A family medicine clinic evaluates and treats patients of all ages and typically provides treatment and well examinations for all members of a family. This differs from clinics that are set up for a particular type of patient. For example, some clinics only treat women, and some are intended just for children. This type of clinic, however, can see female patients, male patients, children, and the elderly, treating a wide range of conditions. If a patient has a condition that requires highly specialized care, however, this type of clinic may refer him to as a specialist.
When a person visits a family medicine clinic, he goes to a medical facility that sees patients on a scheduled, outpatient basis. This means he goes to a doctor for a condition that does not require him to be admitted to a hospital and isn't considered an emergency. Sometimes, however, he may also go to this type of clinic when he does need hospitalization. He might do this for the purpose of having a clinic doctor evaluate his condition and arrange for his admission to a hospital and for whatever medical procedures that are necessary. There are some clinics that do see patients for emergencies, but they are often called urgent care clinics rather than family medicine facilities.
Family medicine clinics aren't limited to providing care to people who have medical conditions. They also perform well examinations. A well visit is a doctor's examination in which the person isn't sick or doesn't believe he is. In such a case, his doctor examines him for the signs of illness or disease and checks on his heart rate and blood pressure. He may also listen to the patient's lungs and examine the inside of his nose and ears, his reflexes, his eyes, and other parts of his body. Sometimes he may also perform blood and urine tests in an effort to detect signs of illness and disease.
Though a family medicine clinic may handle a range of patient issues, there are some cases in which more specialized help is required. If a person has a condition that is out of the realm of a clinic doctor's expertise, the doctor may refer the patient to a specialist. For example, if a patient has a neurological condition, or shows signs of it, a family medicine clinic doctor might refer him to a neurologist rather than attempting to treat the patient himself.