Why Urgent Care May Not Be Your Best Choice

When you or a family member get sick, do you go to urgent care? If so, you may want to reconsider.

Urgent care facilities have become common. Most people live within close proximity to one or more. These facilities can be handy for quick-fix issues that need speedy attention, but don’t require an emergency room. Urgent care often is open after hours and on weekends, making it a convenient option for busy people. In addition, they are often less expensive than a visit to the emergency room.

Despite all of this, depending on your reason for visiting, urgent care may not be your best choice. Here’s why:

1. Lack of medical history
Your family physician or pediatrician knows you and your children best. They have records of all of your previous visits and are familiar with your medical history. The urgent care facility will not have this same understanding of your background. They will be able to assess your current illness or ailment, but will not have your full medical history to add context to the situation.

2. Possible drug interaction issues
You always want to be careful about drug interactions between anything you are taking now and whatever the urgent care physician prescribes. Because that physician does not have your full medical history, they also may not know what you are currently taking or what you have had experience with – good or bad – in the past. If you do go to urgent care, make sure you tell them everything about medications you are taking now, allergies, or adverse effects you have experienced in the past. Then check with your pharmacist and your family physician to make sure the any medication prescribed by the urgent care physician is safe for you to take.

3. Difficulty following up
When you visit urgent care, you may have trouble following up with the physician you saw. Sometimes the staff you saw at night is not available during the day, or they may hold a position with another medical facility during other hours. Often, the urgent care physician will tell you during your visit to schedule a follow-up appointment with your own family physician. This is always a good idea and will give you the opportunity to address any questions or concerns you had after your urgent care facility, as well as allow your family physician to update your medical history.

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About Do Not Resuscitate Orders

A recent news story highlighted an ethical dilemma that arose for doctors who were treating an unresponsive patient and found “Do Not Resuscitate” and a signature tattooed on the patient’s chest. Fortunately, the physicians eventually were able to locate an actual Do Not Resuscitate form for the patient and could, therefore, honor those wishes.

Just what is a Do Not Resuscitate, or DNR, order? A DNR expresses, in a legal format, your wishes not to have lifesaving measures performed should the need arise. This document provides clear direction for your hospital, assisted living facility or nursing home.

Upon admittance to a health facility, you may be asked about your wishes should an event arise where you are unable to answer in the moment. For example, if you stop breathing, have a heart issue, a stroke or any other condition that may put you in a position for life-saving measures, do you want the hospital to do everything possible to keep you alive?

There is no right answer. You may decide you want life-saving measures, or you may decide you don’t want them. When my parents were nearing the end of their lives, they made the decision that they had lived full lives and if they were to stop breathing, they wanted to be left to die. The point is that you should make this decision at a time when you are able to avoid the decision being made for you.

Although DNR is a common term, you may hear some hospitals refer to this as “no code,” which means they won’t call for help to revive you if you stop breathing or are unconscious. The hospital may also refer to “allowing a natural death,” which means the same thing.

If you haven’t already, discuss your Do Not Resuscitate wishes with your doctor, hospital or healthcare facility. They will let you know how to proceed with the proper paperwork.

Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/do-not-resuscitate-dnr-tattoo-leaves-doctors-debating-whether-to-save-his-life/

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2 Health Items to Bring When You Travel

Holiday season is upon us, which means you may have some plans for travel. Whether you are hitting the road or catching a flight, there are two things you should always make sure to bring with you.

First, bring any medications you and your loved ones will need while you are away. This includes daily medications, as well as any “as needed” medications. It’s best to bring them in their original package to ensure you use the right medication during travel. It also helps TSA agents at the airport identify what you have in your bag. If any of your prescription medications are running low, consider refilling them before you travel. It’s usually easier to do so at your own pharmacy rather than in a different location that may or may not have your particular store. Also, even if you’re not traveling, it’s a good idea to refill prescriptions before holidays, which may impact pharmacy hours.

Second, bring your health insurance card. If you keep your health insurance card in your wallet, you may be all set. Just remember, if you switch wallets for travel, be sure to grab your insurance card. Hopefully you won’t need it, but you never know what might happen while you’re away. One of your family members might get sick and need to visit a local clinic. You may need to fill or refill a prescription while you’re away. By taking your health insurance card with you wherever you go, you will be prepared for the unexpected and possibly avoid extra out-of-pocket costs.

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