UAB Medicine has opened a new orthopaedic urgent care clinic at UAB Hospital-Highlands. It was created to serve patients who don’t require treatment in an emergency room but do need care from advanced practice providers (APPs) for minor injuries involving the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, or muscles.
The clinic offers the option of same-day or next-day care, which may be ideal for people with ankle sprains, shoulder injuries, or joint pain who wish to avoid a long wait in a busy emergency room. Andrea Boohaker, DNP, CRNP-BC, RNFA, APP manager in the UAB Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, says the clinic is designed to speed up the process of specialized orthopaedic care.
“For patients presenting to the emergency room, a medical screening exam is completed by our emergency physicians. For those patients with orthopaedic issues that can be best treated in an orthopaedic urgent care setting, they will be routed out of the Emergency Department and into the new clinic,” Boohaker said. “This will help with overcrowding and get these patients to the most appropriate providers more efficiently.
Boohaker says the clinic is for patients who do not need trauma care but still are experiencing a non-emergency orthopaedic issue.
“We won’t be seeing patients who have been in a severe auto accident or fallen from a high ladder and may have a serious spinal injury,” Boohaker said. “Trauma injuries like that, or those that cause open lacerations or protruding bones, still require emergency care. But if you’re a patient who ran 10 miles yesterday and now you have lingering pain in your knee, that’s where our team can provide advanced care right away.”
Located on the first floor of UAB Hospital-Highlands and staffed by APPs, the clinic will be open two days a week during the startup phase. The providers treat general joint pain; hand, wrist, and ankle sprains; bruising, and fractures that don’t require surgery. Orthopaedic surgeons and physicians are available as needed, and the clinic provides follow-up care when necessary.
“We are always looking for ways to improve access to care at UAB, and creating the option of same-day or next-day care for this patient population does that,” Boohaker said. “Sports and outdoor activity, physically demanding jobs, repetitive tasks, and other physical activity often lead to a wide range of orthopaedic issues, so we suspect that our patient volume will increase. Our goal is to eventually expand staff and hours of operation and continue to partner with the UAB Emergency Department and UAB Urgent Care staff to offer urgent orthopaedic care throughout the UAB system.”
Click here to make an appointment with UAB Orthopaedic Services, or call 205-930-8339.