Emergencies, emergencies or your doctor? What the experts really want you to know – News

Injuries and illnesses can happen to anyone. Getting to the right place of care could save lives.

The Emergency Department at UAB-Highlands Hospital is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with experienced UAB board-certified emergency medicine physicians, specialists and nurses, and it has the most advanced testing, monitoring and processing technology available today.
Photography: Andrea Mabry
Emergency departments across the state are experiencing high occupancy with record numbers of patients waiting on hospital beds. It’s part of a growing trend in healthcare after the peak of the COVID pandemic. It can be difficult to determine the right place to seek care when someone is sick. Primary care clinics, urgent care departments, and emergency departments offer a variety of resources to treat the sick and injured, all serving as a resource for different levels of illness.

“Knowing where to go for treatment for an injury or illness could help maximize emergency services for true emergencies and direct patients to other resources that can help them more quickly with minor illnesses,” said said Marie-Carmelle Elie, MD, endowed professor and president. from the University of Alabama at the Birmingham Department of Emergency Medicine. “At UAB, we care about your health and want to be able to treat you as quickly and efficiently as possible. So understanding the difference between clinics, urgent care and emergency services could improve the way you receive care and, above all, the speed with which you are seen.

UAB physicians are available to treat patients at many different care sites in the region. Here’s how patients can figure out where to go and when.

What is an emergency service? When should I leave?

UAB Medicine’s main emergency department is the only Level 1 trauma center in the state, providing care for the most complex cases. Some examples of complex cases include those who have suffered trauma in a car accident, fall or other significant event, someone who has suffered a stroke or heart attack, or any other life-threatening condition requiring emergency medication or surgery.

“All of our patients need to be treated on an individual basis,” Elie said. “There is no clear cut line as to when you should or shouldn’t go to the emergency department. There are often many variables that go into choosing the best place for care.

In addition to UAB’s main emergency department, there are several UAB locations in the Birmingham area which also provide a high standard of emergency care with board-trained and board-certified emergency physicians, including the UAB Hospital-Highlands Emergency Department and the stand-alone UAB Medicine Emergency Department. of Gardendale. Eye emergencies can be seen by specialists at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital. Here is a guide to illnesses and injuries that could be treated at these locations:

The Emergency Department at UAB-Highlands Hospital is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with experienced UAB board-certified emergency medicine physicians, specialists and nurses, and it has the most advanced testing, monitoring and processing technology available today. It is the first and only accredited Level 1 Geriatric Emergency Department in the Southeastern United States. Location: 1201 11th Ave. South, Birmingham, AL 35205

UAB Medicine Gardendale Autonomous Emergency DepartmentInside Gardendale Clinic 6UAB Medicine’s self-contained emergency department in Gardendale is a state-of-the-art facility, catering to adult and pediatric patients, and is equipped to handle most medical emergencies, including heart attacks, strokes, trauma and more.
Photography: Steve Wood
is a state-of-the-art facility, for adult and pediatric patients, and is equipped to handle most medical emergencies, including heart attacks, strokes, trauma and more. It is comprised of UAB board-certified emergency medicine physicians, advanced practice providers (such as nurse practitioners), registered nurses, and other healthcare professionals trained to provide emergency care. ’emergency. It also houses a full-service pharmacy, on-site laboratory, and comprehensive diagnostic imaging services. Patient transfers to a hospital can be arranged if needed, and the facility includes a helicopter landing pad for transporting patients with the most urgent medical needs. Location: 960 Rocket Way, Gardendale, AL 35071

The Emergency Department at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital serves as a comprehensive and fully dedicated ocular emergency and trauma department. It is the only 24/7 emergency department entirely dedicated to eye emergencies and eye trauma in Alabama and one of only two in the nation. This emergency department offers emergency eye surgeries and has specialized equipment and diagnostic tests for eye injuries. Location: 1720 University Blvd., Birmingham, AL 35233

“All UAB emergency departments are staffed by UAB physicians, and for some injuries and illnesses, one facility might have shorter wait times than others,” Elie said. “Depending on the level of illness or injury and whether immediate care is needed, we may encourage patients who call our emergency access line to use one of our other emergency services.”

What is an Urgent Care Clinic? When should I leave?

Urgent Care Clinics provide convenient access to physicians and advanced practice providers when care is needed quickly for non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Walk-ins and appointments can be made seven days a week, with laboratory and X-ray services available on site.

“If you have a non-life-threatening illness or injury, going to an urgent care clinic gives you high-level care without the long wait times,” Elie said. “Often, those who come to the emergency room with a non-life-threatening illness or injury will wait longer to see a doctor because of the patient’s more urgent needs. Using urgent care could get you in and out of the clinic faster with the same high-quality treatment expected from UAB.

UAB Medicine Urgent Care treats people 18 years of age or older for non-emergency medical conditions, such as:

  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Headache
  • Cuts/abrasions
  • Minor orthopedic injuries
  • Hypertensive emergency
  • Mild exacerbations of chronic conditions such as asthma, COPD and congestive heart failure
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Nausea Vomiting

Each patient’s diagnosis and treatment are tracked in UAB’s electronic medical record, allowing other UAB drug providers to be immediately updated on care. UAB Urgent Care is located at 125 20th St. South, Birmingham, AL 35233. Click here for hours.

UAB eMedicine provides access to the expertise of UAB clinicians from anywhere – 24/7. UAB eMedicine offers two types of online emergency care options for people 18 and older for common ailments such as cold/flu, sinus infection, female bladder infection, pink eye, vaginal yeast infection, back pain, skin conditions, etc. There are two options for UAB eMedicine:

  • The on-demand questionnaire takes approximately five minutes and a diagnosis will be provided within an hour if the visit is submitted during normal eMedicine hours, Monday-Friday 8am-5pm, Saturday 8am-3pm and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $25.
  • Video-on-demand visits allow for a “face-to-face” visit with a trusted provider similar to an in-office visit. This option is available 24/7 and recommended if you think you have a more urgent common condition that may require a physical exam. The cost is $59.

What is a Primary Care Physician? When should I leave in case of illness or injury?

Many people turn to clinics, urgent care centers and emergency departments for their care; but these places should not replace a primary care provider. Clinics and urgent care centers are convenient and often provide the care a person needs at that time. However, a primary care physician can address illnesses and injuries as well as medical histories to provide consistent care.

“UAB’s primary care providers are an excellent resource for non-emergency, non-fatal care and can serve as a patient’s first point of contact when an illness or injury that does not require immediate attention arises” , Elijah said. “We care about every patient and want you to be informed of your options for care at UAB. Calling your primary care physician for a non-emergency illness or injury could save someone else’s life.

Having a relationship with your primary care provider can also play a key role in preventing serious illnesses. Regular visits for vaccinations, general health checks, and keeping a consistent medical history could prevent people from going to the emergency room.

UAB has primary clinics to serve patients throughout the Birmingham area, including UAB Medicine Gardendale, Hoover, Inverness and Leeds; UAB Family and Community Medicine at UAB-Highlands Hospital; The Whitaker Clinic at UAB Hospital; and UAB Pediatric Primary Care Clinic. To learn more about UAB Primary Care, visit uabmedicine.org.

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