11 Simple Tips on How To Select The Best Primary Care Provider

How to select the best primary care provider

11 Simple Tips on How To Select The Best Primary Care Provider

Prioritizing your health these days is non-negotiable. Having an expert medical professional means, you enjoy life with a health expert at your back. They can give you the medical attention when you need it and possibly, where you need it. For this reason, having access to a primary care provider is a must. But do you know how to select the best primary care provider?

Below are some tips you’d need to find the best provider for your medical needs.

Understand What You Need

Understanding that there is a problem is the first step toward solving it. To find a good primary care doctor, you need to identify your healthcare needs first. Your needs may vary from physical, mental, emotional, or physical, to name a few. 

To identify your health needs, you must first ask yourself important questions. For example, are you suffering from a specific ailment? What medical conditions do you particularly require? What part of your body needs medical attention the most? Formulating questions like these and answering them can help you fully understand what you’d need from a primary care doctor.

Check for primary care services offer

Check the Services They Offer

Primary care providers will often offer various services to their patients. Your job is to check what they provide to understand what service options are available for you. You’d want to find a doctor who offers a wide range of services instead of seeking different facilities to cater to your diverse needs.

For example, if you prefer receiving treatments from your home rather than on hospital grounds, you’d want to find a primary care doctor who can service you in your home. Therefore, it would be more advantageous to choose such providers instead of going out of your way. 

Consider their Experience

When selecting a primary care provider, you should choose someone who has experience in their field. Primary care providers are your first stop in medical care, so you must be sure that whomever you’re picking is fit for the job. Most primary care physicians are doctors, but nurse practitioners and physician assistants can be PCPs too.

Choose a primary care provider with a proven track record in their respective specialties. You can also ask them if they have board certifications. Additionally, try asking them for past patient references and their employment history. Every patient-caregiver relationship must start with trust between the two parties, and asking them for their qualifications can help establish that trust.

Check if They’re Certified

Certifications are solid and tangible proof that a primary care provider has the training and necessary skill set to offer their services. To know if they are certified, ask them for three documents.

Accreditation. Accredited primary care providers went through rigorous training beyond their academic credentials to sharpen their aptitudes in their respective fields of expertise.

Board Certification. This is the highest qualification any medical professional can acquire. If your primary care provider is board certified, they’ve gone the extra mile to obtain the training apart from essential accreditation.

License. A license shows that a medical professional can legally practice their profession. 

Consider Their Location

Location is arguably one of the most crucial factors when selecting a primary care provider. Would you want to drive miles away from home to address urgent medical attention? The distance between you and your chosen primary care provider is essential to access their services whenever you need to quickly.

Try to look for a local provider so you won’t have to go out of your way, especially during emergencies. If you can’t find a local one, find the nearest one, so traveling to them is easy, especially if you need regular checkups. 

 
Primary care service availability

Consider Their Availability

Another thing to consider is the doctor’s availability. Ensuring that you can contact and access your care provider is necessary, especially if emergencies arise. 

Here are some of the questions you need to ask them:

  • Can you access them when you need them? 
  • Are they available 24 hours a day? 
  • Can you contact them throughout the year? 
  • Do they work during the holidays or on weekends? 
  • If they’re not available, who will replace them for the time being?

Remember that you rely on them all the time since sickness doesn’t take off-days or vacation leaves.

Assess Resource Availability

Your selection of primary care providers may have the skillset to do their job correctly, but they would need the right resources to execute it. These resources include their trusty team and equipment. 

For this reason, you need to check if they have the equipment necessary to fulfill their services. Due to the ever-advancing technology, medical equipment is constantly improved for efficiency and accuracy. They must also have a reliable team of professionals they can rely on to assist them in providing their healthcare services.

If a primary care provider doesn’t have the resources, try to ask them if they’re partnered with certain hospitals where they can execute their medical operations.

When Should You Go to Urgent Care 

Urgent care can handle non-life-threatening medical conditions. So with that in mind, you should go to urgent care if your illness or injury needs to be taken care of within 24 hours, like minor broken bones or cuts that need stitching. And although they usually handle last-minute care, they can’t always deal with life-threatening medical conditions.

If your healthcare provider isn’t accessible at the time being, then an urgent care center might be the right place for you. However, keep in mind that these facilities are much like business establishments. They may be ideal for dealing with minor emergencies outside the 9-to-5, but they also have opening and closing times. 

Below are some of the most common conditions that urgent care centers deal with daily:

    • Minor fractures
    • X-rays 
    • Sore throat
    • Back pain
    • Mild burns
    • Rashes
    • Strains and sprains
    • Common colds
    • Small cuts that may require stitching
    • Blood tests
    • Bumps
    • Minor headaches
    • Animal bites
    • Asthma
    • Allergies

Since urgent cares deal with relatively simple health concerns, these facilities usually cater to more patients at a much faster pace. So if you have a minor injury, an easily treatable condition, or a simple test, you’re more likely to get better and faster service from an urgent care center. 

 
Primary care service reviews

Research Reviews

Reviews from previous patients reflect how the doctors perform. Try your best to check for reviews on listings, blogs, social media, and online resources to see if they fit your needs. If the people’s reviews are good, they can be a good candidate for you.

Remember that not everything you find on the internet is true, especially in the medical community. So be sure to check for verified sources when seeking medical care. One of the best places to start is with your health insurance website.

Seek Opinions

Ask for referrals from the people closest to you. Since you trust them, they can give you the proper referrals to qualified doctors who can provide you with the medical care you need. 

