Urgent Care Provides Immediate Health Services for Older Adults

Increasing pressure on emergency rooms leads to longer wait times and overcrowding. Urgent Care helps alleviate this pressure by offering quick and convenient access to medical care for non-life-threatening conditions, reducing the burden on emergency rooms.

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Urgent Care Provides Immediate Health Services for Older Adults
4 Min Read April 10th, 2023

Urgent Care facilities have become an omnipresent part of health care services in the United States, offering a convenient solution for individuals who face extended waits at Emergency Rooms or those whose health conditions require prompt attention but cannot wait for a scheduled appointment with a physician. 

Nonetheless, if you or a loved one are advanced in age, it begs the question of whether Urgent Care facilities are suitable for seniors.

What Is Urgent Care?

Urgent care facilities are designed to provide prompt medical attention to patients who require treatment for injuries or illnesses that are not life-threatening but still require urgent care. These facilities are sometimes called "Immediate Care" for this reason. Urgent Care offers a wide range of medical services, including treatment for broken bones, stitches, skin rashes, eye irritation, and other immediate health issues that require evaluation and treatment.

One of the primary advantages of urgent care clinics is that they have extended operating hours, which means patients can seek medical attention at any time of the day or night. Unlike many other medical facilities with limited hours, urgent care clinics are often open late into the evening, making them a convenient option for those with busy schedules or those requiring medical attention outside of regular business hours.

However, it is important to note that urgent care clinics are not a substitute for emergency medical care. In life-threatening situations, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention at an emergency room or call 911. Urgent care facilities are equipped to handle a wide range of medical needs but may not have the same resources and capabilities as emergency rooms, which are better equipped to address critical and life-threatening conditions.

Urgent care facilities are an excellent option for older adults when someone requires prompt medical attention for a non-life-threatening condition. They can provide instant peace of mind for the individual, their caregiver, and their family.

With their extended hours, patients can receive medical care at any time of the day or night, making it a convenient option when a loved one takes an older family member to get evaluated. However, remember in medical emergencies or life-threatening situations, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention at an emergency room or call 911.

Reviewing the Benefits of Urgent Care

Thankfully, urgent care clinics make an excellent solution for quick, easy senior care. Let's look at the benefits Urgent Care facilities offer.

Quick Availability

One benefit urgent care has over emergency rooms is their availability. While emergency room staff can take a few hours to help patients, urgent care facilities can see clients in 30 minutes or less. Emergency rooms can ask patients with non-urgent injuries to wait for an extended period as they address higher-priority needs.

The average wait time at an emergency room for a non-life-threatening visit is 60 minutes. This is according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that analyzed data from over 5,000 emergency departments in the United States. The study found that wait times could vary widely, depending on the time of day, the severity of the patient's condition, and the hospital's resources.

Several factors can impact the wait times for patients in emergency rooms, including the time of day, the severity of the patient's condition, and the resources available at the hospital.

Wait times tend to be longer in the evening and on weekends when emergency rooms typically experience a higher volume of patients. This is because many primary care physicians are closed during these times, leaving emergency rooms as the only option for patients requiring immediate medical attention.

The severity of the patient's condition plays a crucial role in determining wait times. Patients with more severe and life-threatening conditions will be seen immediately. In contrast, those with less serious conditions may have to wait longer.

The resources available at the hospital also impact wait times. Hospitals with more beds and larger staff are typically better equipped to handle a higher volume of patients and may be able to see patients more quickly than hospitals with fewer resources.

Cost-Efficient

Another benefit to urgent care is a lower medical bill. Medicare and supplements usually pay for emergency room visits or urgent care facilities. However, someone with Medicare Advantage might have to see preferred providers in non-emergency situations. 

For anyone under age 65, traditional health insurance may have larger deductibles for the ER, in addition to preferred providers. Urgent Care can often have a lower copay cost. 

Since having a primary physician is essential for seniors, you can get a reliable doctor without paying exorbitant fees.

Ambulances and Urgent Care

Will an ambulance transport someone to an Urgent Care center? Maybe, depending on the situation and location. Generally, an ambulance will take you to the nearest appropriate emergency room based on the level of care needed and the availability of anticipated resources. However, some urgent care centers may accept patients transported by ambulance if they are not experiencing a life-threatening condition.

Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport is a new program that will provide greater flexibility to ambulance care teams to address emergency health care needs of Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) beneficiaries following a 911 call. 

If medically appropriate, transportation to an alternative destination, like an Urgent Care facility, can be paid for by Medicare.

Remember, an Urgent Care facility would not be appropriate if someone has a true medical emergency. 

Is It Safe for Seniors?

So, are Urgent Care facilities right for seniors? In short, Urgent Care facilities are safe for many health issues that older adults face. Urgent care clinics offer various services that can keep seniors and their families happy and healthy. 

Urgent Care facilities can also provide a primary care physician for yearly check-ups, vaccines, and other medical services.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities increasingly use Urgent Care services to provide timely medical attention to their residents for non-life-threatening conditions. Some Urgent Care centers can offer on-site visits or coordinate transportation to their facilities, providing convenient access to medical care without needing an emergency room visit. This can help ensure that residents receive prompt medical attention, leading to better health outcomes and improved quality of life. 

