In January 2020, when the World Health Organization (WHO) reported the COVID-19 outbreak as a global health emergency, many things changed when it came to the accessibility of services. In particular, medical services have become harder to access since hospitals began admitting COVID-19 patients. This is because they need to be careful in accommodating individuals seeking medical attention, so as to avoid the spread of the virus and to protect the health of their medical workers.
However, it’s not only COVID cases that need to be accommodated. Other urgent cases also need to be prioritized; some patients may also be in critical condition, and medical professionals are needed to quickly prevent it from worsening.
As hospitals and medical facilities are still filled with COVID patients, you may want to keep yourself informed on alternatives for medical care so you can ensure your safety and that of your loved ones. Other possible options for urgent care during this pandemic include the following.
Teleconsultations Or Virtual Urgent Care Visits
If you’re hesitant to go out for a checkup because you’re afraid you might catch the virus, you can opt for online methods. Nowadays, you can access teleconsultations through your mobile phone or laptop. Teleconsultations are a new mode of accessing medical care, especially since the pandemic has made people wary of going to hospitals.
Teleconsultations help people avoid needless exposure, and they conveniently grant patients access to medical attention, whether it’s for urgent care or simply for consultations on mild symptoms. In most cases, it takes some time for you to be accommodated by telemedicine websites, but some virtual teleconsultation platforms, such as Reliant and others, are able to accommodate urgent cases virtually.
If you don’t want to go to crowded hospitals and you want to lessen your exposure to other people, going to a nearby clinic in your community could be a good option. A clinic can cater to your needs if the immediate care you need is a minor health service. For example, if you’re pregnant and you need to have a paternity test done, there are a number of clinics that offer this service. By opting for this instead of a hospital, you can lessen the number of people you’re exposed to while seeking services.
Remember to do some research beforehand and to take note of the office hours of nearby clinics. It’s also important to know what their guidelines are, as some clinics require you to set an appointment first. In addition to being in compliance with health protocols, this is so they can avoid the influx of patients that need to be catered to.
If you need urgent care and your condition is rapidly getting worse, you should be admitted to an emergency room so that your condition can be immediately assessed and treated by healthcare workers. This option is best for cases that require immediate action, such as heavy bleeding, burns, head injuries, or difficulty breathing. With the ongoing pandemic, you may be worried about catching the virus, but that shouldn’t be a reason for you to delay treatment, as your life may be at stake.
Some emergency rooms may need to conduct an assessment first before they can accommodate you. As admission may depend on the severity of your situation, there’s a chance you could end up on a waiting list. However, this may still lead to you getting treatment faster than if you had gone with other options.
Your Family Doctor
Since family doctors often operate in private clinics, this is another option that can help reduce exposure to other people. Additionally, if you can have your family doctor advise you at your residence, you have the added convenience of not having to go out anymore. Depending on whether your doctor has other appointments to keep, you could also have more time to discuss your medical situation and how to treat it.
On the other hand, even if you’re consulting with your doctor in the privacy of your home, you may want to still take the necessary precautions, making sure to keep your distance and wear a mask. Since your doctor may be visiting and meeting with other patients, you should be wary of the extent of exposure that happens during the home visit.
The Pandemic Should Not Be A Hindrance To Urgent Care
Despite being in the middle of a global health crisis, you should still be able to gain access to immediate medical attention, as non-COVID illnesses and accidents continue to occur. Though the pandemic may still be ongoing, it shouldn’t be a barrier to keep you from seeking proper treatment and getting better. If your case is life-threatening, you should seek help in the fastest and safest way possible, and with the options listed above, you can easily do that in the event of an emergency.