Experts Offer Dos and Don'ts of Walk-In Clinic Care

SATURDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The number of retail walk-in clinics in the United States is expected to double by the end of this year, and older adults need to know when it's appropriate to use these clinics and when they should see their doctor instead, says the American Geriatrics Society.

The society offers the following list of Dos and Don'ts for elderly people:

  • Clearly explain to the walk-in clinic's health care professional all of your medical problems and any allergies or problems you have with medications.
  • Bring a complete list of your current medications and ask the clinic health care provider to check the list to be certain that the drugs on the list agree with any new medications the clinic doctor may prescribe.
  • Get a report from the clinic with your diagnosis and follow-up instructions. Take that report with you the next time you see your geriatrician or primary care doctor.
  • Don't go to a retail medical clinic if you have major new symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or leg swelling. These symptoms require immediate attention by your doctor.
  • Don't go a retail medical clinic if you notice a change with a medical problem that you've had for a long time and is already being treated by your doctor. See your own doctor.
  • Don't use these clinics if you've had a cough for three or more weeks. This situation requires special medical attention.
  • Don't use a retail medical clinic for the majority of your health care. These clinics provide only basic tests and treatments.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Geriatrics Society, news release, February 2007

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