Options for Elderly Patients in Need of Emergency Medical Care
As we get older, it’s only natural that we would require more medical care. Time is not kind to the human body, and between deterioration, illness, and injury, an increased need for medical care should come as no surprise. And yet, most of us are ill-prepared for emergency medical situations, even as we enter our twilight years. That said, it’s never too late to take the steps necessary to ensure that when you find yourself in need of emergency medical attention, you know how to get it, especially if you live alone or you’re by yourself the majority of the time. Here are just a few options for elderly patients to get the care they need in the event of a medical emergency.
There are two main outlets for emergency medical care: the hospital emergency room and the nearest Urgent Care facility. But there are a few things you should know before you choose one or the other in the event of a medical emergency. For one thing, it’s a good idea to figure out the distance and driving time to reach each one, supposing you can drive. If you’re in serious distress and every second counts (as with choking, bleeding, or severe pain) you should call an ambulance that will reach you faster than you can drive to your destination. Otherwise it’s probably best to know which facility can be reached in the most expedient manner.
In addition, you need to find out several particulars about each facility. For example, you should know that while the ER offers round-the-clock care, most Urgent Care facilities have regular hours of operation, so you wouldn’t want to waste precious minutes driving to one that is closed. You should also make sure that the Urgent Care in your area offers the services you need, and this can be ascertained ahead of time or by calling during an emergency. They’ll tell you whether they can help or not. And of course, you’ll want to make sure that any facility you visit is covered by your insurance policy. Chances are good your provider would rather you go to the less expensive facility, which is bound to be the Urgent Care.
Another option that is useful for seniors living alone is a medical alert system. You’ve no doubt seen the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials that are the subject of rampant ridicule. But slips and falls are no laughing matter, and they are not only the most common types of accidents, but they can also be especially harmful to elderly patients. So having a medical alert button that informs the authorities of an accident and draws them to your location can end up saving your life.
For serious, ongoing medical conditions, however, you may also want to consider the prospected of hiring an in-home caregiver that is qualified to offer emergency care, such as a trained nurse. Or you might think about whether or not it’s time to look into assisted living or senior care facilities that offer on-site clinics and nurses and/or doctors on staff. In most cases, visiting an ER or Urgent Care facility is the best option for emergency medical care, so knowing the particulars of your nearest emergency room and ExpressMD Urgent Care is important. But if frequent emergency care is required or you’re worried about your ability to call for help in the event of an emergency situation, other measures may be advisable.