Ask your friends, relatives, and even co-workers if they know a good healthcare provider they can provide. If you have specific medical requirements, ensure your doctor specializes in that field or has access to the necessary resources to address your needs.

Factor In the Costs

Don’t forget to factor in the costs! When selecting a primary care provider, determine first if you have the budget. Various doctors and physicians have different service offerings that have diverse price ranges. Depending on the specificity and your condition’s treatment method, the price will either be high or budget-friendly.

With that in mind, you should choose a primary care provider that offers reasonable pricing for your ailments without compromising on quality. But be careful of settling with cheap services – they may have compromised quality. Remember that your health is on the line, and subpar healthcare is not an option.

Consider Continual Care

The role of primary care providers doesn’t stop during office hours. So when selecting a doctor for your needs, ask them if they handle after-hours health-related concerns. Also, ask them who will cover for them if they’re out of the office.

 

Why Primary Care Is the Best Way to Get Care

Why primary care is important

Why Primary Care Is the Best Way to Get Care

Primary health care is necessary if you want to maintain the health and well-being of your family. Each of the members of your household may have a particular health concern that needs proper medical attention, such as asthma, tooth decay, diabetes, and more. Health conditions like these will require the help of a medical professional, and luckily for you, primary care providers are here to help. 

Primary care providers care about you and your family’s overall health. They can help you diagnose a health condition you’re not even aware of. And if you’re at risk of certain serious illnesses, they can help you with preventative measures that can put your health back on track.

This article will show you why primary care is essential, its advantages, and other relevant information you need to know about primary health care services.

Different types of general practitioners

Are There Different Types of General Practitioners?

There are many types of healthcare providers that offer primary care. Many of them are specialists, and they’ve trained extensively to help particular patients with specific health concerns.

General Practitioners (GPs). Their job is to treat diseases that suddenly emerge and provide an early diagnosis. Sometimes called family doctors deal with patients of varying ages – even the whole family.

Pediatricians. They are responsible for taking care of the medical needs of infants, children, and adolescents. They can diagnose and treat many childhood illnesses, from minor to severe health problems.

Elderly Caregivers. They take care of the health and well-being of older adults. 

Obstetricians and Gynecologists. They primarily focus on pregnancy and female reproductive health.

Nurses and Medical Assistants. They can provide primary care too, but focus more on taking care of the patient.

Why go to primary care providers

Why Go to Primary Care Providers?

Regular doctor visits are necessary to keep track of your health. But unfortunately, the majority of people these days are oblivious that they may have serious health concerns like diabetes or heart disease. Seeking the help of primary care providers can help notice the symptoms of health problems as early as possible. And by doing so, you can prevent those health concerns from worsening by getting a diagnosis and treatment early on.

Going to primary care providers like GPs and pediatricians and spotting an ailment early is way cheaper than treating said illness at its later stages. Remember: prevention is always better than cure.

Advantages of Primary Health Care

There are several advantages to relying on primary health care.

Access to Expanded Health Services

Primary care can help get people in need access to quality health care. With access to primary health care, individuals from remote or underprivileged areas can better understand their current health condition, thus opening up the possibilities for treatment for their specific ailments in the nearest future. Please do note that specialized care may require a referral.

Advantages of primary health care

Improved Care Quality

General practitioners are better than specialists in certain conditions. However, studies state that specialists strictly adhere to following disease-specific guidelines when dealing with health issues. This is linked to more effective preventative therapies and prescription decisions. 

On the other hand, general practitioners are sometimes better than in-house hospital specialists when dealing with specific conditions like diabetes. Because of their holistic approach to health, the research above shows that primary care offers better overall quality.

Emphasized Preventative Measures

Primary care puts heavy emphasis on preventative interventions. These interventions are characterized by the broad changes that have drastic effects on health, like quitting smoking, staying physically active, breastfeeding, and following a healthy diet plan. A study made by the National Library of Medicine concludes that the U.S states with higher ratios of physician-to-population are more likely to enjoy the results of preventive interventions like lower smoking rates and less obesity.

Early Health Conditions Management

One of the best reasons to seek the help of a primary care provider is the early management of your health conditions. Primary care providers will often propose screening tests to identify health changes that may determine the early onset of particular diseases. These screening tests include checking your blood pressure, breast examinations, pap smears, and mammograms, to name a few. 

Research even tells us that hospitalized patients experiencing treatable health conditions like hypertension are four times more likely to have less access to a primary health care provider. 

Primary Care Delivery Characteristics

Primary healthcare providers emphasize an individual’s overall health rather than the status of a single organ or system, which may contribute to desirable results like lower death rates because of the care provider’s cumulative impact. As a result, you’d often see primary health physicians and their patients form solid and continuing relationships. 

This bond is helpful for health professionals because it can help them deal with the patient’s situation better. This relationship can also help care providers to offer proper suggestions to their patients.

Reduced Requirement for Specialist Treatment

Specialists are named that way for a reason. Their expertise is needed the most when special care is necessary, and most of the time, that is not the case. General practitioners can deliver primary health care in a timely and practical manner, which can reduce the need for specialized care. 

General practitioners can help avoid the necessity for disease-specific care by providing preventative interventions to the patients, thus helping them rely less on the help of specialists. Furthermore, once the patient follows these preventative measures consistently, they can decrease the risk of specialized treatment, which can be more stressful and cost-inhibitive.

How to Look for the Best Primary Care Health Center Nearby

If you want to find the best primary health care provider nearest to you, you have to do some research. The first thing that typically pops into mind is to search online. However, you can also use viable methods, such as asking for referrals and following word of mouth.

