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    Urgent or Emergency? Naval Hospital Bremerton Urgent Care Clinic Explained

    Urgent or Emergency? Naval Hospital Bremerton Urgent Care Clinic Explained

    Photo By Douglas Stutz | What's the difference? Anyone with a potential threat to loss of life, limb or...... read more read more



    Story by Douglas Stutz 

    Naval Hospital Bremerton

    What’s the difference between an urgent care clinic (UCC) and an emergency department (ED)?

    Where – and what - should Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) patients do when needing immediate care?

    NHB providers, nurses, and support staff understand that determining where to seek immediate care can be confusing.

    According to Lt. Cmdr. Lisa Abels, NHB UCC Department Head, it is imperative that anyone with a potential threat to loss of life, limb or eye-sight go immediately to the nearest ED – or call 911 – instead of traveling to NHB’s UCC.

    “Any immediately life threatening problems such as severe chest pain, especially if over age 50, severe abdominal pain, especially if over age 50, and difficulty breathing, unresponsiveness, stroke-like symptoms of difficulty speaking/walking, or severe bleeding/trauma should be evaluated in an emergency department. The bottom line is that NHB encourages beneficiaries to immediately head to the nearest hospital emergency room or call 911 if they have a life threatening or serious health problem,” said Abels.

    Abels explained that NHB’s UCC is not staffed or equipped to the same level as an Emergency Department.

    “Whereas an ED can handle initial stabilization and management of all medical problems, an urgent care center is not designed to handle critical illness or unstable patients,” said Abels.

    Nevertheless, Abels stressed that patients will never be turned away from the UCC.

    “Once the patient has arrived, we will make all efforts to care for them until an appropriate transfer can be arranged,” Abels said.

    When a patient arrives at NHB’s UCC that should be treated at an ED, the check-in process immediately commences with that patient evaluated by the triage nurse, then evaluated by the provider on duty.

    “If the patient’s care needs for diagnosis and/or treatment exceed the resources of NHB’s UCC, the patient will be transported by ambulance to a more highly capable facility such as Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton or Madigan Army Medical Center (MAMC). Any interim stabilization/treatment will be done within the abilities of our staff and equipment resources,” Abels explained.

    As is the case in an ED, patients arriving in NHB’s UCC with the most urgent conditions are evaluated first.

    “Because the range of illness/injury severity varies in a UCC, as in an ED, our objective is to provide care to the sickest and most acute patient first,” said Abels.

    Another readily available resource for patients to help determine if they should use an UCC or ED is the Nurse Advice Line (NAL). The NAL is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The nurse will discuss the patient’s concerns and provide recommendations for home treatment/care if applicable, and whether the issue should be addressed via an ED or UCC visit. The Nurse Advice Line’s toll free number is 1-800-874-2273, and then select option one.

    Conditions that require emergency medical care include:

    Severe chest pain or difficulty breathing
    Compound fracture (bone protrudes through skin)
    Convulsions, seizures or loss of consciousness
    Fever in newborn (less than three months old)
    Heavy, uncontrollable bleeding
    Deep knife wounds or gunshot wounds
    Moderate to severe burns
    Eye injuries or loss of vision
    Anaphylaxis (allergic reactions)
    Serious head, neck or back injury
    Severe abdominal pain
    (Signs of) Heart attack (chest pain lasting longer than two minutes)
    (Signs of) Stroke (loss of vision, sudden numbness, weakness, slurred speech, or confusion)
    Suicidal or homicidal feelings

    Urgent medical conditions are ones that are not considered emergencies but still require care within 24 hours. Below are some examples of such conditions:

    Accidents and falls (less than five feet)
    Sprains and strains
    Moderate back problems
    Breathing difficulties (i.e. mild to moderate asthma)
    Bleeding/cuts - not bleeding a lot but requiring stitches
    Diagnostic services, including X-rays and laboratory tests
    Eye irritation and redness
    Fever or flu
    Vomiting, diarrhea or dehydration
    Severe sore throat or cough
    Minor broken bones and fractures (i.e. fingers, toes)
    Skin rashes and infections
    Urinary tract infections

    Patients are also encouraged to use their provider and/or Medical Home Port team to schedule appointments for common illnesses such as flu and fever; minor injuries such as sprains and strains; and regular physicals, prescription refills, vaccinations and screenings.

    Important phone numbers:
    TRICARE Regional Appointment Center 1-800-404-4506
    NHB Pharmacy Refills (360) 475-4217

    NHB Primary Care Clinics
    Family Medicine Clinic (360) 475-4379
    Internal Medicine Clinic (360) 475-4206
    Pediatric Clinic (360) 475-4216

    Branch Health Clinics
    BHC Bangor (360) 315-4391
    BHC Everett (425) 304-4060
    BHC Puget Sound Naval Shipyard (360) 476-2508



    Date Taken: 05.31.2018
    Date Posted: 05.31.2018 11:31
    Story ID: 279015
    Location: BREMERTON , WA, US 

    Web Views: 157
    Downloads: 0
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    Urgent or Emergency? Naval Hospital Bremerton Urgent Care Clinic Explained