House Calls

SUM 2018

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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34 { summer 2018 } h o u s e c a l l s Luckily, there are now more ways than ever to receive the medical attention you need when you need it. Over the last several years, Roper St. Francis Healthcare has opened four Express Care locations, keeping up with a nationwide embrace of "urgent care" clinics, known for offering convenient, extended hours without the price tag—or wait time—of the emergency room. "Area residents may find themselves stuck without access to a primary care provider but not wanting to visit the ER," notes Dr. D. Todd Detar, a Roper St. Francis Healthcare affiliated family medicine doctor who serves as Express Care's medical director. "We're here to bridge that gap." But how do you know when to take your case to a walk-in care center versus your primary care doc, and which symptoms warrant a trip to the emergency room? Here, Dr. Detar sheds light on when to go where, plus what to expect from an Express Care visit. According to the Urgent Care Association of America, more than 7,500 centers dot the U.S., and they have a few things in common. Fees there are similar to those you'd encounter at your primary care provider's office; the centers keep extra-long hours (Roper St. Francis Express Cares are open every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.—summer holidays like Labor Day included); and they don't take appointments, meaning patients can drop in anytime. Urgent care providers are able to treat minor maladies like a cut from an oyster bed or a rash that won't quit. "Express Care is also equipped to take care of more pressing needs, as long as they are not threatening to life or limb," says Dr. Detar. For example, X-ray machines are on site to identify broken, or fractured, bones, and providers are able to administer IV fluids in cases of serious dehydration, as one might get from heat exhaustion. Also, on-site lab facilities mean sick patients don't have to travel elsewhere if the doctor orders a blood test. Ultra-capable and easy to access, such facilities proved a success when they first hit the scene about three decades ago. "The community has dictated the need for urgent care," explains Dr. Detar. "People love the convenience; they like that they can walk in and be seen without an appointment." No matter the malady, if you have a primary care doctor and his or her office is open, touching base there is a smart first step. "Whenever possible, call your primary care doctor before you visit Express Care," advises Dr. Detar. "He or she may navigate you to us, or they might be able to fit you in." Visiting a doctor who knows you and your health history is particularly helpful when you're dealing with reoccurring illnesses, such as urinary tract infections and chronic swimmer's ear, as he or she will be familiar with what treatments have and have not worked in the past and what other health factors may be at play. Similarly, "ongoing medical conditions—such as hypertension and diabetes— are best managed in the primary care office, where diet and other aspects of prevention can be discussed," says Dr. Detar. That said, Express Care is ready to pinch-hit when the need arises and is staffed with medical professionals well-versed in any malady you might take to your regular doc. They're ready and able to treat anything from a summer cold or one-off UTI to a shallow cut (even those that require stitches), minor burn from your backyard grill, or a fracture in the wrist, hand, ankle, or foot (as long as the bone hasn't broken the skin). And they can typically get you fixed up more quickly than an emergency room, where your condition may well take a back seat to more urgent matters. As the ER is outfitted to treat the most critical of needs, "it should be your first stop if your symptoms are severe, life- or limb-threatening, B ackyard barbecues and Slip'N Slides, paddling through creeks and jumping into cool blue swimming pools: Summer's high time for fun in the sun. Yet the play-all-day season can also be prime time for pop-up injuries and illnesses, from scrapes and sprains to swimmer's ear and minor grill burns—and they don't always strike on weekdays between 9 and 5. P H O T O G R A P H ( D R . D E T A R ) B Y M I C S M I T H "Area residents may find themselves stuck without access to a primary care provider but not wanting to visit the ER. We're here to bridge that gap." —DR. D. TODD DETAR URGENT CARE, DEFINED WHEN TO VISIT Dr. D. Todd Detar

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