Urgent Care vs Emergency Care

Urgent Care vs Emergency Care

Know your treatment options for sudden health care needs

Illness or injury can suddenly strike. You wake up in the middle of the night with severe abdominal pain. Your spouse stumbles while carrying groceries up a flight of stairs and can no longer put weight on their swollen ankle. Or your baby spikes a high fever on the weekend.

When these situations occur, we’re often faced with uncertainty about where to go for care, especially if the symptoms seem severe and our regular doctor’s office is closed.

While the answer is not always simple, knowing the difference between urgent care and emergency care and where to seek treatment could save your life in a medical emergency.

When to go to Urgent Care

Urgent care clinics help fill a vital gap when you become sick or injured when your regular doctor is not available, and you are unable to wait for an appointment. If your sudden illness or injury is something you would normally feel comfortable addressing with your primary care doctor, then an urgent care clinic is probably more appropriate than the emergency department.

Symptoms that are best evaluated in an urgent care setting include:

  • Allergies
  • Ear or eye infection
  • Fever
  • Cuts that may require stitches
  • Possible broken bones or simple fractures
  • Rashes and minor burns
  • Severe sore throat
  • Sprains and strains
  • Vomiting/diarrhea
  • Vaccinations

OrthoExpress at Monument Health Orthopedic and Specialty Hospital specializes in urgent situations that involve:

  • Sports injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Sprains and strains
  • Swollen joints
  • Injuries to the hands, wrists or shoulders
  • Back pain
  • Muscle and tendon strains
  • Ligament and joint sprains
  • Broken collarbone, AC joint sprain or separated shoulder
  • Torn bicep, tricep or quadricep tendon
  • Hamstring injuries
  • Lower extremity injury

When to go to the Emergency Department

Hospital emergency departments provide medical care 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Emergency care teams are trained to provide a full range of medical care for patients of all ages with illness or injury. Urgent care clinics do not provide this same level of service.

There are a number of medical conditions that are considered emergencies because they can require rapid or advanced treatments (such as surgery) that are only available in a hospital setting. Patients visiting the Emergency Department are triaged or prioritized based on the severity of their situation, so wait times at Emergency Departments may be longer than at an Urgent Care if your symptoms are less severe.

Symptoms that are best evaluated in an emergency department include:

  • Chest pain or squeezing sensation
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Seizure or loss of consciousness
  • Serious burns
  • Severe or sudden pain
  • Sudden paralysis or slurred speech
  • Uncontrolled bleeding

Monument Health Custer Urgent Care Services
1220 Montgomery Street
Custer, SD 57730
605-673-9440

Monument Health Deadwood Urgent Care Services
71 Charles Street
Deadwood, SD 57732
605-717-6431

OrthoExpress at Monument Health Orthopedic & Specialty Hospital
1635 Caregiver Circle
Rapid City, SD 57702
605-755-6180

Monument Health Rapid City Urgent Care
2116 Jackson Boulevard
Rapid City, SD 57702
605-755-3906

Monument Health Rapid City Urgent Care
1303 North Lacrosse Street
Rapid City, SD 57701
605-755-6605

Monument Health Spearfish Urgent Care Services
1420 North 10th Street
Spearfish, SD 57783
605-717-8676

Monument Health Sturgis Urgent Care Services
2140 Junction Avenue
Sturgis, SD 57785
605-720-2566

Monument Health Custer Hospital
1220 Montgomery Street
Custer, SD 57730
605-673-9440

Monument Health Lead-Deadwood Hospital
61 Charles Street
Deadwood, SD 57732
605-717-6000

Monument Health Rapid City Hospital
353 Fairmont Boulevard
Rapid City, SD 57701
605-755-1000

Monument Health Spearfish Hospital
1440 North Main Street
Spearfish, SD 57783
605-644-4007

Monument Health Sturgis Hospital
2140 Junction Avenue
Sturgis, SD 57785
605-720-2566

*In the event of an emergency please dial 911