Any research must be based on data, so once you select nearby primary care providers, you have to vet each by checking their online reviews, asking their previous patients about the quality of their services, and more. You should follow these same protocols when looking for a reliable primary care provider in Connecticut.

Sleep Insomnia Treatment (What to Do When You Can’t Sleep)

Sleep Insomnia Treatment

Sleep Insomnia Treatment (What to Do When You Can’t Sleep)

Tossing and turning on your bed during your bedtime is normal. But if you’re experiencing it for a prolonged period, you might have a medical condition that needs immediate attention: insomnia.

Insomnia can have drastic effects on your life, and if it’s not addressed correctly, it can lead to more severe health problems. Whether it’s caused by stress on work, finances, or relationships, you should know that lack of quality sleep has severe repercussions on your body, mind, and emotions. However, if the symptoms begin to affect your day-to-day life, it is crucial to consult with a sleep specialist to understand and better address your condition.

Insomnia: Your Guide to the Sleep Disorder

Insomnia is a disorder that makes sleeping difficult. It can also affect a person’s ability to stay asleep and not be able to go back to sleep. Our body’s refusal to sleep can result in feelings of fatigue and stress. This sleep disorder is so common that 30% to 40% of American adults report insomnia symptoms annually.

Not getting enough sleep has negative consequences for your physical and emotional well-being. While insomnia itself can be a symptom of some psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression, experts increasingly recognize it as a factor in developing and progressing other mental health issues such as sadness, anxiety, and even suicidal ideation.

As for physical side effects, insomnia can cause daytime fatigue, irritability, and even gastrointestinal symptoms. Lack of sleep is also attributed to weight gain, leading to serious medical issues if not given proper attention. Insomnia can even cultivate unhealthy habits that may lead to the development of heart disease.

Lack of energy, difficulty remembering things, a shorter attention span, delayed thinking, decreased sex drive, poor decision making, irritability, daytime sleepiness, and other mood changes can result from not getting enough sleep.

For these reasons, you must understand what insomnia is and how it can drastically affect your overall health and well-being. Therefore, the following is some crucial information concerning this sleep condition.

Types of Insomnia

Types of Insomnia

Acute and chronic insomnia are the two most common kinds of insomnia. 

Acute Insomnia

Acute insomnia, also known as early insomnia, short-term insomnia, or adjustment insomnia, is a brief period of difficulty sleeping. This type of insomnia occurs due to a stressful or traumatic incident and typically goes away without treatment. Roughly 25% of Americans have acute insomnia, but about 75% of these people recover without developing persistent sleep problems or chronic insomnia.

Here’s an excellent example of an episode of acute insomnia. You may have lost a loved one due to an accident, and stress from such a traumatic event led to unhealthy sleeping habits. But over time, as you move on from grieving their loss, you eventually get back on your feet and return to your regular sleeping habits. This is acute insomnia: a sleeping disorder that comes and goes.

Acute insomnia can continue anywhere from a few days to several months. Symptoms gradually dissipate as the person develops ways to cope with the stressful event that produced the sleeping condition. However, keep in mind that acute insomnia may worsen if not given proper attention and lead to a more severe type of insomnia that leaves you constantly tired and unmotivated.

Short-term sleeping disorders like acute insomnia can happen to children and adults, but it’s more common for women to develop it. It can also arise during pregnancy and a woman’s menopausal stages.

Chronic Insomnia

Chronic Insomnia

When insomnia lasts for more than three months or even years, it can be categorized as chronic insomnia. Much like acute insomnia, chronic insomnia can also occur because of stress, traumatic life events, or unhealthy habits that disrupt sleep. However, the most prevalent contributor to this type of insomnia is stress, which can drastically affect your daily life in various ways.

When people have chronic insomnia, they feel tired, even after waking up. As a result, they constantly lack the necessary energy to accomplish everyday tasks like taking long walks. Imagine what it feels like to consistently have a lousy sleep for months or years if a night or two without decent sleep can leave a person grumpy. 

Chronic insomnia can take a toll on both your mind and body. Long stretches of sleep deprivation can cause extreme mood swings, making you more likely to feel deeper negative emotions like anger and sadness. Chronic insomnia, if left untreated, can develop into severe mood disorders such as clinical depression and anxiety.

A Journal of the American Heart Association research back in 2021 states that insomnia can be a potential risk factor for a highly fatal brain aneurysm. It comes with other risk factors like smoking, high blood pressure, and heavy alcohol consumption. For this reason, anyone with chronic insomnia must deal with the disorder swiftly, or else they face life-threatening medical problems.

Symptoms of Insomnia

Insomnia Symptoms

Individuals who find it challenging to sleep may have acute or chronic insomnia. The main difference is their duration. Acute insomnia lasts briefly for about weeks or three months, while chronic insomnia may last years. However, they share similar symptoms that usually stem from the exact causes, primarily stress. 

Below are the common symptoms of people who have insomnia:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Waking up throughout the night
  • Bad sleep quality
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Poor memory
  • Inability to concentrate and stay focused
  • Mood swings 
  • Social dysfunction
  • Irritability 
  • Not feeling well-rested even after sleeping
  • Increased instances of committing mistakes and accidents
  • Difficulty in dealing with work, school, and even personal relationships

If you’re experiencing these symptoms, then you may have insomnia. Taking steps in dealing with insomnia may be difficult, but every step can make a difference in recovery. 

