A new option will be available for those in need of medical attention starting Saturday, Jan. 6 when Urgent Care opens at Vibrant Health at the River Falls clinic at 1687 Division St.
Urgent Care will be available Saturday and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"This is an important addition to the community because it gives patients options beyond the emergency room," Urgent Care Director Dr. Dan Zimmerman said in a news release.
While the emergency room is designed to treat life-threatening situations like trauma and surgical procedures, urgent care is designed to handle the type of non life-threatening situations that would normally send someone to a doctor's office. Urgent care centers though are open late and on weekends and holidays when doctor's offices are often closed.
Major medical traumas that would require an emergency room visit are events that could cause the loss of life, limb or eyesight, a news release explained. These include heart attacks, stroke, uncontrollable bleeding, unconsciousness, head trauma, severe abdominal pain and serious accidents.
"First and foremost, if you are experiencing a life-threatening event, your first course of action should be to call 911," Zimmerman said.
Urgent care can treat medical conditions that are not major emergencies, but still need care within 24 hours. These include skin rashes and infections, asthma, flu or fever, joint and muscle pain, sore throat, ear aches, injuries and sprains, UTIs, fractures, cuts, burns and accidents and falls.
Staffed with doctors and nurses, urgent care has access to x-ray and labs onsite. If needed, the urgent care healthcare providers can help admit a visitor to the emergency room or hospital.
Though people can go to the emergency room for any medical situation, a news release from Vibrant Health said urgent care is designed to be more affordable, costing an average of three times less than the emergency room.
The wait time can also be shorter at urgent care, with those in the emergency room waiting almost three times the amount of urgent care, said Zimmerman. Times at urgent care vary depending on severity and the number of people waiting, but most patients wait less than 15 minutes, compared to more than two hours in an emergency room.
"We strive to get our urgent care patients admitted, treated and processed within one hour," Zimmerman said. Going to an emergency room with less than life-threatening symptoms could have you waiting many more hours because the ER staff will be focused on the most serious injuries and illnesses first."
For more information about Vibrant Health Urgent Care, visit www.vibranthealthclinics.com/urgent-care.