October 20, 2014
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Urgent Care facilities helpful alternative for summer physicals
Jennifer Rodrigues

With the school year winding down and the weather warming up, kids are getting ready for summer vacation. Many may be preparing to participate in day or sleep-away camps, while others are dreaming of all the fun they will have in the sun. But with those summer days comes the need for routine physicals for camp and a multitude of summer ailments such as sun poisoning, poison ivy and more.

Instead of struggling to schedule an appointment at your physician’s office amid a hectic work schedule and end of the school year events, Dr. Olivier Gherardi of CareWell Urgent Care in Warwick (located at 535 Centerville Road) says urgent care facilities can provide all the necessary care with less of the hassle.

“Sometimes it can be very difficult to get into their primary care office,” said Gherardi. “That’s where we come in.”

Typically, summer camps require a physical so a doctor can give the child the okay to participate in various sports or other outdoor activities. More often than not there is a form that needs to be filled out and returned to the camp before final registration. All of that can be taken care of by the doctors at most urgent care facilities.

“There is usually a standard form from the camp. We do have a couple of standardized forms for Rhode Island,” said Gherardi. Other times, proof of a physical such as a doctor’s note is sufficient.

Part of the benefit of visiting an urgent care for this in the coming weeks is timing. CareWell is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week, providing after-work and weekend hours to help out working parents.

“You don’t need an appointment. It is walk-in format, but we do offer appointments for convenience,” said Gherardi.

Many may be concerned about wait times at urgent care, but Gherardi says after a five- to 10-minute registration there is not much of a wait to be seen by the doctor.

“Most of the time there is no wait,” said Gherardi. “We will try to accommodate them as much as we can.”

As for summer ailments or minor injuries, Gherardi says those can also be handled at the urgent care.

“Anytime someone has a mild or moderate injury, we can see them, treat them and splint them,” said Gherardi.

In the event of a broken bone or similar injury, Gherardi explained, the staff at urgent care could treat the patient and refer them to a specialist for further support or physical therapy. Gherardi said the urgent care could be seen as a first-stop if the ailment is not severe.

“If their physician is not available, we are certainly the first stop,” he said.

Urgent care facilities can apply stitches, treat lacerations, administer tetanus shots, treat burns and provide IV on site in the event of mild dehydration. Allergic reactions such as poison ivy or various bug bites can also be treated.

“Anything that’s stable,” said Gherardi.  

While urgent care can be a first-stop if an individual is bleeding profusely, having difficulty breathing or swallowing, experiencing severe breaks or displacements or facing other serious issues, an ER is still the best bet. Overall, urgent care facilities provide a quicker and more comfortable alternative for kids with minor or moderate medical issues.

“It’s certainly going to be a matter of time. They are going to be seen much quicker than at the ER,” said Gherardi, estimating a 30-minute window to be seen and treated.

There is also the cost difference.

“Cost is going to be a lot smaller compared to an emergency room visit,” said Gherardi. “I think they will like the environment more than the emergency room, where they can feel rushed.”

So, in the event of minor medical issues this summer or a last-minute physical, Gherardi recommends people consider the neighborhood urgent care as a fast, reliable alternative to an emergency room or doctor’s office.


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