Urgent Care Visits: When To Go and What To Bring With You

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle,

When something doesn’t feel right, a trip to the ER might be on your mind. But what happens when it is a nonemergency? Urgent care exists as an alternative to the ER when there are nonemergency related health concerns.

Warning Signs

Before you take a trip to Instacare, take a long look at common emergency warning signs. Trouble breathing, consistent chest pain, profuse bleeding or an inability to discern reality. All of these are signs that you should prioritize an ER visit. There are plenty of other warning signs to look out for, and several unique situations that will also require an ER visit.

Getting wrapped up in the meaning of warning signs should not lead to unneeded stress. Do you feel comfortable driving to an urgent care, or would it be too difficult to manage? Being able to get behind the wheel is a good sign that your health-related issue can be handled by an urgent care.

What to Bring

Bring your insurance card and drivers license when going to an urgent care. If you’re on a lot of medications, bringing a picture is a lot easier than trying to remember all of the dosages. Proof of insurance will make things easier to sort out when copay is involved. Without your insurance information, the visit can’t be filed with the insurance company. That means you’ll be fully responsible for the visit since it won’t be covered by a compatible insurance plan. Forms need to be filled out the first time you go to urgent care. When possible, check-in online to fill out the paperwork. This will save time, and make your first visit less of a hassle!

What to Expect

urgicare-medicaloffice-emergency-roomAn emergency room is open at all times, but an urgent care has dedicated hours. Even if there are two urgent cares on the same block, they will have different opening and closing times. This is something you have to keep in mind before going into the clinic. That means it is entirely possible that you will be treated by a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner. This is normal, as every person that sees you is a professional that can diagnose and prescribe treatments. But for some patients, the idea of not seeing a doctor may be jarring. If not seeing a doctor is a bothersome thought, then it is a good idea to call ahead to get an understanding of the current staffing.


One of the biggest reasons prescribed treatments fail is because the patient doesn’t finish their medication. Follow the instructions given for a treatment to ensure that an urgent care visit isn’t wasted time.

Urgent cares are not ‘discount’ emergency rooms. The two facilities handle different types of health problems. That is why an urgent care has no problem telling a patient to visit the ER. Health problems that are outside the scope of an urgent care visit will always lead to an ER referral.

Don’t Hesitate

Play it safe to avoid a minor issue from becoming a major problem. Since urgent care exists, there is no reason to overlook health concerns. Whenever you have doubts about your health, follow your gut and do the right thing.

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Last Updated on February 28, 2023 by Marie Benz