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Where to Seek Care

Where You Go For Your Care Matters

Choosing where to go for care depends a lot on what you need care for, and how seriously ill or injured you are. This guide can help you decide what level of service you need.

When to Seek Primary Care

If someone has a minor illness or injury, needs assistance with a chronic illness or needs a routine health exam or immunization, a primary care provider is the right choice.

Primary care is a great choice for:

  • Acute, minor, illnesses and injuries
  • Chronic disease management
  • A worsening chronic illness
  • Routine health exam or immunizations
  • Sports, school or employment physicals

See a list of MultiCare Primary Care locations.

When to Seek Urgent Care

If someone becomes ill or is injured and their condition does not pose an immediate, serious threat to their health or life, urgent care is the right choice.

When your regular doctor or health care provider is not available, you should go to an urgent care clinic for:

  • Cold or flu symptoms
  • Earache
  • Fevers
  • Foreign object in eye or nose
  • Migraines
  • Minor burns or bruises
  • Minor fracture
  • Rash, poison ivy, allergic reaction
  • Scrapes or minor cuts
  • Sore throat
  • Sprain

MultiCare offers you a range of urgent care options across the state, from traditional urgent care clinics to MultiCare Indigo Urgent Care's highly personalized care model. See a list of all our MultiCare Urgent Care locations.

When to Seek Emergency Care

If you think someone could suffer significant harm or die without prompt attention, seek emergency care — or call 911 — immediately.

Emergency care is the right choice for treating conditions such as:

  • Coughing or vomiting blood
  • Deep cuts or bleeding that won't stop
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Numbness in the face, arm, or leg
  • Seizures
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe burns
  • Sudden blurred vision
  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Sudden dizziness, weakness, or loss of coordination or balance

See a list of MultiCare Emergency Departments.

When to Seek Care at Home

When you are not feeling well because of a minor illness or injury, leaving the house is not always desirable or convenient. In recent years, a number of virtual care offerings have become available, allowing you to get care from qualified medical professionals by connecting with them online.

Virtual care is the right choice for treating conditions such as:

  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Cold & Flu 
  • Minor Eye Issues
  • Rashes & Skin Issues
  • Sinus Infections
  • UTIs & Yeast Infections
  • and more

Learn more about MultiCare's virtual care options.

House call services have also become more common throughout the region. 

House call services may be the right choice for conditions such as:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Cold or flu
  • Cuts that need stitches
  • Diarrhea
  • Ear infection or pain
  • Eye infection
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Joint or back pain
  • Minor bone breaks
  • Nausea
  • Nosebleeds
  • Rashes
  • Sinus infection
  • Sore Throat
  • Strains or sprains
  • Urinary tract infection

House call services may also be able to perform tests and procedures, such as:

  • IV placement
  • IV fluids
  • Stitches
  • Splinting
  • Advanced on-site blood testing
  • Urinary catheter insertion
  • Infectious disease testing (flu, strep, mono, RSV)

House call services are particularly well suited for elderly patients, patients who don't drive or have access to reliable transportation and patients who may have to be re-admitted to the hospital if they don't receive immediate care.

MultiCare, in partnership with DispatchHealth, offers on-demand, in-person care in Tacoma and Pierce County. Learn more about our house call service.

Drive or Dial 911?

You should call 911 to get an ambulance if:

  • The condition is life-threatening
  • The injured person needs to be moved by medical personnel to prevent further injury
  • The distance or traffic would cause a significant delay in getting to the hospital