By Matthew Dayno, MD FACEP, Section Chief and Medical Director, Elliot Emergency Medicine Specialists

We know that waiting for care for yourself or a loved one can be extremely difficult. We are working our absolute hardest to care for all of our patients who seek emergency care. We remain committed to providing exceptional emergency medical care every hour, every day.

Emergency Departments (ED) stand at the ready to provide care 24/7/365 for the community, and with increased respiratory virus transmission, we are seeing unprecedented numbers of patients. We have successfully cared for more patients than we could have predicted. Sometimes, people seeking help face long wait times before being seen. There are multiple factors that contribute to this, including greatly increased need for care that exceeds available capacity in staff, available inpatient beds, tests and more.

Another common reason someone might experience an unnecessarily long wait time in the ED is that they require care for a lower acuity need than others who are waiting. The Emergency Department uses a triage system to prioritize acuity and potentially life-threatening conditions, and not always on arrival time.

We strive for everyone to have a primary care provider (PCP) to guide them through their health journey, and we understand that not everyone has a PCP. Even when you have a PCP, you can experience health issues outside of business hours. In these cases, visiting an urgent care center may be a more convenient way to get treatment for acute, non-life-threatening health problems without the long wait and more costly bill that comes from an ED visit. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 27% of ED visits are considered “preventable,” meaning the health concern would be better addressed with a primary care visit, urgent care or walk-in care*.

What is Urgent Care?

Understanding what urgent care centers are and which services they provide can help you save time and money next time you need care.

Urgent care centers, like Elliot Urgent Care in Londonderry, Bedford, and at River’s Edge in Manchester, bridge the gap between routine care and acute care provided by emergency department staff. For your convenience, Elliot Urgent Care centers are open outside of business hours and have on-site labs and imaging. The Elliot is fortunate that our Urgent Care centers are staffed by the same talented board-certified emergency medicine physicians and advanced practice providers that staff our Emergency Department. Patients recognize how helpful this service is—one person called Elliot Urgent Care a “diamond” with amazing providers—having just what they needed without the longer wait.

Urgent care clinics are prepared to handle a range of medical conditions and injuries that need immediate attention. Some symptoms and injuries that urgent care staff can diagnose and/or treat include:

  • Respiratory infections (cold, flu, sinus infection, bronchitis)
  • Sore throat
  • Ear infection
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Poison ivy and other rashes
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Sprains and strains
  • Broken bones
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Burns
  • Minor eye injuries
  • Splinter removal
  • Sports and workplace injuries

The Emergency Department at Elliot Hospital is proud to be here for our community. Together, we can ensure that patients receive the care they need when they need it and that our skilled ED staff is always available for the most pressing, emergent medical needs.

The guide below can help patients to determine the level of care that is needed. If patients still need assistance deciding where to go, they can call their health care provider’s office for advice.