It’s Sunday afternoon and you have an earache. Should you go to the emergency room? What about an urgent care clinic? Should you wait it out and try to see your doctor on Monday? Illness and injury can come without warning and when you’re hurt or not feeling well, you want to feel better as soon as possible.
To receive the best possible care, you want to be at the right place at the right time. Riverside Medical Group providers have worked together to develop a system to ensure your healthcare needs are met, regardless of the time of day or the severity of your illness.
Unless it’s a life threatening situation, start with your primary care provider, often referred to as a PCP. Primary care providers are often physicians, but can also be a nurse practitioner (NP) or physician’s assistant (PA). They offer comprehensive care for you and your family: diagnosing and treating common medical conditions, helping you manage chronic illnesses, and providing preventative care. They can also refer you to a physician specialist should
you need one.
Sometimes your primary care provider may not be available when a minor health condition occurs, such as minor sprains, strains, cuts or illnesses like flu. In those cases, urgent care is a great option since an appointment is not necessary.
It’s important to keep in mind that an urgent care facility should not replace a primary care provider. At Riverside Urgent Care, the staff assists patients that do not have a PCP in finding one near them.
“It’s important to have a primary care doctor to follow-up with after the urgent care visit. Many of the problems
we diagnose require a doctor who can address the long-term needs of the patient,” noted Morgan Albaugh, MD,
Riverside Urgent Care’s Director of Medicine in Tappahannock.
Unlike emergency rooms which are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, urgent care clinics are not always open,
but do have flexible, extended hours that can accommodate most schedules. In an effort to make urgent care even
more convenient, Riverside Urgent Care in both Tappahannock and Hayes nowo ffers a free service called InQuicker,
which allows users to avoid their waiting rooms. Patients can go online, select an available check-in time for the same day, and wait in the comfort of their own home--a great benefit when you’re not feeling well.
“Like urgent care, InQuicker is intended only for those with non-life threatening medical conditions. It’s a convenient way for people to access care for minor issues. If you’re experiencing life threatening symptoms, you should always call 911 or go directly to the nearest emergency room,” advised Dr. Albaugh.
Emergency rooms are set up to focus on medical emergencies, not routine health concerns. So if you visit the emergency room for that earache, you may experience a long wait if patients with more serious conditions come in.
This is where you should go directly or call 911 if you experience life threatening symptoms such as:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Disorientation or not being able to think clearly
- Sudden change in vision or speech
- Sudden numbness, especially on one side of the body
In addition to being staffed by boardtrained physicians and specialty trained nurses, the emergency rooms at Riverside are supported by a wide variety of on-call specialists should you need one. Still not sure where to go for that
earache? You can also call Riverside Nurse, a free service of Riverside Health System, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A registered nurse will answer your symptom-based questions and, if needed, refer you to the right place for treatment.
Important Contact Information
For InQuicker service at either location visit: riversideonline.com; in Tappahannock you can also call toll-free: 855-243-2160