Regular care and emergency care are two branches of healthcare designed to cater to different issues. The former focuses on long-term health, whereas the latter deals with problems that require immediate attention.
Having to choose between the two can be quite confusing. Therefore, it is essential to note the key differences between them, as well as their pros and cons.
- Regular Care
Regular care, or primary care, is designed to provide continuous care. Its primary focus is long-term health. You visit regular care clinics at least once every year for a checkup. They offer basic consulting and diagnostic services as well as carry out minor interventions.
Having a regular care physician is critical because they ensure continuity of care. Regular care physicians also serve as referrals in case you require specialty care. They refer you to a specialized health care provider who can cater to your individual needs.
They are an essential resource regardless of whether you are combatting a chronic illness, getting a routine checkup, battling an acute illness, or dealing with an injury that requires immediate attention.
Regular care expenses are covered via insurance and therefore are quite affordable, unlike emergency care. You can opt for affordable health coverage plans that are flexible and secure for you and your family. This will let you tailor health coverage to your specific needs.
Also, one of the most important pros of regular care is access to medical records. Your regular care physician knows your medical history and thus is better equipped to treat the chronic conditions that you may be living with and look out for your overall health.
Regular care is a unique branch of healthcare that includes doctors specially trained in:
- Disease prevention
- Health and wellness promotion
- Health maintenance
- Patient education
- Diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses
- Diagnosis and treatment of acute illnesses
One obvious con associated with regular care is that it does not provide immediate care. You are required to book an appointment beforehand, unlike urgent or emergency care. You may not be able to schedule an appointment quickly; therefore, it is not the best option if you are facing a condition that requires immediate attention.
Regular care clinics operate on a strict shift basis. Therefore, you cannot access them after work hours, unlike emergency and urgent care.
Conditions that require extensive diagnostic testing are best suited for regular care centers and providers. If your illness or injury is a non-emergency, primary care is the best choice.
- Emergency Care
Emergency care is responsible for providing medical and surgical care to patients who require immediate attention. Emergency care is provided in an emergency room in a hospital or medical center. They operate round the clock and offer complete medical support and resources on a walk-in basis.
Emergency rooms typically offer one of five levels of care. They are designed to cater to medical emergencies such as life-threatening illnesses and injuries that may result in permanent damage. These may include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Signs of stroke
- Major trauma
- Suicide attempts
- Severe abdominal pain
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Broken bones or dislocated joints
- Head injuries
- Unusually high fever
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Serious burns
Unlike urgent and regular care centers, emergency rooms are equipped with the necessary equipment and facilities to deal with a wide array of medical issues. Therefore, if you are unsure whether the problem you are facing is a major medical emergency or not, the ER is always a safe bet.
Additionally, the staff in the emergency rooms comprises of experts who are trained to treat severe life-threatening conditions.
Emergency care, although convenient, is costly, and visits can amount up to thousands of dollars, regardless of the severity of the illness.
Therefore, before you head to the nearest ER, find out if the problem can be dealt with at an urgent care center or not. They are much more affordable. However, they only cater to a limited number of medical issues.
Many people often visit ERs for non-urgent care primarily because emergency rooms are required to cater to all attending patients by law. Since ERs cannot turn away patients, people who are unable to afford the expenses or do not have health insurance often resort to emergency room care.
Unlike regular care, your emergency care provider does not have access to your medical history. Another negative factor associated with ERs is the long waiting time for those who come in with non-life threatening conditions.
If your injury/illness is serious and requires a hospital stay, the ER is the safest and best option. Similarly, if your injury requires more than just a few stitches and x-rays, we suggest visiting the ER for a more thorough assessment.
- Parting Thoughts
Health is a fundamental human right. Choosing between emergency and regular care depends on the need of the hour.
If the matter at hand does not require immediate attention, and if you are someone with a complex medical history, head to your regular care provider for the best possible treatment solution.
If the illness requires immediate attention and cannot wait for a regular doctor’s appointment, we recommend heading straight to emergency care to avoid any mishaps.
Evaluate your condition beforehand to assess what caters to you and your situation the best.