July 26, 2023

Need Care Now? Know Where to Go This Summer.

By Matthew Dayno, MD FACEP
Section Chief and Medical Director, Elliot Emergency Medicine Specialists

Summer is the perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy active time with family and friends. Sometimes, that may result in an illness or injury, and you need to make a decision about how to access care.

Emergency Departments, known also as ERs, stand at the ready to provide care 24/7/365 for the community, and The Elliot ER has seen unprecedented numbers of patients. Sometimes, people seeking help face long wait times before being seen. There are multiple factors that contribute to this, including greatly increased need for care exceeds available capacity of ER exam rooms, ambulance traffic, available hospital inpatient beds, and patient volume surges.

Another common reason someone might experience an unnecessarily long wait time in the ER is that they require care for a lower acuity need than others who are waiting. The ER uses a triage system to prioritize acuity and potentially life-threatening conditions and not always on arrival time.

We encourage everyone to have a primary care provider (PCP) to guide them through their health journey. Even when you have a PCP, you can experience health issues outside of business hours. In these cases, visiting an urgent care center may be a more convenient way to get treatment for acute, non-life-threatening health problems without the long wait and more costly bill that comes from an ER visit. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 27% of ER visits are considered “preventable,” meaning the health concern would be better addressed with a primary care visit or urgent care.


When Should I Visit the Emergency Department?

We want to see you in the emergency department in any case that you would consider calling 9-1-1. This includes any life-threatening emergency such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, acute severe allergic reaction, bleeding that will not stop, or serious injury.

When Should I Visit Urgent Care?

Understanding what Urgent Care centers are and which services they provide can help you save time and money next time you need care.

Urgent Care centers, like Elliot Urgent Care in Londonderry, Bedford, and at River’s Edge in Manchester, bridge the gap between routine care and acute care provided by emergency department staff. For your convenience, Elliot Urgent Care centers are open outside of business hours and have on-site labs and imaging. You may also check wait times and schedule appointments online.

The Elliot is fortunate that our Urgent Care centers are staffed by the same talented board-certified emergency medicine physicians and advanced practice providers that staff our ER. Patients recognize how helpful this service is—one person called Elliot Urgent Care a “diamond” with amazing providers—having just what they needed without the longer wait.

Urgent Care clinics are prepared to handle a range of medical conditions and injuries that need immediate attention. Consider visiting urgent care for an acute issue you may address with your primary care physician after hours or if you're having difficulty getting an appointment. Some symptoms and injuries that urgent care staff can diagnose and/or treat include:

  • Respiratory infections (cold, flu, sinus infection, bronchitis)
  • Sore throat
  • Ear infection
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Poison ivy and other rashes
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Sprains and strains
  • Broken bones
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Burns
  • Minor eye injuries
  • Splinter removal
  • Sports and workplace injuries

The Emergency Department at Elliot Hospital is proud to be here for our community. Together, we can ensure that patients receive the care they need when they need it and that our skilled ER staff is always available for the most pressing, emergent medical needs.

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