Causes of Insomnia

Insomnia Causes

We’ve talked about stress and traumatic events as contributing factors to insomnia, but there are also other factors you need to watch out for. Aside from life-altering events, chemicals can also affect your sleeping habits. Lifestyle choices are also elements that can disrupt your sleeping patterns. Knowing what causes insomnia can help you make better decisions about how to enhance the quality of your sleep. 

The Journal of Depression and Anxiety published research about how insomnia treatment plans don’t apply to everyone. The study states that hyperarousal in cognitive, behavioral, neurological, and endocrine systems is linked to insomnia. However, it clearly says that there’s no singular cause for insomnia and that treatment plans aren’t one size fits all. 

Your healthcare professional may need to do some tests to rule out any specific health conditions you may have. By doing so, your care provider can properly diagnose if you only have insomnia or if there are other underlying medical issues that you need to deal with simultaneously with insomnia. 

Here are the most common causes of insomnia:

  • Stress
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Chronic pain
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Hot flashes
  • Sleep disorders (e.g., sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome)
  • Neurological disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Mental health issues (e.g., depression and anxiety)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Digestive problems
  • Allergies
  • Respiratory problems
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Drug use
  • Graveyard shifts at work
  • Smoking
  • Taking certain medications (e.g., antidepressants, decongestants, and steroids)
  • Traumatic life events

The causes of insomnia above are lengthy, and you may be confused about what contributes to your insomnia. For this reason, you should consult a sleep doctor in Connecticut so they can adequately assess your health condition and provide you with a treatment plan catered to your needs.

Treatments for Insomnia

Insomnia Treatment

The quality of your sleep can help dictate how healthy you are physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you’re having difficulty sleeping for prolonged periods, you might have insomnia. Improving your sleep is crucial in transforming your life into a much healthier one. Maintaining proper sleep hygiene is vital to treating and preventing insomnia.

If you’re asking yourself how to treat insomnia, the tips below can help you tremendously.

  • Avoid alcohol
  • Wind down before bedtime
  • Make your room sleep-friendly
  • Get appropriate sleeping pillows 
  • Regulate your room’s temperature
  • Avoid blue light an hour before bedtime
  • Start a sleep ritual
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • Workout in the morning
  • Invest in a good mattress

The tips we’ve listed above are just a few natural methods to enhance your sleep quality dramatically. These tips might be helpful, but it’s still best to consult a sleep doctor first to diagnose your condition properly.

Final Thoughts

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that can drastically affect the quality of your life. Not only that, but it can also pose some serious health risks. If you’re having difficulty sleeping and you think you have insomnia, consult a sleep doctor in Connecticut to better understand your condition.

What Is Chiropractic Care (Should You Consider for Your Health)

What is chiropractic care

What Is Chiropractic Care (Should You Consider for Your Health)

More and more people are starting to find effective ways to deal with chronic pain. One of these ways is chiropractic care, a tried and tested solution for coping with discomforts that substantially ruin our quality of life. But, of course, we’re talking about back pain, neck pains, knee pains, and headaches — health inconveniences that can lead to severe problems if left unattended.

Chiropractic care is starting to gain attention on the internet, and for good reasons. Many people had expressed sheer satisfaction when they received adjustments, mainly due to the benefits they’ve experienced after multiple sessions. With chiropractic care, you can significantly improve your health and well-being while not relying on medications that may cost you a fortune in the long run.

This article will show you what chiropractic care is and some good reasons why you should consider it to improve your health and well-being.

What is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic care is a non-invasive alternative medicine that deals with diagnosing, treating, and preventing musculoskeletal disorders, especially ones found in the spine. It’s a hands-on, drug-free practice that is safe and effective for relieving pain and improving your body’s overall function. 

Chiropractors are the professionals in charge of employing chiropractic care. Chiropractors in Connecticut can deal with chronic pains like neck pain, lower back pain, and shoulder pain. They can also help handle certain headaches, injury rehabilitation, and more. In addition, they are experts in assessing and treating the spine, muscle, and nervous system problems. 

What is a chiropractic adjustment

What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is a procedure wherein a chiropractor will manipulate your muscles and joints using their hands and other small tools. Their goal is to impart a controlled, abrupt force to certain joints to achieve more significant spinal motion and improve your body’s physical function. Unfortunately, the people who usually receive chiropractic adjustments are the ones who suffer from back or neck pains. 

Is Chiropractic Care Good for Everyone?

Chiropractic care effectively relieves lower back pain, neck pain, sciatic leg pains, and even headaches. It’s an efficacious remedy for all ages, including children and adults. The people who often receive chiropractic adjustments range from 45 to 64 years old. 

Chiropractic treatment is an excellent technique to treat chronic pain, but it is not for everyone. It is not a cure-all, either for pain or any health issues. If your pain doesn’t originate from joint dysfunction, it’s better to see a doctor to help solve it. You should also avoid chiropractic adjustments if you have contraindications such as severe osteoporosis, spinal cancer, spinal abnormalities, or if you’ve had a stroke or have a high risk of stroke.

What if you have back pain

What if You Have Back Pain?

Back pain is arguably the most common reason why people visit a chiropractor. Statistics show that 80% of Americans will likely experience back pain at some point. Most people who experience back pain sit for prolonged hours due to their work. Such a setup puts much pressure on their spines, resulting in lower back pain.

Consult a chiropractor if you’re suffering from back pain, particularly in the lower back. They can assess your condition and formulate an actionable plan on how they can alleviate your pain effectively and solve your lumbar problem. 

Why See a Chiropractor?

Seeing a chiropractor will significantly affect your quality of life. Contrary to popular belief, chiropractic care doesn’t just revolve around the spine – it also involves your nervous system and the majority of your body. The primary goal of chiropractic care is to enhance your body’s function and quality of life by improving your musculoskeletal health.

