Are Urgent Care Locations Open 24 Hours A Day?
With nearly three million patient visits per year, urgent care facilities across the country do employ extended hours. These hours, however, do vary by facility.
The Need For Extended Hours
On average, almost 350 patients visit urgent care facilities per week. With the conditions they treat – ranging from broken bones to flesh wounds to flu symptoms and fevers – urgent cares need to be available when primary care physicians are not because we all know these types of injuries and illnesses never occur at convenient times or places.
Hours of Operation
Most urgent care centers are open seven days a week. Typically, a walk-in clinic will begin servicing patients as early as 7:00 a.m. and stay open for patient care until as late as 9:00 p.m. There are exceptions depending on the facility, but this would be considered the average. Those needing emergency care may find some clinics open as late as midnight or offer extended hours on dedicated days throughout the week. It's best to call centers and obtain a list of their general hours and extended hours to ensure the clinic is open.
Best Time to Visit an Urgent Care
Arrival and waiting times vary depending upon when patients choose to visit walk-in clinics. Over 50 percent of urgent care patients waiting 15 min or less and a nationwide average wait time between 15-45 minutes. Early morning and the noon hour are both times when clinics experience the most visitors with additional influx occurring between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m., just after typical medical offices close. Depending on the severity of the patient, some triage and patient care priority is implemented for optimal care. This means patients who aren't severely ill may not be seen first. If the urgent care facility offers extended hours, for minor illness, it's best to plan a visit during non-peak times. Finally, urgent care centers do offer emergency aid so it's essential those experiencing severe trauma visit the clinic as soon as possible. However, you may want to consider a trip to the emergency room.