ER, Urgent Care, Primary Care: Which One Do I Use?

When a senior develops an urgent medical need, it can be difficult to know where to seek treatment, especially due to their often complex health history. In some cases it might be best to call their primary care physician (PCP), but in others, a trip to the emergency room may be in order.

As medical director of MyCareClinic at The Carlisle Naples, a senior community offering both independent and assisted living in Southwest Florida, and an urgent care physician at ER QuickCare, Dr. Carlos Paisan is no stranger to the complex medical decisions that seniors and their caregivers navigate on a daily basis.

Deciding where to seek care can be tough, and “if you make the wrong decision,” says Dr. Paisan, “you’re going to bounce around from one care setting to another. The more you bounce, the more physicians you will see, and the higher the likelihood that mistakes will be made.”

Below, Dr. Paisan offers guidelines to help caregivers determine which situations necessitate a visit to the hospital, which can be handled at an urgent care center, and which can wait for an appointment with a PCP.

Matching Medical Needs with Options

There are generally three options for urgent medical care: the emergency room, an urgent care clinic, or your primary care physician (PCP). Each setting is appropriate for different situations since they provide different levels and types of care on varying time frames. The first step in this process is determining the acuity or severity of a senior’s condition.

Emergency Medical Issues

The most critical health emergencies should always be dealt with by calling 911 and getting the senior to the emergency room as…

This article was sourced from AgingCare.com.

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