Some of the expected benefits of chiropractic care include:

  • Better sleep
  • Improved digestion
  • Enhanced cognition
  • Improved range of motion
  • Lower blood pressure

These benefits are only the indirect advantages of chiropractic adjustment, aside from relieving your chronic pain.

When Should You Consider Chiropractic Care?

Chronic back pain is an excellent reason to consider a chiropractic visit. There are many factors contributing to back pain, such as poor posture, how long you have been standing up, and the nature of your work. 

If you suffer from neck, shoulder, or knee pain not due to advanced osteoarthritis, you may reap benefits from seeing a chiropractor. In addition, people who experience migraines and tension headaches should consider chiropractic care since most headaches stem from alignment issues. 

Just choose a licensed professional chiropractor to provide you with the care you need. A reliable chiropractor can relieve you of all the issues mentioned above and even ease muscle tensions since some clinics offer muscle therapy too. 

What result can you expect from chiropractic care

What Result Can You Expect?

People who suffer from chronic pain can experience relief without surgery or medication. In addition, people who suffer from headaches and migraines will benefit significantly from chiropractic care, as evidence suggests it can help lower migraines’ intensity and frequency.

Those who rely on medications like opioid painkillers to relieve headaches and migraines will depend less on them. For example, a study in 2020 revealed that adults who visited a chiropractor are less likely to get opioid prescriptions than those who only chose to see their doctors.

There are also other benefits to expect after several sessions with your chiropractor, including: 

  • Improved neck pain
  • Fewer headache symptoms
  • Improved posture
  • Possibly fewer osteoarthritis symptoms
  • Improved athletic performance

Receiving chiropractic care differs from person to person, so it’s still best for you to consult a licensed professional chiropractor in Connecticut to see what procedure best fits you.

Conclusion

Chronic pain can be effectively treated with chiropractic treatments. Chiropractic adjustments are generally suitable for everyone from children to adults, except for those with special conditions like stroke or spine cancer risks. Chiropractic therapy has numerous advantages, including improved sleep, pain relief, and improved physical functions.

It is essential to understand that even if chiropractic care is effective, it’s not a “cure-all” substitute for most conditions. Therefore, it’s still best for you to consult a local professional chiropractor and ask them what’s the best course of action for your situation.

Emergency Room or Urgent Care (Where Do I Go?)

Emergency Room or Urgent Care

Emergency Room or Urgent Care
(Where Do I Go?)

Medical emergencies may happen to us at any given time. More often than not, we may have injuries or illnesses that will surprise us at any moment. And if these issues need immediate medical attention, you have two main options on where you should go: either urgent care or an emergency room. 

Both urgent care centers and emergency rooms in Connecticut can handle immediate medical situations. So, whether you have a broken bone, are experiencing difficulty breathing, or require a blood test, both are the way to go. However, their capabilities and handling of patients distinguish them from one another.

What is the difference between urgent care and an emergency room? This article will show you the clear distinctions between the two.

The Difference Between Urgent Care and Emergency Room

While both facilities are meant to handle emergencies, they have distinct differences. It’s important to remember that urgent care and emergency rooms have their characteristics designed to deal with different scenarios. Understanding the distinction between the two will help you make an informed decision in an emergency.

So, where would you go if a medical emergency arises: urgent care or emergency room?

The short answer is: it depends.

Urgent Care Centers

Many people know urgent care centers through different names. Some call them after-hours clinics, while others call them minute clinics or minor emergency centers. The best way to think about urgent care centers is standard medical clinics since they deal with illnesses that aren’t immediately life-threatening.

Some of the illnesses that urgent care centers deal with are the following:

 

It’s also important to understand that these establishments don’t have a regulating body overseeing them. With that in mind, they’re not required to accept patients who can’t afford their services.

Urgent care centers usually have the following facilities:

Appointments. Most urgent care allow walk-in patients, while some don’t even entertain appointments. Some centers allow patients to set a same-day appointment, while others add these patients to a waitlist.

Operating Hours. The vast majority of urgent care centers are often throughout the year, including evenings and weekends.

Staffing. An urgent care is usually composed of two prominent individuals: a physician and an advanced care practitioner (either a nurse or physician assistant). These practitioners often have varying specialties.

Laboratories. Most of these clinics have at least a limited lab capable of handling simple tests like blood tests and urinalysis. 

Payment. These clinics often require you to pay upfront or during servicing.

What is emergency rooms

Emergency Rooms

The stark contrast between urgent care facilities and emergency rooms is how they deal with anyone who comes to their facilities. The law requires emergency rooms (ERs) to comply with the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). Whether the incoming patient can afford their services or not, emergency rooms must accept them. Most emergency rooms are connected to a larger hospital capable of providing a much more comprehensive range of medical services. 

Emergency rooms are the facilities you’d run into when in a severe or life-threatening medical condition. Some of the cases these facilities can deal with include the following:

  • Seizures
  • Severe burns
  • High fevers
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Difficulty breathing

 

Like most emergency rooms in the world, these facilities can suffer from overloading. However, they are perfect for handling any medical emergency. 

Emergency rooms usually have the following characteristics:

Appointment. Emergency rooms don’t accept appointments. Incoming patients must go through a triage process once they arrive. This process helps the ER staff determine who needs medical attention first.

Operating Hours. ERs are open all the time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Staffing. ERs must have at least one physician in the vicinity at all times. Advanced practice providers also help the doctors attend to emergent conditions.

