Urgent care vs. emergency room | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Urgent care vs. emergency room

Many people go to an emergency room without realizing they have other options for conditions that aren’t as serious.

As winter arrives, snow shoveling soreness, slips and falls on ice, and cold and flu season all follow. With all the risk factors of the cold months, there’s a good chance you or someone you know will need some kind of medical help at some point. When that happens, where’s the best place to go for care?

Hospital emergency departments are designed to provide care for life-threatening situations. Many people, however, go to an emergency room without realizing they have other options for conditions that aren’t as serious. “Urgent care versus emergency room” is an important decision for ensuring that you get the most timely and appropriate treatment when you need care.

“Emergency room visits really should be only for true medical emergencies,” said Mary Rademaker, M.D., medical director of Norton Immediate Care Centers. “If you’re going to the ER, it really should be only for a life-threatening or very serious illness or injury.”

A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly 50% of patients who visited emergency departments went there because their doctor’s office was not open.

Dr. Rademaker recommends that if you’re sick or injured when your doctor’s office is closed, urgent care is an excellent option. Most Norton Immediate Care Center locations are open until 9 p.m., and some remain open until midnight.

One option, Norton Immediate Care Center – Preston, is open 24/7, with some reduced hours on major holidays.

“Norton Immediate Care Centers are not only convenient and quick, but they also will likely be less expensive,” Dr. Rademaker said. “Norton Immediate Care Centers are staffed by excellent and highly skilled physicians and nurse practitioners, who can handle many conditions that need to be treated right away but are not considered true medical emergencies.”

Norton Immediate Care Centers also offer the convenient option of viewing wait times and reserving your spot online, so you can spend less time in the waiting room.

When to Visit a Norton Immediate Care Center

  • Allergies
  • Colds
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Flu
  • Insect bites
  • Nausea
  • Minor burns or cuts
  • Rash
  • Sore throat
  • Sprains
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Possible broken bone
  • Stitches
  • Animal bite

When to Visit an Emergency Room

  • Chest pain
  • High fever
  • Major head injury
  • Seizure
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe asthma attack
  • Severe burn or cut
  • Severe pain
  • Shock
  • Unconsciousness or unresponsiveness
  • Uncontrollable bleeding

To find the Norton Immediate Care Center nearest you and reserve your spot online, visit NortonHealthcare.com/ICC or call (502) 629-4444.

You may also view all your care options for visiting with a provider virtually or in person for minor illnesses and injuries at NortonNow.com.


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