Do you know when to go to the emergency room (ER) and when to go to a walk-in clinic for your health care needs? Which would you choose if you were experiencing shortness of breath or chest pain? What if your child has bronchial asthma, or someone was bitten by a dog? Choosing the right health care facility in Munster, Indiana is critical to receive the best care possible in a timely fashion — and it could even save your or a loved one’s life.
At NW Indiana ER & Hospital, we want to help you make the best decision for your healthcare needs. With that in mind, we have put together some important points to help you make an informed decision when choosing between going to a walk-in clinic or an emergency room in the Munster, Indiana area.
Patients that seek medical care in an emergency room go through a triage procedure that looks like this:
Let’s say you arrive at an emergency room in Munster, Indiana with complaints of chest pain, shortness of breath, or severe bleeding. In that case, you will be met by qualified and experienced triage workers — usually a nurse, emergency medical technician (EMT), or paramedic. Triage workers are trained to prioritize emergencies, so they will take you to the doctor immediately, even if the ER waiting area is full.
Emergency rooms should only be visited during emergency situations — we can all agree on that. However, what we may not always agree on is what constitutes an emergency. When you are in excruciating pain from a throat infection, or your child is crying from an ear infection, it may feel like a medical emergency to you, but it will not be treated as such in a Munster emergency room. This means that if you arrive at the emergency room with a sore throat or fever, you may have to wait a long time because those with more serious medical issues will be seen first.
You should visit a walk-in clinic in Munster, Indiana if you do not anticipate the need for further medical treatment after seeing the doctor. By further medical treatment, we mean diagnosis and treatment methods like computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, nebulized therapy, surgery, or even cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
You will be seen in the order in which you arrive at a walk-in clinic. There is no triage system in place, and those who check you in are non-medical personnel. Their job is to get you checked in and your insurance papers handled — they lack medical training and will be unsure of what constitutes a serious medical emergency. Once you are checked in, you will join the others in the waiting area and wait for your turn to be seen by the doctor.
This often results in delayed care for those experiencing an actual medical emergency. Furthermore, most walk-in clinics are not technologically equipped to handle emergencies in the first place.
When faced with potentially life-threatening medical situations, you should always go to the emergency room — they will have all the resources at their disposal to help you as quickly as possible. On the other hand, if you have non-urgent medical issues, going to a walk-in clinic is a better option.
If you’re looking for the premier emergency room in the Munster, Indiana area, look no further than NW Indiana ER & Hospital. You can contact us anytime at (219) 554-9911 or fill out an online form to get in touch with our staff.