Laboratories. ERs can carry out many diagnostic tests like cancer tests, allergy tests, genetic testing, and more.

Payment. Unlike urgent care centers, ERs don’t require their patients to pay upfront or at the time of service.

When to go to urgent care

When Should You Go to Urgent Care 

Urgent care can handle non-life-threatening medical conditions. So with that in mind, you should go to urgent care if your illness or injury needs to be taken care of within 24 hours, like minor broken bones or cuts that need stitching. And although they usually handle last-minute care, they can’t always deal with life-threatening medical conditions.

If your healthcare provider isn’t accessible at the time being, then an urgent care center might be the right place for you. However, keep in mind that these facilities are much like business establishments. They may be ideal for dealing with minor emergencies outside the 9-to-5, but they also have opening and closing times. 

Below are some of the most common conditions that urgent care centers deal with daily:

  • Minor fractures
  • X-rays 
  • Sore throat
  • Back pain
  • Mild burns
  • Rashes
  • Strains and sprains
  • Common colds
  • Small cuts that may require stitching
  • Blood tests
  • Bumps
  • Minor headaches
  • Animal bites
  • Asthma
  • Allergies

 

Since urgent cares deal with relatively simple health concerns, these facilities usually cater to more patients at a much faster pace. So if you have a minor injury, an easily treatable condition, or a simple test, you’re more likely to get better and faster service from an urgent care center. 

When to Go to the Emergency Rooms

If you think your concern is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention, the emergency rooms are the proper establishments for you. Unlike urgent care, ERs can deal with significant to severe emergency conditions. For example, traumatic injuries like gunshot wounds, blunt force wounds, or motor accidents are medical situations you’d often see in an ER.

Some life-threatening situations where emergency rooms are ideal are the following:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Poisoning
  • Blunt force trauma
  • Broken bones
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Severe burns
  • Vision loss
  • Severe hemorrhage
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Persistent bleeding
  • Any condition that might need surgery

 

The list of conditions above is not complete but rather guidelines that can significantly help you determine if you need to go to an emergency room or not. Remember not to downplay the symptoms you’re experiencing because doing so might put your life at risk. If you’re unsure whether you need to visit an emergency room, still head to the emergency room for a comprehensive evaluation. 

Cost of urgent care vs emergency room

Cost: Urgent Care Vs. Emergency Rooms

It is important to note that urgent care centers are usually cheaper than availing the services of emergency rooms. Estimates even suggest that the former’s services are ten times cheaper than the latter. One of the few reasons for this is that urgent care centers receive most of their earnings from people who have private insurance. In addition, many urgent cares also accept Medicare and even worker’s insurance compensation. 

If you have private insurance, an ER visit copay will range from $50 to hundreds of dollars, depending on the health plan you’re currently holding. Some plans will waive the ER copayment if you need to be admitted to the hospital. With that in mind, check your health plan’s coverage for further details.

The total out-of-pocket upfront costs for an ER visit are more likely to be higher than the ER copayment. This is because the establishment would need to run some crucial tests, not to mention the specialists that need to see you. Also, depending on your plan’s deductible — and if you’ve met your deductible for the year — you can be stuck with a high cost.

Nobody wants a horrifically large ER bill. Luckily, the No Surprise Act prevents out-of-network and balance billing, ensuring that your ER costs are more predictable and reasonable. Starting this year, ER claims will be covered at in-network rates, and people now have more ways to seek assistance if everything goes wrong and get stuck with what they believe is a surprise bill.

Conclusion

It’s essential to know the difference between an urgent care center and an emergency room. Knowing the different capabilities of the two facilities will give you a better understanding of the options available to you in case of an emergency. Remember: urgent care centers are for minor non-life-threatening circumstances, while emergency rooms deal with life-threatening medical conditions.

If you’re looking for urgent care in Connecticut, don’t hesitate to call us. We provide urgent care for daily family life, and we serve quality care and affordable treatment.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQs

Coronavirus Covid-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) FAQ

Last updated October 2021

Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, all locations are able to test for COVID19. We have rapid antigen testing, rapid PCR, and traditional PCR testing options available. Rapid PCR tests are given based on availability. If none are available on site, PCR tests will be sent out to a third party lab.

Yes, our rapid antigen testing provides results in about 30 minutes. We utilize the Quidel Sofia 2 antigen tests. We also have rapid molecular testing using the Abbott ID Now.

Rapid PCR testing is available on site as well with results in 40 minutes. DOCS is utilizing the Cepheid rapid PCR test.

Please click this link to get a copy of your test results. If for any reason you cannot get your results online, please chat with our web team using the link below for assistance or return to the clinic to pick up a copy of your results.

Testing is by appointment only by same day appointments are available. You may walk in for any other urgent care needs

Yes, an appointment is needed for COVID testing

No referral is needed

PCR tests collected and run on site will be reported the same day; PCR tests collected on site but sent out to a third party lab to be run will be resulted in 36-72 hours.

Yes, we can draw blood and send out to a third party lab or we can provide a requisition for you to be seen at a lab for your blood draw.

You will need to contact your specific carrier to see if they are covering testing. Most are not covering surveillance/travel testing and only covering testing for those who are exposed. Because of this DOCS will need to collect payment for any surveillance/travel testing required. You can then submit the bill directly to your insurance to see if they will reimburse you.

Rapid PCR Test – $195

Traditional PCR Test – $95, the third party lab processing the test will bill you as well, typically around $100

Rapid Antigen Test – $195

Yes, as of right now insurance is not limiting the number of times you can be tested

Please book an appointment for covid testing here

We can test anyone over the age of 2.

