What Is an Emergency Care Clinic?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
An emergency care clinic is more like a walk-in clinic as opposed to an emergency room in a hospital.
An emergency care clinic is more like a walk-in clinic as opposed to an emergency room in a hospital.

The term “emergency care clinic” is typically used to describe a health care service that provides services to human or animal patients on a walk-in basis. An emergency care clinic is usually separate and distinct from a hospital emergency department, which is usually known as an emergency room (ER) in the United States or an accident & emergency (A&E) department in hospitals in the United Kingdom. While care provided in an ER or A&E may include lifesaving measures in case of a life-threatening accident or emergency, an emergency care clinic may offer more limited services. These clinics may operate as urgent care centers, walk-in dental clinics, or emergency veterinary services to treat critically ill animals.

Emergency care clinics may or may not have their own ambulance service to transport patients.
Emergency care clinics may or may not have their own ambulance service to transport patients.

In many countries, hospitals offer access to lifesaving treatment through emergency departments that are always open and staffed with medical professionals. These departments typically also offer other health care services to individuals who are suffering from non-life-threatening but otherwise painful or serious conditions that need immediate attention. As an alternative to using emergency departments, some people may choose to use the services of an urgent care clinic, sometimes called a minor emergency care clinic, which is a health care practice that does not require patients to have an appointment before receiving treatment for a non-life-threatening condition. This conserves the emergency department’s resources and typically allows a patient to see a doctor more quickly than he would in an emergency room, where the more serious cases are always addressed first.

Other types of emergency care clinics operate as veterinary or dental practices. A veterinary emergency care clinic typically provides care to ill or injured animals during times that most veterinary practices are closed, such as at night, during weekends, or on holidays. Some of these clinics may offer routine exams and other services as well, catering to people whose schedules keep them from taking their pets to the vet during regular hours.

A dental emergency care clinic may operate as part of a dental school or large dental practice. Like urgent care centers, these clinics often operate on a walk-in basis, allowing individuals who need dental exams or care for a painful tooth condition to receive services. In some instances, these dental clinics may offer only a limited menu of services, such as simple extractions or an examination and treatment in cases where a person is experiencing severe oral pain. Dental school emergency care clinics typically provide dental students with opportunities to practice dentistry under the supervision of their instructors, while licensed dentists may provide extended hours during certain days of the week or operate a 24-hour answering service that allows people who are dealing with a dental emergency to receive advice and care.

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    • An emergency care clinic is more like a walk-in clinic as opposed to an emergency room in a hospital.
      By: Stephen Finn
      An emergency care clinic is more like a walk-in clinic as opposed to an emergency room in a hospital.
    • Emergency care clinics may or may not have their own ambulance service to transport patients.
      By: maxim1804
      Emergency care clinics may or may not have their own ambulance service to transport patients.