Diseases do not present them announced, hence it is important to have a clear roadmap in case one befalls you or your family. According to CDC, it is estimated that around 136 million patients visit an ER per year. However, not all medical conditions require treatment from an ER and not all diseases can be adequately treated in ER too. Therefore, you should know when to see a critical care specialist in Michigan or when to visit an urgent care center for critical care medicine treatment.
What is Critical Care ?
Critical care belongs to the class of medical practice that deals with long-term patient management. It offers care to patients who are critically ill and are at risk and/or are recovering from health conditions that might be fatal. The duration of critical care lasts until the patient feels better and is fit for discharge. Critically ill patients are admitted to the intensive care or critical care unit and treated by critical care medicine according to their prognosis. While getting treated in the critical care unit can be costly, it is mostly covered by the patient’s insurance to reduce any financial constraints. In a critical care unit, the patient receives round-the-clock supervision by a team of dedicated healthcare professionals.
There are specialized critical care units such as pediatric critical care that care for babies and children. Similarly, neonatal intensive care looks after severely ill newborns. However, for any kind of critical care unit, the healthcare professionals are designated on the basis of their skills to manage potentially serious conditions.
The Role of an Intensivist:
A physician who offers critical care is known as an intensivist. They are board-certified professionals who are trained to deliver specialized care for critically ill patients. Their extensive clinical experience renders them capable of treating complex health conditions.
An intensivist completes their residency in medical specialties such as surgery, internal medicine, or pulmonary medicine. In addition, they also complete fellowship training in critical care medicine to specialize in relevant treatment,
What sets intensivists apart from other specialists is their scope of treatment. Unlike specialists such as cardiologists or pulmonologists, they do not care for specific body systems. Instead, they opt for a comprehensive treatment approach that is aimed to stabilize the patient.
In a critical care unit, the intensivist acts as more than just a consultant. Moreover, they not only lead a diverse team of caregivers but also supervises many decisions involved in a patient’s care. They coordinate all the services involved in the patient’s treatment plan, particularly those offered by other specialist physicians.
Intensivists are required to follow evidence-based guidelines for critical care as introduced by the Society of Critical Medicine. The benefits that research-backed treatments offer include:
1. Better survival rates
2. Improved patient outcomes
3. Reduced length of stay in ICU
4. Improved medication safety
What is Urgent Care?
Urgent care deals with the management of non-life-threatening conditions that require quick treatment. In an urgent care facility, the physician sees the patient on a first come first serve basis. In an urgent care center, the waiting time is shorter compared to an ER. What sets it apart from an ER is the severity of cases that urgent care physicians deal with. Here, you would not be treated for life-threatening diseases. Instead, you’ll recieve specialized care for conditions like sports injury, allergies, or GIT issues.
Internists are usually found in internal medicine practice. Their comprehensive knowledge and clinical expertise allow them to treat conditions that require urgent care. They assess your health status, run viable diagnostic tests, and strategize a treatment plan. Apart from internists, general medicine and family medicine practitioners also provide care in various urgent care facilities.
What is an ER?
ER is the first door you’d knock on, in case of a life-threatening emergency. It is situated in a hospital, presided by emergency physicians who will care for conditions that may potentially lead to the loss of life, a limb, or an organ.
When you arrive at an ER, you’ll attend on a priority basis. While legally every sick person has the right to be treated when they arrive at ER, the physicians will assess your condition and treat you accordingly. In case of non-life-threatening conditions, you might have to wait for up to three hours to receive professional treatments. Hence, it is feasible to approach an urgent care center in such conditions as you are expected to receive much prompt medical attention.
After the initial assessment, the ER physician will either provide adequate treatment or shift the person to intensive or critical units.
Are Critical Care and ER Related?
While urgent care is remarkably distinct from critical care and ER, the latter two are somehow similar. The difference between a critical care unit and ER department is based on its purpose, types of patients received, and their needs. While both the departments deal with critically ill patients, the emergency room prioritizes stabilizing the patient. Here, intensivists intervene to provide critical care to their patients.
For example, if a patient arrives at an ER with a complaint of cardiac arrest, the team of physicians will bring the patient out of the arrest. Their treatment lasts as long as the heart resumes its normal function and the patient is out of danger. Once their vitals stabilize, the patient is now transferred to critical care for future care and monitoring. The importance of critical care, therefore, is to ensure that the patient’s condition does not reverse to the disturbed state.
When patients arrive at ER, the physicians present there will first stabilize the patient, and then if needed, transfer them to ICU. Here, intensivists intervene to provide critical care to their patients. Since ER witnesses a high influx of patients each day, it is preferable to move severely ill patients to a critical care unit. This leads to another difference between the two hospital units i.e. patient-physician ratio. In an intensive or critical care unit, the number of patients is fewer as compared to those present in ER.
scope of physicians who practice in ER and critical care:
There is also a difference between the scope of practice of physicians who practice in ER and critical care. At the ER, the healthcare staff deals with all patient demographics and diverse medical problems, regardless of their severity. On the other hand, in critical care, the physicians do not only care for targeted patient demographics but also for serious medical conditions. Their treatments go out to problems like systemic infection, respiratory or cardiac failure, and shock.
Why Should You First Visit an Urgent Care?
While you might find it more beneficial to visit an ER, it is important to remember that you will not always be transferred to the critical care unit. It is been emphasized greatly by medical professionals to prioritize seeing a primary care provider for non-life-threatening cases. Medical conditions such as flu, sinusitis, respiratory infection, gastric issues, or sports injuries can be well managed by internists at urgent care centers. These illnesses require medical attention within 24 to 48 hours but their treatment does not fall under critical care.
If you need urgent care for you or your family, visit LungNSleep Center in Michigan for prompt and comprehensive services. Our physicians are committed to provide quality healthcare to all kinds of medical conditions that are presented to them.
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