The Value Of Pediatric Urgent Care
Mike is a registered nurse with several years of experience in a Pediatric Emergency Setting. We are lucky to benefit from his experience here at Pacific Crest Children's. Read this post to hear his take on ER's and Pediatric Urgent Care as a new specialty. -Dr. Fish
Your child is sick, you just called your doctor and they can’t fit you in today. Or it’s 4:45PM and the office is closing in 15 minutes and there’s no way you can make it in time. Sound familiar?
You really want your child seen today and don’t think they should wait until tomorrow. Now you’re thinking, “should I really go to the Emergency Room for this? Would this actually qualify as an ‘emergency?’ If I go to an Urgent Care, will they even be able to help? What do I do?!”
You’ve probably either heard this or had the experience yourself. Particularly if you have had to bring a child to an Urgent Care and the staff send you straight to the Emergency Room because they aren’t equipped to handle infants and young children. Or they don’t see kids all the time and don’t feel comfortable treating them.
Then why not go straight to the ER and skip the Urgent Care? Pediatric Emergency Rooms know how to take care of kids and can do so very well. But, how long will you be waiting? How much is the ER visit going to cost? What should we do?
It turns out that we have a solution. Pediatric Urgent Care is a new kind of practice that fills the gap between your child’s doctor and a Pediatric Emergency Room very well. The use of Pediatric Urgent Care facilities helps to take some of the pressure off Emergency Rooms and allows them to commit more resources to true emergencies.
It’s true, infants and children are not just small adults. They are unique and have their own set of health concerns. Experts that deal specifically with children have developed approaches to accurately assess these special patients. At Pacific Crest Children’s Urgent Care, we try our very best to do this as well as possible.
As a pediatric urgent care, Pacific Crest Children’s is set-up to treat children in an environment that is the least stressful to the child. There are toys to keep them busy while waiting, equipment that is the appropriate size for the child, and medications that are liquid rather than pills and in doses specific for infants and children.
We have numbing gels and other techniques that can be used to make shots, IVs, and stitches all much less painful for the child, not to mention providers, nurses, and medical assistants that are experts in the disease processes of children and how to treat them effectively.
All Urgent Care offices and Emergency Rooms have to treat patients based on acuity, or how sick/hurt each patient is. Generally, those who have the most serious illnesses get seen first. In Emergency Rooms, this often means long waits, sometimes several hours, for those with less serious ailments. Urgent care facilities operate under the same premise but wait times are significantly shorter. We also understand that just because an illness may not be life-threatening, does not mean that it isn’t important to help the child as quickly and compassionately as possibles.
COST IS AN ISSUE
Co-pays and most other costs are significantly cheaper in an urgent care compared to Emergency Rooms. A good estimate is that an urgent care cost savings is about 80% compared to an ER.
WHAT CAN A PEDIATRIC URGENT CARE DO FOR ME?
Pediatric urgent care clinics can treat fractures, burns, lacerations, coughs, cold symptoms, bladder infections, ear infections, allergic reactions, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. We can draw labs and perform X-rays. But, not everything is appropriate for an Urgent Care Clinic, even a pediatric specific Urgent Care like us.
WHEN SHOULD I NOT USE A PEDIATRIC URGENT CARE?
Fevers in children less than two months old, major traumatic injuries, and fractures where the skin is broken would be best treated in the Emergency Room. Most other ailments can be evaluated and treated in a pediatric urgent care setting.
Above all, when asking yourself where you should take your child, if you feel that your child is having a life-threatening event, they need to be seen in the ER and you should not hesitate to call 911 and get a ride with an ambulance. They are trained and have equipment and medicine available to help your child while en route to the hospital, and they can navigate that traffic safely at the same time.
As the old adage says, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. So, know your Pediatrician, Pediatric Emergency Room and Pacific Crest Children’s Urgent Care and know that they we are all here to help when your child needs it.
Here’s to a happy and healthy 2018!
*All photos courtesy of Pixabay