Emergency care: Know when and where to go

Doctor’s Office? ER? Urgent care center?

Where should you go when illness or injury strikes? Knowing whether to go to a primary care office, urgent care clinic or Emergency Room (ER) is essential. It is lifesaving knowledge that can also save you time and money. Here’s a brief guide.

Primary Care Providers

To maintain and optimize your health, it’s important to establish an ongoing relationship with a primary care provider (PCP) you trust and with whom you work well. Your PCP is your main healthcare contact in non-emergency situations. Visit your PCP for annual preventive exams, general health maintenance and checkups, prescription refills and specialist referrals. Scheduled appointments are generally needed. Find a primary care provider at inova.org/primarycare.

Urgent Care Centers

Urgent care centers are an excellent alternative to the ER when immediate medical care is needed for non-life threatening conditions, such as the flu, X-rays for sprains and strains, and stitches for minor cuts. If you’re unable to schedule an appointment with your PCP, these facilities are open daily with extended hours of operation and treat walk-in patients of all ages. To find the closest Inova Urgent Care, visit inova.org/urgentcare.

Emergency Rooms

If you are experiencing a life-threatening medical condition or injury such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or sudden numbness of the face, arm or leg, call 911 or head to the closest ER. These facilities are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and are equipped to handle the gravest medical conditions. To find the closest Inova Emergency Room, visit inova.org/emergency.

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