OSF OnCall Urgent Care walk-in, virtual care options offer alternatives for winter illness and injuries
Melissa Rule has an active 5-year-old daughter, Charlotte, who just celebrated her birthday. An even bigger celebration could be coming in late January when the little girl will have tiny tubes inserted into her ears to help drain fluid more easily, ending nearly two years of pain from recurring infections. On top of that, Charlotte also has a common childhood condition called nursemaid’s elbow, in which the elbow is easily pulled out of joint because ligaments are still developing.
Rule, of East Peoria, says being able to get her daughter relief from a recent respiratory illness, painful ear infections and her reoccurring elbow dislocation at OSF OnCall Urgent Care has been such a comfort during what can be a scary and overwhelming time. In fact, she says now, Charlotte is also not scared to go.
“You know, I know lots of children after going to the same place, they know where they're going, and they don't want to go. She knows she gets stickers and popsicles every single time, so she's fine with it. And she knows she's going to have some relief.”
Rule appreciates having OSF OnCall Urgent Care conveniently located and recalls a time when her family was at a restaurant in Washington, Illinois, when Charlotte’s elbow came out of its socket.
“I pulled on her arm too quickly because she was running in front of a server, and immediately it popped out. We went around the corner to the urgent care over by Walmart, and they popped it back in. So, we're very thankful for the OSF urgent care and the times that they are available after hours and especially on the weekends too.”
Rule likes that she can call or check online to find the next available appointment and has in-person options to choose from among locations close to her home, work and daycare. The visit itself is also quick.
“You see the nurse; the doctor comes in [and] figures it out; nurse again; here's your paper; and you’re on your way. It is a very quick turnaround time. I would say you're not sitting for 45 minutes before somebody comes in to see you,” says Rule. “And with a child, that is very important to not be sitting there for too long, or even yourself if you're in pain.”
Rule has also used the virtual care option to address pink eye.
An alternative to a trip to the emergency department
With emergency rooms and medical offices busier than ever with the worst flu season in a decade and a harsh and early arrival of RSV, there is an ever-growing need for easy, affordable and accessible high-quality care. OSF OnCall Urgent Care Operations Director Nichole Esterdahl says if someone isn’t sure whether they can do a virtual visit or need to be seen in person, they can start with a website chat.
“They can go to our website and talk to our chatbot Clare, and they can tell Clare what symptoms they're having, and she can kind of help direct them to what could be appropriate as to whether they should be urgent care, ED, or if it's okay to talk with a nurse online; things like that.”
Esterdahl stresses, OnCall Urgent Care can accommodate visits from non-OSF patients. In fact, 30,000 patients who visited or used OSF OnCall virtual care last year were new to OSF HealthCare. The convenient care options are great for minor ailments and injuries, but individuals with chest pain, shortness of breath or a deep wound with excessive bleeding should go immediately to an emergency department. But, Esterdahl explains, for many winter-related issues such as minor coughs, colds, or falling on ice or snow, OSF OnCall Urgent Care is a great option.
“We do sprains, breaks. We have that equipment available. And then, dependent on the results of the Xrays, we're able to splint in clinic. We can provide some durable medical equipment, so we have crutches, walking boots, different slings and splints. And then we can also get patients connected with Ortho, so that we know they're going to get appropriate follow-up.”
Feedback surveys indicate patients like the convenience, including the ability to have common medications and medical devices on site so they can skip a trip to the pharmacy. Plus, Esterdahl says they’ve embraced the ability to schedule their visit, either in-person or virtually, anywhere from 24 to 36 hours in advance.
“It gives patients the option to either go online or call the clinic to schedule a reservation so that when they arrive to the clinic there, regardless of the wait time, they are that next patient to go into a room to be seen by a provider. So busy schedules, you know if you're coming from work or you have something in the evening, you can schedule an appointment and hopefully get right in and out.”
Find the nearest OSF OnCall Urgent Care center near you.
1. Sore throat
2. Persistent cough
3. Viral infection
4. Upper respiratory infection
5. Suspected COVID-19