Emergency Care vs. Urgent Care – What’s the Difference?

Most urgent care centers can handle many of the bumps, bruises, and minor illnesses that previously were only seen in an emergency department.

Your daughter just twisted her ankle while playing outside, and her foot and ankle have become quite swollen. Are you unsure about whether to bring her to an emergency department (ED) or to an urgent care center? Either option is appropriate, but you might be surprised to learn that most urgent care centers can handle many of the bumps, bruises, and minor illnesses that previously were only seen in the ED.

Dr. Calvin A. Brown III, Medical Director of the Urgent Care Center at Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Health Care Center in Foxborough, says that the recent advent of urgent care centers has created a valuable health care resource. They help patients who desire – and probably need – immediate, same-day care, but who aren’t able to get an appointment with their primary care physician and wish to avoid a trip to the ED. The wide variety of medical issues that urgent care center clinicians can treat include sprains, simple fractures, small lacerations, abscesses, bronchitis, asthma attacks, allergies, urinary tract infections, ear infections, low-grade pneumonia, concussions, and many other conditions.

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