urgent care

  • What is First Aid?

    Hopefully everyone has had First Aid Training, has a great First Aid Kit, and well stocked, current expiration First Aid Supplies. We hope, too, that you have taken advantage of our Free First Aid Video to learn how to put those first aid items to use when needed.

    Now the next questions:
    When is it a First Aid Situation, When should you see your medical practitioner, and When is it time to rush to the Urgent Care or Emergency Room?

    First Aid is defined as " emergency care or treatment given to an ill or injured person before regular medical aid can be obtained ".
    Here's a great article from Denton Publications that gives one opinion:

    First aid? Not so fast.

    Elizabethtown Community Hospital (ECH) wants the public to know that while they’re always delighted to see you, residents with non-life threatening medical situations should first visit their primary care physicians before taking potentially costly trips to the emergency room.

    “When in doubt, call your general practitioner,” said Jane Hooper, ECH’s Director of Community Relations.

    According to emergency department staff, ECH sees a significant number of patients with dental pain, colds and stomach aches in their emergency department. Hooper said that while some of these may cause severe discomfort, they could often be better handled by primarily care physicians.

    The issue arises when the emergency department is busy with emergent situations — issues like traffic accidents, heart attacks and traumatic injuries, for example — and staff is occupied with caring for those patients. People with non-emergent situations may end up waiting longer than they are comfortable with.

    “It’s not unusual to have someone with a cold make their way to the emergency department in the middle of the night,” said Julie Tromblee, RN, director of patient services. “In those situations, staff offers suggestions to help alleviate the symptoms and works to refer patients to a primary care physician.”

    Other examples include minor cuts that require several stitches, ear infections and sprains, the latter of which is particularly common in the region because of the community’s “fix-it-yourself” ethic paired with the grueling wintertime weather.

    “If you have an injury like that, and it’s normal business hours and there isn’t an underlying condition involved, start by calling your general practitioner and get their advice,” said Hooper.

    “Primary care is the cornerstone of good medical care,” added Mary Glickman, medical director of Smith House Health Center in Willsboro. “There are so many conditions that, if properly and consistently managed by patients and their physician, complications may never occur, keeping that patient out of the emergency room. This also holds true for some minor, non life-threatening emergencies.”

    Hooper said ECH encourages everyone to establish a primary care physician.

    “Each of the hospital’s community-based health centers is currently accepting new patients,” she said, “and each center owned by the hospital leaves space in its appointment calendar for situations that may require more immediate attention, such as a wound requiring stitches, ankle sprain or a child with a potential ear infection.”

    The four health centers are located in Westport, Wilmington, Willsboro and Elizabethtown.

    Hooper said more Americans are using hospital emergency departments because they face long waits for appointments with their physician and limited after-hours options.

    Many studies have found the cost of treating non-emergent conditions in the emergency department is significantly higher than in other settings, which can increase patients’ out-of-pocket costs and add avoidable spending to the nation’s health care bill.

    American Red Cross First Aid & Emergency Kits - Click the image to view all American Red Cross First Aid & Emergency Kits - Click the image to view all
  • Comparing Urgent Care with Virtual Care

    While our focus at First Aid Mart is First Aid & Pre-Hospital care for the injured, there are many times when the the best care is to seek medical attention.

    Most our First Aid Kits will take care of simple wounds and injuries, especially in the hands of rescuers with First Aid Training. More advanced rescuers may opt for a First Responder Bag or Trauma Kit, or even a Suture Syringe kit for field applications - Adventurers may go for Wilderness First Aid Medical Emergency Kits, too - but in the end, no matter how good the first aid treatment, a serious injury will require more advanced follow up attention...

    Medicine doctor working with modern tablet computer and virtualThrough efforts to provide more focused medical care, urgent care centers have become prevalent across the United States. According to Mount Sinai Hospital, these clinics focus on treating emergencies that are non-life threatening but still require care within 24 hours. Broken bones, puncture wounds, infections, vomiting and other serious conditions are among the most common types of care provided by urgent care facilities.

    With the success of urgent care facilities, hospital systems have been broadening the types of care they provide to patients in hopes of increasing efficiencies and quality of service while lessening the demands placed on emergency rooms. Virtual care is one of the latest evolutions in the medical care industry, and it offers advantages not previously available through other forms of care. Here's a quick breakdown of how urgent and virtual care stack up against one another.

    Present care vs. remote services

    The main difference between urgent and virtual care is location. With urgent care, patients are still required to visit a physical doctor's office where treatment and consultation can be administered. But with virtual care, there is no doctor present. Instead, virtual care focuses on providing information and other consultation that may include an intake of symptoms and, in the case of video conferencing, a visual examination of certain injuries or conditions.

    Virtual care has become particularly prominent among patients living in rural areas, and among individuals who lack the ability to visit a doctor's office. In some cases, virtual care may still lead to a doctor's office visit, but patients can be assured that the visit is a necessary one, thereby reducing office traffic and patient volume -- an important consideration for overworked emergency rooms.

    Embracing new technologies

    Certain aspects of virtual care, such as telephony, have been around for years, according to the THA Group. But continued studies of virtual care demonstrate the service's ability to improve the overall health and outcomes of patients receiving these services. More recently, video conferencing has been embraced as a way to expand the virtual care services offered. Doctors can make visual examinations and even mimic the movements and other actions they would like their patients to perform, according to a report from KUOW.org.

    Providing fast services to remote and traveling patients

    One of the common traits of both urgent and virtual care is the emphasis on providing fast services. Speed is one of the primary goals of a new joint urgent-virtual care service, established by the Franciscan Health System in Tacoma, Washington. Like an emergency room, urgent care centers take walk-ins on a first-come, first-serve basis. But the services rendered typically require less time than what an emergency room sees, allowing urgent care to fit in more patients in a single day.

    Virtual care functions similarly. Patients and doctors can connect quickly and easily via phone or video conferencing, and the sessions tend to be shorter and focused on an intake of symptoms or examinations and updates on a wide range of medical conditions that the patient may be dealing with. Virtual care is cheaper than visiting a clinic, and for patients it's more convenient and practical -- especially for those who either live far from a clinic or are often traveling, such as business professionals.

    Where urgent and virtual care support one another

    In many cases, urgent and virtual care can be used collaboratively to provide efficient, comprehensive care to a patient when circumstances prohibit regular visits to the office. After urgent care services are performed, virtual care can be utilized to provide updates and other consultation related to the injury or condition.

    For example, an individual who is injured while traveling can receive treatment at an urgent care facility, and then use follow-ups and other consultation options over the telephone or through video conferencing. This cuts down on urgent care office traffic and makes continued care easier for the patient, minimizing time expenditures for both parties while providing a consistent quality of care.

    Article by Terry Royal: Terry is a former medical assistant-turned-certified life coach who writes about health, wellness and the power of positive thinking.

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