Urgent Care for Cancer Patients: A Gentler ER Alternative

Urgent Care for Cancer Patients: A Gentler ER Alternative

by Stephanie Meadows

Urgent Care Clinics have earned a place in the modern healthcare landscape for their convenience and affordability. But cancer patients, often in need of medical care right away, usually seek treatment in ER departments that can’t offer a safe environment or practitioners experienced in oncologic care.

Thankfully, urgent care centers are adapting to meet the needs of cancer patients. This can be the ideal solution for a patient suffering from any number of common health issues that can come on suddenly during the course of cancer treatment, including:

  • High fever due to infection
  • Severe nausea
  • Uncontrolled vomiting or diarrhea
  •  Dehydration
  •  Pain

Cancer treatments, especially chemotherapy, can weaken the immune system and cause unintended illness in patients. The drugs that are strong enough to attack cancer cells often have the side effect of incidental damage to healthy organs. Cancer patients may need care right away, and at times of the day or night when their oncology center is not open.

Traditionally, oncology practices sent their patients to the emergency room to treat sickness that was either caused or made worse by their cancer treatment. But ER departments are a terrible place for cancer patients to be. Filled with crowds and germs, patients sometimes have to wait hours for care, as their illness is prioritized behind life threatening injuries and diseases.

 In response to this need, hospitals like Johns Hopkins and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas created urgent care centers just for oncology patients. Clean and (relatively) quiet, these urgent care centers are equipped to treat common complaints of chemo patients. They also have medical practitioners experienced in treating cancer patients, who know what to look for and what questions to ask. Hospitals affiliated with the oncology centers have all the patients’ medical records instantly at hand.

As an added incentive, Medicare and Medicaid are penalizing hospitals that admit cancer patients for illnesses that should not require inpatient care. As the healthcare industry responds to the growing need for responsive and affordable care for cancer patients, there are sure to be more urgent care centers dedicated to their care.

Finding a reliable and trustworthy urgent care center in your area is important to your health and wellness. Colonial Urgent Care is here when you need us, seven days a week, with two locations in the Columbia and Sumter area. Give us a call at (803) 773-5227, or request an appointment online.