After Hours Care, Emergency Treatment, Primary Care: How to Know Which Care You Need | UnityPoint Health – Meriter

Whether you’re sick, injured or just in need of an annual physical, there are several options for care. It can be difficult to know where to go for what kind of care. Here is a quick guide on where to go for care at UnityPoint Health – Meriter

After Hours Care

Urgent or Walk-in care treats minor medical problems and injuries that are not life-threatening but need the attention of a health care provider same-day. Urgent care is available after hours, weekends and holidays. 

UnityPoint Health – Meriter offers a weekend after-hours clinic that is located on Level 2 of the hospital campus at 202 S Park St, Madison, WI. The clinic is open Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

What can I be seen for at the After-Hours Clinic?

  • Allergies 
  • Burns 
  • Coughs 
  • Cuts (that may require stitches)
  • Earaches or ear infections 
  • Fevers 
  • Minor injuries 
  • Fractures, Sprains 
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs) or yeast infections 
  • Sore throats, colds, or flu (add other respiratory illnesses?) 

It’s important to note that the After-Hours Clinic is not an alternative or replacement for the emergency department but offers the ability to get care after primary care clinic hours without an appointment for patients of all ages. 

Urgent or emergent care should never serve as a replacement for regular, preventative care that can be handled by a primary care provider. Immunizations, physicals and/or sports physicals need to be scheduled with a primary care provider.

Emergency Treatment

The UnityPoint Health – Meriter emergency department is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365-days-a-year and is available to people of all ages who need emergency treatment. 

Emergency departments treat severe and/or life-threatening conditions and should not be used for routine care or minor ailments. 

When should you go to the emergency department?

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Chest pain 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness to one side of the body or difficulty speaking 
  • Poisoning 
  • Severe allergic reactions 
  • Severe, unaccustomed headache 
  • Chemical injuries 
  • Broken bones or head injuries

These are only a few examples of emergent situations, but individuals experiencing these, or similar conditions should call 911 or report to the emergency department immediately.

When to call an ambulance?

Medical emergencies happen far more often than you may think. In Madison, one of every three persons is treated for a medical emergency each year. It is likely that you, a friend or family member will need emergency care during the course of an average year. 

Life-threatening situations often require immediate medical intervention, such as the previously listed conditions. You must use your own judgement to decide if an ambulance is needed. 

If you determine an ambulance is needed, dial 911 to receive first responder support. 

The Unity Point Health – Meriter emergency department is located at 202 S Park St, Madison, WI. It is  staffed by physicians who are board certified in Emergency Medicine, as well as  registered nurses who maintain certifications in  pediatric emergencies and trauma care.

Preventative or Routine Care

Your primary care clinic provider should be your first call in non-emergency situations. Your clinic team knows you and your health history best. 

Your primary care provider works to help you stay well and provide the right treatment when you are sick. Your primary care provider can also diagnose and treat many health-related problems and will coordinate care if you need to see a specialist. 

When establishing care with a provider, patients can choose to see a family medicine provider or an internal medicine provider, also known as an internalist. A family medicine provider treats adults and children of all ages, providing a wide range of health services, including preventative care, pediatrics and care for chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Internal medicine providers treat adults 18 years  and older. This includes both healthy individuals and those with complex medical issues. 

You can see a primary care doctor for:

  • Annual physicals 
  • Care for an ongoing health concern 
  • When you are sick with a cold or the flu, or other respiratory illness
  • Preventative care
  • To receive immunizations
  • Sports physicals 
  • Medication refills 

If you do not have a primary care provider, it might be time to schedule an appointment, as your primary care provider is your best defense against health-related conditions that could become emergent. 

Click here to find a primary care provider at UnityPoint Health – Meriter. You can search for a provider or clinic location nearest you. 

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