When seeking urgent care, it's important to understand the main differences between care for adults and care for children. Children have different medical needs than adults. Because of this, there are many medical facilities that cater specifically to adults or children.
What is Urgent Care?
If you get sick or injured during a time when your normal physician is not available, you can get urgent medical care. This is medical care that is after-hours. It is not emergency care, and should you should not go to an urgent care facility if the condition is life threatening. In this case, you should seek medical attention at an emergency room.
What is Treated at Urgent Care?
There are many different conditions that can be treated at either an adult or pediatric urgent care. For example:
- Burns or cuts
- Sore throat
- Broken bones
- Moderate to severe pain
- Sports injuries
- Cold or flu
What is Pediatric Urgent Care?
Pediatric urgent care is simply urgent care performed in an environment designed specifically for kids and by staff trained in pediatric medicine so you can ensure you child is comfortable and well cared for. Typically a pediatric urgent care is open when a child's pediatrician office is closed - nights, weekends, holidays.
How do Pediatric Urgent Care and Adult Urgent Differ?
There are only subtle differences in adult and pediatric urgent care. If the facility you are considering is a pediatric urgent care clinic, they are going to specialize in dealing with sick and hurt children. There will be pediatricians on staff, and the clinic may not take patients that are over a certain age. The age requirement varies by clinic, but can be anywhere between 16 and 21.
Adult urgent care clinics treat adults with injury or illness. Some of these clinics will also be willing to treat children. However, some adult clinics will only work with adults. Depending on the clinic, there may be a minimum age of anywhere from 16 to 21.
Why Should I Seen Urgent Care?
Urgent care is a good way to get the treatment you need when an emergency room visit is not necessary, but your primary care physician is not available. Consider the following:
- Urgent care clinics are generally cheaper than emergency room visits
- These clinics offer after-hours care, meaning that you can get medical care after normal business hours.
- Urgent care generally has shorter wait times than the emergency room.
Who Works at Pediatric or Adult Urgent Care Facilities?
There are a number of medical professionals you'll encounter when you visit an urgent care clinic. Many times, these clinics are staffed mostly with nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician's assistants. However, there are also going to be a number of doctors on staff. In a pediatric urgent care clinic, there will be one or more pediatricians available. In addition, these clinics usually have labs on site, meaning that you will probably encounter lab technicians, depending on the condition you're being treated for.
Adult urgent care and pediatric urgent care are very similar. Treatment methods may differ between children and adults, but the reason for seeking the care is the same between the two.