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Understanding Health Care Facilities

There are many different kinds of health care facilities. You can get health care for yourself and your family at many of these. You do not need to just go to a hospital or emergency room. Where you go will depend on your needs. Read below to learn more.

Look on the Internet or in the phone book to find health care facilities near you. Check under clinics or health services. You can also check under rehabilitation services or centers.

Your Doctor’s Office

Your primary care doctor may be the first place to try. Doctors can treat common illnesses. They can treat minor injuries. If you have a chronic health problem, they can watch your health and treat your condition. They can refer you to a specialist. Or they can admit you to the hospital. You can ask the receptionist how to get help after office hours. You may be able to reach your doctor. Or you may be able to talk to another doctor on call.

Urgent Care Center

An urgent care center is where to go when you can't reach your doctor. Most are open at night and on weekends. And they may be open on holidays. Here you can get care for health problems that are not life-threatening. 

Emergency Room (ER)

The ER is for severe illness and injury only. The ER provides care for life-threatening health problems. If your condition is not severe, you can call your doctor. Or you can go to an urgent care center.

Outpatient Services

If you have an outpatient procedure, you do not need to spend the night in the hospital. You go to the hospital or surgery center in the morning and have the procedure. You go home later that day. You can have tests done in outpatient services the week before you have the procedure. Tests may include blood or urine tests, or X-rays.


A hospital is where you get inpatient care when very ill or injured. They have medical, surgical, and mental health care.

Rehabilitation (Rehab) Center

A rehab center helps people get better after a serious health problem. They may have both inpatient and outpatient care. You may be sent to one if you have had a heart attack or a stroke. You may be sent to one if you have a serious injury. In rehab, specialists help you regain basic skills. They help you increase muscle strength and flexibility.

Skilled Nursing Facility

A skilled nursing facility provides inpatient care. It can fill the gap between hospital and home care. You can do physical therapy here. And you can get other rehabilitation services.


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