Published on December 13, 2021

Sturdy Memorial Urges the Community to Visit the Appropriate Care Center for Medical Attention

Emergency vs urgent care

Seeking immediate care for a medical issue can be stressful when determining if you should visit your primary care provider, Urgent Care Center or Emergency Department. Given the current situation with hospital numbers increasing and Emergency Departments becoming crowded across the country, choosing the right location for care is crucial in decreasing wait room times and ensuring emergency resources are available for patients who truly need them.

A primary care provider should be the first point of contact in non-emergency situations. Primary care providers often require less out-of-pocket payments and less time spent in waiting rooms, compared to emergency and urgent care centers. Sturdy Memorial primary care providers also offer virtual telehealth appointments.

Medical issues that are not necessarily an emergency but still require medical attention should consider visiting an Urgent Care Center. Sturdy Memorial Urgent Care – Plainville is a state-of-the-art Urgent Care Center providing expert medical care, for patients experiencing urgent, but non-emergency medical issues. If the medical issue is something you would normally follow-up with your primary care provider but the office is not open, an Urgent Care Center is likely more suitable.

It is important to remember to never delay emergency care. Individuals experiencing symptoms of a stroke, heart attack, head injury, or another life-threatening emergency, should always call 9-1-1 and proceed by ambulance to the nearest emergency department.  Emergency Departments will see any patient in need of care 24 hours a day and are trained to handle severe illnesses and injuries that can’t be handled in primary care or urgent care facilities.

Below is a reference of common “emergency” problems, for which a visit to the Emergency Department at Sturdy Memorial Hospital is recommended, versus “urgent” problems, for which the Urgent Care Center in Plainville is appropriate.

            Emergency Department

Urgent Care

  • Chest Pain, especially if it is associated with sweating, shortness of breath, or radiation to the jaw or arm
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Allergic reactions that threaten breathing
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Vaginal bleeding in pregnancy
  • Burns involving large areas of the body
  • Sudden onset or severe headaches
  • Head trauma while on blood thinners
  • Head or eye injury
  • Deep wounds
  • Dislocated joints
  • Major extremity injury with deformity
  • Severe palpitations
  • Severe abdominal or back pain
  • Sudden testicular or pelvic pain
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Fainting/loss of consciousness episode
  • Seizure without prior history of epilepsy
  • Sudden confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding speech, weakness of an arm or leg, or sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Baby ≤ 3 months old with fever ≥ 100.4
  • Ear aches
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Cold or flu symptoms
  • Sinus pain
  • Mild shortness of breath related to asthma
  • Minor cuts requiring sutures
  • Minor burns
  • Rashes (including poison ivy or tick bite related)
  • Abscess requiring drainage
  • Minor extremity injuries
  • Sports related injuries
  • Mild back pain
  • Muscular pain
  • Vomiting, but still able to drink fluids
  • Stomach pain (not severe)
  • Suspected gout flare
  • Painful urination

Please note, individual exposed or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should contact their primary care provider to discuss care options. Please do not come to the emergency or urgent care facilities without prior communications from a doctor. Individuals experiencing a medical emergency should contact 9-1-1 to proceed to the emergency department.