Orthopaedic Immediate Care vs The Emergency Room
No one expects to sprain an ankle on the way to work. The first reaction for many people with this type of common injury is to head for the nearest emergency room. Others limp around for days, hoping the injury will go away. In the pain of the moment, it can be hard to know which option is the right one.
In recent years, more patients are turning to Orthopaedic Immediate Care clinics with a wide range of orthopaedic injuries. Orthopaedic Immediate Care can provide you with quicker access to specialized care than an ER would. The main benefits include:
- Direct access to specialists
- Specialist copay like an office visit
- Lower copays than ER or immediate care at hospitals
- Comprehensive, definitive care
It can take days to see a doctor just to get a referral for a specialist. Meanwhile, walk-in clinics at MidAmerica allow you to see an orthopedic specialist, get a diagnosis, and receive treatment, all in one visit.
Orthopaedic Immediate Care Injuries
Specialists at Orthopaedic Immediate Care diagnose and treat injuries related to the musculoskeletal system. You might not be familiar with that term, but you’ve heard of many of these ailments and may have experienced one or two of them yourself, especially if you play a sport or have a physically active job. They relate to bones, ligaments, muscles, and joints, and can result from common accidents as well as overuse of the affected area.
When to Use Orthopaedic Immediate Care
There’s nothing worse than waiting unnecessarily for days or weeks for a diagnosis, worrying that your condition is worsening. Our walk-in clinics will give you immediate attention. There are many injuries you can take to an Orthopaedic Immediate Care clinic, provided it isn’t life threatening:
- Fractures (ankle/femur)
- Dislocations (shoulder/elbow/knee/finger)
- Acute hand trauma or injury
- Lacerations and tendon injuries
- Knee, leg, ankle, and foot injuries
- Pediatric injuries
- Hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder injuries
- Back and neck Injuries
- Overuse/sports injuries
- Strained muscles or ligaments
- Ligament tears
- Swollen, pained joints
You can get treated that same day thanks to on-site diagnostics and our Orthopaedic Ambulatory Surgery Center.
When to use Emergency Room
Orthopaedic Immediate Care clinics are not available 24/7. Nor are they equipped to handle life-threatening injuries. The ER is there to save lives, as well as manage any type of injury or condition that comes through the door.
In general, you want to head to the ER to treat a major health problem. Unlike a clinic, the ER is available any time of day or night. Hospitals are prohibited by law from denying a patient care in an emergency. Head there if you face a possible life-threatening injury – such as anything that causes excessive bleeding – or if you want to treat an acute injury during off hours.
Many types of injuries and ailments would warrant a trip to the ER:
- Major injuries and burns
- Chest pain or shortness of breath
- Severe stomach pain
- Confusion or significant change in mental status
- Broken bones puncturing the skin
- Multiple acute injuries
- Fainting or seizures associated with injury
- Hard blow to the head
- Severe allergic reactions
Possible Downsides of ER
A busy emergency room can expose patients to unknown illnesses while they spend hours waiting to speak to someone. Although they’re sometimes necessary, you may have less control over your overall treatment at the ER.
Many experienced, highly trained doctors work in emergency rooms. However, you might not be able to see a specialist who can accurately diagnose more nuanced musculoskeletal conditions. In comparison, Orthopaedic Immediate Care clinics are often the more time-saving and cost-effective option. Getting specialized care from the beginning can lead to a more streamlined process and quicker recovery.
Even with a minor injury, the costs of an ER visit can add up. If you haven’t met your deductible or lack health insurance, you may have to pay for some or all of your visit. Even with health insurance, the cost is often higher than at Immediate Care. The average emergency room visit in 2017 cost $1,389. That figure doesn’t include extra charges such as drugs, blood tests, IVs, or other treatments.
In the end, Orthopaedic Immediate Care can give patients more control over their care, as well as their medical expenses.
To schedule an appointment for your muscle, bone or joint injury, or if you have questions about treatment options, call MidAmerica Orthopaedics at (708) 237-7200. Immediate care patients come from Worth, Evergreen Park, Burbank, Alsip, Bridgeview, Frankfort, Tinley Park, Orland Park, Homer Glen, New Lenox and Oak Lawn.