Three Reasons Why Urgent Care Centers are the First Place Parents Take Their Autistic Children

Why Urgent Cares are the First Choice for Less Serious Issues

A study conducted in 2015 showed that participants deemed the ED and the way it delivered care as insufficient when it comes to meeting the unique needs of children with ASD.

There are many reasons that urgent care is preferred over the ED for less serious problems or injuries.

The wait time at an urgent care center is usually significantly less when compared to that of an ED. Typically the wait time at urgent care is less than an hour and 80 percent of patients only have to wait for 15 minutes. Compare this to EDs where the average wait time is more than 90 minutes before the patient is taken to a room for initial assessment and over two hours before most patients are discharged.

It’s reported that patients with broken bones have to wait almost one hour before simply receiving pain medication at the ED. The number of people leaving the ER before even being seen has also doubled recently.

girl getting treatment at er

Why Understanding Autism is Important for Urgent Cares

Every patient with autism will possess a different set of characteristics that require a higher level of care and understanding. The ASD population is only growing and it is becoming essential that healthcare professionals in the urgent care setting understand how to provide effective treatment.

As the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States, ASD impacts 1 in every 54 children.

Three Reasons Urgent Care Centers Become the First Option For Autistic Patients.


1. Long Wait Times can be Especially Detrimental with Sensory Disorders

Less waiting means less time parents have to manage their child’s anxiety and stress in a public waiting room, which can be very uncomfortable. Parents of children with autism also often feel that ED staff members don’t quite understand them, especially when they try to show them how to interact with their child. This can increase the child’s stress along with the parent’s.

2. Less People Helps Avoid Sensory Overload

Another benefit to urgent care is that there are far less people in the waiting room than at the ER. The fewer people there are, the less sensory stimulation the child with autism has to endure. Less people also typically means the environment is generally calmer with less noise and general chaos. The unpredictability of the waiting room at the ED is overwhelming for those on the spectrum.

3. Less Medical Staff to Interact with

Seeing many unfamiliar faces and hearing strange voices is a quick way to invoke anxiety and panic within someone who is on the spectrum, but by receiving treatment at an urgent care center this can be minimized or avoided. Urgent care also usually has less medical staff in the examination room during treatment, which means the patient with autism is interacting with fewer strangers.

Urgent care centers are also much smaller than EDs not only meaning they can hold less people, but everything is in closer proximity. The walk to the exam room from the waiting area is shorter, involves running into less people, and in general is less chaotic.

Convenience is another great benefit to urgent care. Nowadays patients have the option to walk right into urgent care or check-in online and even check wait times from home or at work. This could potentially remove the need to wait in a waiting area altogether.

One of the greatest reasons parents who have children with autism visit urgent care is due to the low cost. While trips to the ED can cost an average of $1,900 for outpatient visits and $13,198 for admitted patients, urgent care is far less expensive. Urgent care centers also only provide one bill so there is no additional billing from external companies, which can feel frustrating and misleading.

Increase Customer Retention and Effective Treatment by Becoming Autism Certified

While urgent care is preferred by many parents who have children on the spectrum, there is still room for these facilities to improve their patient care and position themselves as an expert and leader in autism. Becoming autism certified is an efficient way to ensure urgent care staff is equipped with the knowledge and expertise they need to treat autstitic patients with high-quality care.

An autism certification prepares urgent care staff to care for individuals on the spectrum at far greater capacity than those currently providing care at the ED. The certification also communicates to parents who have children with autism that the urgent care center is credible, trustworthy, and prepared to help their child.

Becoming certified allows urgent care centers to stand out and makes the choice for parents between urgent care or the ED an easy one. When parents know that their urgent care center is knowledgeable and capable of caring for their child, they will return when their child is in need.

Improve care and treatment, increase staff’s knowledge and expertise, and boost patient loyalty and retention.

Become an Autism Certified Center.

Learn More About Becoming a Certified Autism Center™



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