Start Off With A Healthy New Year

man and woman jogging outside for new years resolution

Start Off With A Healthy New Year

man and woman jogging outside for new years resolution

Being more healthy and active is a common New Year’s resolution for most. I’m sure you have even made it yours once or twice. But how long does this resolution actually last? Are you taking the proper steps to make sure your resolution doesn’t fall short?

A quick and easy visit to your primary care doctor should be on the top of your “To Do” list, so you know where you stand when it comes to your health. During your visit, you’ll be able to find out what you are doing right, and what you can improve on, so you are able to start off 2020 in good spirits. We would like to share with you some tips on how to keep on the path to improved health this upcoming new year.

Eating Healthy

This may seem like the most obvious option, but it’s pretty hard for most people to stick to eating healthy meals each day. When attempting to slim down, 80% of your results are going to come from what you make in the kitchen. When creating a healthier eating structure, your body will begin to transform. It will be able to process food more efficiently, as well as increase your energy levels.

Exercising Regularly

Getting in the habit of exercising regularly whether its as little as 30 minutes a day or 3 hours is extremely beneficial to becoming a more healthy human being. If you are just starting out, you can go on a 30 minute to an hour walk every day in order to get your heart rate up and improve blood flow throughout your body. If you are skeptical about working out because you’re not sure where to start, find a trainer at your nearest gym!

Getting a good Nights Sleep

It’s essential to get a quality nights rest on a regular basis. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night is just as important as your diet and exercise regime. Getting a consistent good nights is known to reduce stress, maintain a healthy weight, builds a stronger immune system, and is also a mood booster! It is important to get into the habit of a structured sleeping cycle because it will benefit you throughout your day to day life. You will have more of a clear mind in order to perform tasks in an efficient manner.

Having a Positive Attitude

What if you were told that you would be able to change your life based off of how you perceive daily experiences? The power of positive thinking has been proven to create happiness in people’s day to day life. Having a positive attitude or outlook on your life, forcing you to adopt an optimistic mindset. Once this is done, you will naturally look at the world in ways that you could have never imagined. You will be more motivated, driven, and substantially happier overall. By focusing on positive thoughts, you will find that your days will begin to improve which will let you become more productive and have more energy than in the past.

Scheduling an Annual Physical

One of the most important aspects of starting off the new year strong in your quest to become healthier is to visit your primary care physician in order to get a physical. It’s extremely important to regularly receive physicals in order to be sure that everything is functioning properly.

Physicals are a good thing to do annually and could be done at the beginning of each year in order to insure your improving health. When at your next physical, some questions you may ask are as follows:

  • How does my weight compared to the average goal of a healthy weight for my age/gender?
  • Are my current habits affecting my health in a negative way?
  • Is my diet creating bad habits for other aspects of my life such as exercise and sleep?

Visit DOCS Urgent Care in the New Year

Did you know that DOCS Urgent Care has primary care physicians? When you’re ready to schedule your annual physical in the new year, you can come to one of our Urgent Cares in Connecticut to be seen. We can discuss your physical health and any concerns you may have.

Staying Safe & Healthy During Thanksgiving

Staying Safe & Healthy During Thanksgiving

Staying Safe & Healthy During Thanksgiving

Staying Safe & Healthy During Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again. No not Christmas, yet, but Thanksgiving. The time to meet up with family and friends to celebrate with a grand turkey feast, and perhaps catch a football game. During your time of celebration the last thing you want is for the holiday to be ruined thanks to food poisoning, the flu, or some other hazard. Luckily, we’ve got some safety tips to help you avoid trouble and enjoy your Thanksgiving week.

 

Keep Clean

Wash Your Hands: Make sure you and your guests keep your hands clean.This might be a pretty obvious tip but it’s important, especially if you’re the one preparing food. Dirty hands can be a major source of germs and other contagions, including the infamous flu.

Clean Surfaces and Utensils: It’s not just your hands that should be clean. Dirty utensils and surfaces can also ruin your turkey dinner and help to spread disease.

Avoid Cross Contamination: One major reason you want to clean your hands and utensils is to avoid cross contamination between raw and cooked meat. Raw meat can contain various germs that could give your guests a stomachache, or even food poisoning.

Use your own Glasses: Thanksgiving is a time of sharing, but there are some things you still want to be keep to yourself. Consider labelling plastic cups with sharpies and glasses with stickers or charms in order to avoid spreading germs in addition to the usual cheer.

 

Cook Carefully

Keep an Eye on your Meal: With family around, especially young children, it can be easy to get distracted. Make sure you don’t let yourself get too distracted in order to avoid a potential fire hazard.

Buy Your Turkey with Caution: If the turkey is the star of your show then don’t risk it gobbling up your health. Avoid fresh, stuffed turkeys and instead try to buy a turkey 1-2 days before cooking. Make sure to store it properly in the fridge, or freezer if you got it earlier.

Defrost Correctly: If you thaw your turkey in the fridge be aware that you will need about a day for every 4-5lbs. If you’re planning to thaw it by submerging it in water then make sure the water is cold and expect each 1lb to take about a half hour. Don’t forget to change the water every hour! Finally, when microwaving make sure to use a microwave-safe pan, remove packaging, and carefully follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Cook Immediately and Check Temperatures: Don’t leave your turkey waiting after thawing. Make sure to cook it immediately and do not slow cook or partially cook the turkey. Remember, undercooked meat can be very hazardous, make sure to cook the turkey at 165°F or more and check with a thermometer.

