-fatal (or non-urgent). Consider yourself lucky. You don’t want to be the person who is rushed into a room and has to skip the line. He’s in bad shape.
Every instruction is important
Every little instruction, from taking off your clothes and sitting still to not using the restroom or drinking water is important. You are given these instructions for a reason. Do not think that you have the authority to decide which instructions matter and which don’t—you could put your life at risk that way.
Write down your medications
Right now, when you’re stable, write down all of your medications on a piece of paper and put that in your wallet. If you’re too weak to remember these when you’re in Urgent Care, you can give the staff this piece of paper. This will help them make very important decisions about what sorts of medications they can give you.
You must be honest
If you are too proud or embarrassed to tell the staff the truth about what you’ve done to get you there (from drugs to stupid stunts) you’ll put your health at risk. The Urgent Care staff has seen it all. There’s nothing you can tell them that will shock them so just tell them everything they need to know.
You have privacy
The doctors and nurses at Urgent Care are not police officers. They aren’t going to charge you with anything. They aren’t going to have you arrested. You have doctor-patient confidentiality rights so don’t worry about telling them if you got there by doing something illegal.
The urgent care can’t test for everything
Some Urgent Care facilities cannot test for infectious diseases like Legionnaire’s Disease. You’ll need to go to your city’s health department for that. If you are going to UC to be tested for something, do some research in advance to make sure that center has the equipment to run the test.
Some aren’t prepared for children
Pediatric Urgent Care equipment differs from adult equipment. If you are taking a child to Urgent Care, research or call them to make sure they are equipped to take care of children.
They don’t keep you longer than necessary
The staff hasn’t forgotten about you. They aren’t keeping you there unnecessarily. They really are caught up and attending to an urgent matter or they believe you need to remain under supervision. They want you out of there, too, so they can make that bed available for somebody else.