Pediatrician, Emergency Department or Immediate Care?

It's hard to know how to respond to your child's middle-of-the-night fever or sudden injury. We share tips from Dr. Adia George, medical director of the Chicagoland Children’s Health Alliance Immediate Care in Wilmette.

Your child is sick or injured and needs to be seen by experts. But what level of care do they need? The answer doesn’t always come easy to parents. Pediatrician? Emergency department? What about an immediate care?

Dr. Adia George, medical director of the Chicagoland Children’s Health Alliance Immediate Care (CCHA) in Wilmette — a partnership between Advocate Children’s Hospital, NorthShore University HealthSystem and the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital — offers insight into the differences between a visit to the emergency department and a trip to immediate care.

What is immediate care?

You may not be sure what type of care is provided at an immediate care. As time goes by, the climate of medicine is constantly adapting to the world in which we live. The field of immediate care is a relatively new one born out of a culture and climate of immediacy. Immediate care is increasing in popularity because it offers the convenience of being seen by a clinician right away.

The first thing to remember about an immediate care site is that it is not a replacement for your child’s pediatrician. If you have a question about your child’s health, call your child’s pediatrician first. Many issues can be triaged over the phone. If care is needed, the pediatrician can help direct you to the best level of care for your child.

What is the difference between an immediate care location and the emergency department?

Immediate care serves as an extension of the primary care offices. In fact, immediate care locations often see patients from community pediatricians who require a same-day visit but weren’t able to be seen in the pediatrician’s office, as well as visits for management of asthma, minor injuries, minor fractures and lacerations that require simple repair. Additional common ailments treated include the common cold and coughs, rashes, and foreign body removal (rocks in ears, splinters in fingers and earring removal).

CCHA Immediate Care in Wilmette offers unique treatments to help get children feeling their best again. They coordinate with the on-site care team to administer intravenous (IV) infusions, vaccinations and more. Child Life specialists are also on-site to help ease anxiety for both parents and children. Child Life specialists use distraction tools and activities to lessen the discomfort and pain that often accompany medical procedures or treatment. Everyone at CCHA Immediate Care strives to keep visits under one hour.

Why go to a specialist pediatric immediate care?

An immediate care location dedicated specifically to pediatrics means parents can feel at ease knowing every clinician there is trained to work with children and does so on a daily basis. This is so important because children are not just small adults. They are unique people who require and deserve special care.

If your child is severely sick, they will need to be seen in an emergency department. But as a general rule for immediate care, think of CCHA Immediate Care as an elevation from the pediatrician’s office. They are there when you need them.

As the only pediatric immediate care on the North Shore, the team is standing by to treat your child’s urgent health care needs. At the Chicagoland Children’s Health Alliance Pediatric Immediate Care in Wilmette, a pediatrician is always on staff, during routine, as well as extended evening and weekend hours to deliver exceptional care, close to home. Schedule an appointment online now at

Claire Charlton
Claire Charlton
An enthusiastic storyteller, Claire Charlton focuses on delivering top client service as a content editor for Chicago Parent. In her 20+ years of experience, she has written extensively on a variety of topics and is keen on new tech and podcast hosting. Claire has two grown kids and loves to read, run, camp, cycle and travel.
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