Additionally, Urgent Care facilities can work with nursing homes and assisted living facilities in developing care plans and providing ongoing medical support for their residents.

Urgent Care facilities provide highly-experienced medical staff with certifications, degrees, and licenses to practice medical procedures. This expertise gives caretakers peace of mind, knowing that the seniors they care for are in the right hands.

When you visit an Urgent Care clinic with a senior, make sure you ask questions and communicate effectively to prevent confusion or further complications. As a caregiver, ensuring your senior's comfort is a significant priority.

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About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

LTC News Contributor Mallory Knee

Mallory Knee

Contributor since September 25th, 2020

Editor's Note

As we age, maintaining a good quality of life becomes increasingly important. However, aging comes with its own set of challenges that can make it difficult to maintain a healthy and fulfilling life. 

Managing chronic health conditions is one of the most significant challenges for adults over 45. Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis can significantly impact our quality of life, and it's essential to work with health care providers to develop a proactive approach to managing them. This may include regular check-ups, medication management, and lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.

Chronic illnesses, mobility problems, dementia, and even frailty increase our risk of needing long-term health care as we age. One of the biggest concerns is memory loss.

Cognitive decline is generally among the top reasons people require help with daily activities and general supervision. Changes in memory, thinking, and decision-making can be frustrating and concerning. Not only does dementia create financial hardship due to costly long-term care costs, but it also creates emotional stress and burden on loved ones.

Engaging in activities such as puzzles, reading, and socializing is essential to promote cognitive health. Health care providers can also offer resources and support for cognitive health, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and medication management.

Maintaining social connections is also critical for older adults. Isolation and loneliness can lead to depression, anxiety, and other health problems. By staying socially active and engaging in activities that promote social interaction, such as volunteering, joining clubs or organizations, and attending social events, we can help prevent these negative effects.

Physical mobility is another significant challenge for adults as they age. Many people start to experience a decline in physical function, making it more challenging to perform daily activities. Maintaining strength, flexibility, and balance is important, which can help prevent falls and other injuries. 

The financial concerns can be a significant challenge for older adults preparing for retirement. Health care costs, housing expenses, and other financial obligations can cause stress and impact the quality of life. 

A complete retirement plan will include affordable Long-Term Care Insurance. An LTC policy won't prevent aging, but it will provide access to your choice of quality care options when needed. Reasonable people understand that if you live a long life, you will probably need help with everyday living activities or supervision due to dementia. 

There are many people who think Long-Term Care Insurance is expensive. However, when you investigate it, you will often find how affordable LTC Insurance can be if designed appropriately. 

Many financial advisors and general insurance agents lack training and understanding of the many products available. They end up recommending products or benefits that are too expensive or recommend products that don't meet federal guidelines that won't solve the problem.

However, a Long-Term Care Insurance specialist will be able to find appropriate and affordable coverage to address the physical, emotional, and financial burdens that long-term care will have on your and your family.

Most people obtain coverage in their 50s when they can take advantage of much lower premiums and leverage their good health.

How Much Does Long-Term Care Insurance Really Cost?

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An LTC Insurance expert can provide valuable assistance to consumers in multiple ways, including:

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Be sure the specialist has substantial experience with LTC Insurance, works with the top companies, and understands underwriting, policy design, and claims. Many top specialists hold the Certified in Long-Term Care designation, undergo ongoing training, and have helped hundreds or even thousands of people throughout their careers.

A Long-Term Care specialist will provide you with accurate quotes along with providing you with professional recommendations. 

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Discover Tools and Resources on LTC NEWS

LTC NEWS offers news, guidance, and resources to assist you in long-term health care planning, aging, health, and retirement planning. 

Additionally, LTC NEWS provides reviews of various Long-Term Care Insurance plans. 

Here are some of the resources that are available on LTC NEWS:

Parent's Health Declining? Do They Need Care Now?

Get quality care for your parent or parents if they require it. LTC NEWS can assist. We've compiled several comprehensive guides to help you along the way.

Find help locating quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - 

Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

It is essential to encourage your loved one to utilize their Long-Term Care Insurance if they are fortunate enough to have it. In some cases, families may delay using the benefits, assuming that family members can provide care and save the benefits when it may be considered "more necessary."

However, deferring utilizing available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not recommended. The policy grants access to high-quality care when it is required, freeing up loved ones to focus on being family rather than caregivers. Quality care helps stabilize an aging or health issue and provides the care recipient a better quality of life.

These four guides can be beneficial as you try to find appropriate long-term care services for a loved one:

Today's Reverse Mortgages Can Benefit Older Families

Some people have a large portion of their savings in their homes. With the help of reverse mortgages, you can find ways to pay for quality in-home care, pay for LTC Insurance, and even assist with cash flow during retirement.

Yes, today's reverse mortgages may be the perfect way to pay for a Long-Term Care Insurance policy or even cover the cost of in-home care if you or a loved one is currently in need.

Asking an expert with your questions will help you learn more. Mike Banner, a columnist for LTC NEWS and the host of the television program "62 Who Knew," will respond to your inquiries about long-term care, reverse mortgages, aging, and health.

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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