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Acute Care Services In Metro Worcester, MA

Acute care is a branch of secondary health care where a patient receives active but short-term treatment for a severe injury or episode of illness, an urgent medical condition, or during recovery from surgery. Please note: We are no longer accepting new patients.

Below is a list of timeframes for appointments for patients who needs acute care evaluation or services in Metro-Worcester , MA

Urgent Care Visit

NEW Patient: 2-5 days| ESTABLISHED Patient: 1-2 days

Routine Office Visit

NEW Patient: 1-2 weeks | ESTABLISHED Patient: 1-2 weeks

Hospital Discharged

NEW Patient: 2-14 days | ESTABLISHED Patient: 2-7 days

Preventive Services

NEW Patient: 1-3 weeks | ESTABLISHED Patient: 1-3 weeks

Common Urgent Care Symptoms

1. Acute Pain:
     a. Abdominal pain
     b. Chest Pain
     c. Back pain
     d. Knee Pain
     e. Shoulder Pain
     f. Joint Pain (any joint)
2. Coughs
3. Shortness of Breath
4. Dizziness
5. Nausea with or without Vomiting
6. Runny Nose
7. Fever or Chills
8. Heart Burn
9. Frequent or Painful Urination
10. Diarrhea
11. Headaches
12. Fatigue
13. Generalized Weakness
14. Insomnia (Sleeplessness)
15. Sore Throat
16. Itchy Rash
17. Painful Urination
18. Constipation
19. Palpitations
20. Visual Changes

Common Urgent Care Signs

1. Jaundice
2. Blood in Urine
3. Blood in Stool
4. Bleeding Gum
5. Confusion
6. Hallucination
7. Weight Loss
8. Non-Itchy Rash
9. Decreased urination
10. Rapid pulse
11. Dark or Black Stool
12. Blood in the Wipes

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms are perceivable warning and markers of underlying health condition. Symptoms by their very nature aim to draw attention to an acute illness,  a complicating chronic health condition yet to be identified. Often, the evaluation of urgent care symptoms lead to an acute illness which can be treated to its resolution such as pneumonia, acute bronchitis or common cold. Many times, an urgent care evaluation may uncover a silent killer disease, albeit killer diseases some of which have no approved screening strategy from the point of view of evidence-based research nor feasible from routine “preventive health services.” This is why it is also important to seek evaluation of new symptoms (and for that matter, signs), especially when a new symptom (or sign) does not seem right or does not go away. Evaluation of new symptom at times leads to an incidental finding. What follows a new symptom evaluation or incidental finding is a dedicated search for a formal diagnosis—often termed “formal diagnostic workup” in healthcare.

Signs on the other hands are non-perceivable reflections of underlying health condition. Most signs are typically visible to the trained eye. Many times a sign is invisible and therefore only detected during a physical examination, laboratory test or imaging in search of an unrelated health condition. In few cases, a sign of underlying disease is recognized by the consumer. An example of visible sign is jaundice or yellowing of the skin due to pigment deposits. Jaundice is a sign of liver disease or obstructed pancreatic juice passage-way. Jaundice related to liver disease may be due to an infectious or non-infectious process. However, when jaundice is due to an obstructed passage-way of pancreatic juice, it is often due to a gall bladder stone or most worrisomely due to a mass such as pancreatic cancer, a silent killer disease, and an entity which must be identified and treated right away. Another example of an invisible sign detectable by professional physical exam is tachycardia or rapid heart beat. A patient was being examined in the office by his primary care physician at follow-up after a recent hospitalization and found to have tachycardia (rapid heart beating). The physician requested a 12-lead EKG which confirms atrial flutter (A-Flutter) with heart rate ranging in the 180-200’s. The patient was promptly and  appropriately referred back to the hospital via an ambulance for further evaluation. At the hospital, he continued to deny any symptom related to his new A-Flutter, beyond fatigue which he continued to ascribe to deconditioning from being hospitalized for a few days.

Making the Most of Health Evaluations

Nowadays, a patient has 15-minutes to be evaluated by the primary care physician in the office. Sure, a patient may request longer appointment time using the appointment type options. No matter how long your appointment is however, you still have to make sure that you and your doctor can get everything he or she needs to figure out the cause of your presenting symptoms or signs. Here are the 10 cardinal rules of efficiency at every doctor office visit or urgent care visit within your control:

1. Get to the scheduled visit prepared to discuss your most important reason for the visit!
2. Know the major problem that prompted you to seek the evaluation as specifically and clearly as possible
3. Engage discussions during the visit focusing on the major problem while answering clarifying questions from the screener and/or the provider: be frank.
4. If you are seeking the evaluation of a symptom, be prepared to provide what specific symptom it is; a good estimate of when you first felt the symptom; the location of the symptom; duration & frequency of the symptom; and what makes the symptom come on, go away, improve a little or what makes it get worse
5. If you are seeking the evaluation of a sign, be prepared to discuss when you first noticed the sign, how often you have been noticing the sign and why you are worried about the sign or signs
6. In a review of human body systems (ROHBS) that follows—characterized typically by pointed questions answered with “yes” or “no,” your provider is merely attempting to narrow the possible cause of the major problem: never misguide, just reflect what else you have felt or what else you have seen
7. Have an organized way of reflecting what medications—all medications (over-the counter & prescriptions) you are currently taking including the name of the medication; the dose (mg, g, ml, etc.); the route (by mouth, on your skin, etc.); and how often you take the medication (once, twice, 3-times, 4-time or just at sleep time): it is best to bring your medications to the visit, if you don’t already have a pre-made medication list
8. Provide any medication allergy you have ever had as well as the specific “allergic reaction”
9. Your past medical problems, family history and social history may be related to or have bearings on your current problem: always have these information handy.
10. A well done steps 1-9 above puts your provider to work as you should. Right away!

Make no mistake: giving medical history to your provider or obtaining the history of present illness (HPI) from you--the patient is never a game for either one of you. But only you know what symptom(s) or sign(s) made you seek this evaluation in the first place. Your provider is merely searching for the necessary clues to making the diagnosis before developing the treatment plan. And make the diagnosis, he or she will. It is a matter of how long it takes and how much costs will be involved. You would agree with me that the sooner your diagnosis is made, the better. Considering that in healthcare problem-solving, 80% of tasks necessary for reaching the medical diagnosis is in the effort spent acquiring the HPI and ROHBS. Another 10-15% effort is invested in physical examination and sieving through the differential diagnoses (potential diagnoses). The last proportion of the effort is spent in the most expensive and many times unnecessary part of making a new diagnosis: blood tests, imaging studies and the reviews. Lab tests and/or imaging studies may be inevitable in certain cases. But by and large, they are necessitated when the combination of HPI, ROHBS and the relevant physical exam could not enable a firm diagnosis of the presenting problem.