ALBERT LEA, Minn. — Evolutions in health care services and strategy have given patients a variety of options when it comes to receiving care from a provider. However, sometimes understanding what type of care is best for your particular need is challenging. Should you go to Urgent Care? Can you address your needs over the phone? Is it best to wait to schedule an appointment with your care team?
John Grzybowski, M.D., a Family Medicine physician in Albert Lea says, “We want to help you explore your different care options and understand when and where you can get the best care for you and your family.” He adds, “It’s important to get the right care at the right place and time.”
So, what are your care options and when is it appropriate to use them?
The name says it all. If it’s an emergency, then you should come to the Emergency Department (ED). An emergency is when a condition arises that you deem severe, often times a life or death situation. Good examples are heart attack symptoms, stroke or a compound fracture — a bone that protrudes through the skin.
The ED is set up with the resources needed to effectively diagnose and treat life or death situations. Choose the ED if you have immediate worries about your health.
If, from a medical standpoint you feel like your ailment can’t wait tomorrow, Urgent Care is the place to go. Specializing in the treatment of minor illness and injury, Urgent Care providers commonly diagnose and treat colds and cough, ear infections, minor burns and cuts, rashes and other non-life threatening conditions.
“Your need should truly be urgent if you plan to use Urgent Care,” says Dr. Grzybowski. “It is a level in between emergency and primary care.”
“By calling the nurse line you may save yourself an office visit. Medical advice is offered 24/7 over the phone by a qualified medical professional,” says Dr. Grzybowski. Nurse Line can assist with virtually all acute health care needs. Common conditions include ear aches, coughs, colds, urinary tract infections, pediatric conjunctivitis (pink eye) and yeast infections. Some situations will still require patients to set up a face-to-face appointment with a provider or seek immediate care.
Nurse Line is a free service. Call 1-888-999-2386 (toll free) to speak with an expert nurse from Mayo Clinic Health System.
“Understanding when and where to seek the care that’s right for you can be puzzling. Be sure to consider these different options and the guidelines to receive the right care at the right time and place.”