If you have ever been to the emergency room, you know how scary and uncomfortable an experience that can be. The waiting time is long and getting longer all of the time. The waiting time was about 47 minutes in 2003 but it went up to more than 58 minutes by 2009. When people are admitted to the hospital, many are forced to wait in hallways until an inpatient bed became available. This happened for 78% of people who were admitted from emergency departments in 2009. People who need testing can also seek out free STD testing centers, after hours clinics or try to find a family physician.
Ways to Avoid Needing to Go to the Emergency Room
- See a primary care physician regularly to stay healthy. When you see family care providers before you get really sick, you can get to know your doctor and they get to know you. Developing this relationship will result in better care. First of all, it is consistent. If you suffer from chronic conditions, they are managed much better when you receive regular care from a practitioner who knows you and your problems. They can help you treat problems before they get to the point where you need to be hospitalized. In the event that you do need to spend time in the hospital, they can save you the emergency room experience. People who get regular check ups and have someone to coordinate all of their care tend to be healthier than people who do not. Because they know you, they can tell you when you do need to visit an emergency room. If you go to your doctor before the emergency department, they can make your experience at the hospital easier by giving you a note explaining the reason you are there. If, for example, you have a note that your physician thinks you need to have your appendix removed, you will never even see the emergency department waiting room.
- Low cost insurance and care is available. If you do not have insurance through your employer, you can still get maintenance care. Many areas have at least one, free walk in clinic, low cost health clinic or community health clinic. Many cities have free STD testing centers. These are cheaper to visit than the emergency room, which is the most expensive place to get health care. If you are unsure where to go, call your city or county government and ask them. They will also know about where to find free STD testing centers . Some primary care doctors do offer sliding scale prices for people who do not have health insurance.
- After hours and urgent care clinics are great places for mild to moderate injuries. If you have sprained or strained something, you can avoid the emergency room by going to an after hours clinic. These often have much shorter waiting times than emergency rooms and are generally more pleasant. If your child has been injured playing sports, unless they suffered a head injury or major break, this is the way to go. These clinics can treat a wide array of illnesses and injuries and are a lot more pleasant than any emergency room can ever be. They can treat migraines, stomach ailments and other problems. They can tell you if your injury or illness should be evaluated at an emergency room. This are great because only about 30% of primary care doctors’ offices are open after hours.
Going to the emergency room should be the option you pick when you have no other choice. They cannot diagnose or treat a number of ailments. They should be used only when you have a true medical emergency and no other medical clinic or office can help. If you have been in an auto (or other) accident, have been stabbed or shot or have had a heart attack, the emergency room is the place you should go.
Finding health care when you do not have medical insurance can be a daunting prospect. If you look around you can find the low cost medical clinic or free STD testing centers to get the care you need without ever setting foot in an emergency room.