Don’t Carve Too Fast: No one likes waiting, especially with mouth watering smells coming from the kitchen. Nonetheless, you should wait 20 minutes to let the juices settle before carving the turkey.

 

Store Leftovers Carefully

Refrigerate and Eat Promptly: No matter how big the appetites or the family, there always seems to be leftovers. Make sure to refrigerate these leftovers right away, within two hours, of the meal being served. Don’t let them get lost in your fridge later as leftovers are most safe to eat within three days of being cooked.

Remember to Reheat: When it’s time make sure to reheat the leftovers that need it to 165°F. Don’t forget to boil the gravy too!

 

Eat with Caution

Avoid Choking Hazards: Make sure to keep choking hazards out of the hands of children and pets. Be especially careful of turkey bones, which are prone to breaking. It’s best to keep most foods out of the reach of pets and to feed them before guests arrive.

Choking: With all the excitement of the day it is possible that someone could choke. Call 911 immediately if someone can’t breath or speak. To try to stop choking you can give 5 sharp blows to the back or, if that is unsuccessful, attempt the Heimlich maneuver, place your hands around their abdomen and give five quick upward thrusts.

Our last and final tip? Have fun! The holidays are a great time to unwind and relax, don’t let holiday stresses get to you. Keep our safety tips in mind and enjoy a safe and relaxing holiday!

Trick-or-Treat Tips for a Safe Halloween

Halloween Family

Trick-or-Treat Tips for a Safe Halloween

Halloween Family

Halloween is such an exciting time of year for kids, they get to stay up past their bedtimes, dress up as their favorite superhero or Disney princess and indulge on candy. Parents need to make sure throughout this exciting event that their kids stay visible, follow the rules of the road, and don’t eat anything strange from the candy bag. Read the following tips to ensure this Halloween doesn’t literally turn into a scary one.

Before you take your little ghosts and goblins out for Halloween, read these safety tips:

Keep it Bright

Darker costumes obviously make it harder to spot your child in a crowd so make sure you dress your child up in costumes that are bright colored, making them more visible to you as it gets dark outside. If your child’s costume is dark, make sure to add reflective accessories or light your kids up with glow sticks.

Face Paint Instead of Face-masks

Face-masks can be a great touch to a costume for a more realistic look, but they are dangerous as they can obstruct vision. Face paint is a much better option, but just make sure to try it out first making sure your child doesn’t have a reaction to the make up. Remember to completely wash it off before tucking them into bed!

Travel in a Group

Older kids should always travel together as a group, and make sure that it’s a neighborhood that has been approved by all the parents. Check-ins by phone should happen regularly and make sure that you have set a curfew for them to be home by.

Safely Approach Homes

Only go up to homes that are well lit with a porch light, outdoor lights, or Halloween decorations. Make sure to enforce the rule to never enter a home or a car for a treat candy.

Follow the Rules of the Road

Make sure to only cross the roads where there are established crosswalks and to always hold your child’s hand when crossing the road. If you are out driving that night be sure to drive slowly through residential areas as there will be small children running around from house to house.

Check the Candy

Before you let your children dig into their pile of candy dump it all out on a table and check each piece, discarding any candy that looks like it has been opened already or any homemade or repackaged candy.

Cold vs. Flu: Ways You Can Spot the Difference

Woman Blowing Her Nose On Couch

Cold vs. Flu: Ways You Can Spot the Difference

Woman Blowing Her Nose On Couch

Is it a cold or flu?

There are so many ways to describe your physical symptoms when you are sick to the doctor. Coughing, sneezing, shivering, hacking, wheezy dry cough, runny nose, and many more. While these all seem like ways to describe the common cold, it is important to spot the different signs between a cold and the seasonal flu.

Symptoms of Seasonal Flu

Influenza or also known as the common “flu” often hits fast and takes you by surprise. The flu begins with a sudden fever including other symptoms like chills, muscle aches, headaches, and tiredness. The important thing to understand is that with the flu you feel lousy and you feel lousy FAST. If you experience any of the fast symptoms included with a flu, contact your doctor right away to begin treatment as the flu can be dangerous if not treated properly and quickly.

Symptoms of Common Cold

The common cold, on the other hand, usually starts gradually and lasts much longer. It is important to understand that symptoms with a cold often creep up on you and can last anywhere from 2-3 weeks. Colds will rarely come with a significant fever, while the flu never fails with a fever of 100 degrees or higher for at least a few days.

This is a helpful chart that shows the difference in symptoms between the flu and cold:

Signs and Symptoms

Influenza

Common Cold

Onset

Sudden

Gradual

Fever

Temperature of 100 degrees and above for 3-4 days

Temperature less than 100 degrees

Cough

Dry, sometimes severe

Hacking

Headache

Prominent 

Rare

Muscle pain

Usual, often and severe

Uncommon or usually mild

Tiredness & weakness

Lasting about 2-3 weeks

Very mild and brief

Extreme exhaustion

Early & prominent

Never

Chest discomfort

Common

Uncommon or mild

Stuffy nose

Sometimes

Typical

Sneezing

Sometimes

Typical

Sore Throat

Sometimes

Common 

Treatment Options for the Flu

Antiviral medications such as Tamiflu and Relenza are used to best treat cases of the flu which require a prescription and a treatment plan. These medications fight the flu by keeping the viruses from reproducing in your body and work best when started within 48 hours of your first symptoms.

At DOCS Urgent Care a variety of our convenient locations in Connecticut offer flu immunizations. Feel free to walk into one of our clinics today for a fast, wait-free way to get your flu shot. Find our more information about flu shots here.