Serial Health: Know when to look for the Basic Health Unit

Common traits of serial killers in healthcare—and policies to thwart them

Did you fall and twist your foot? Are you experiencing intense heart palpitations, or do you stop vomiting and have a lot of fever? This is the time to rush to the nearest Emergency Unit: the UPA. But if you have that boring headache that bothers you for most of the day, or if you need to know how your blood sugar is, have a cold, or even change a dressing, the ideal place is the Basic Health Unit (UBS) ), popularly known as a health digital clinic or posting.

It turns out that it is not always easy to know which health service to look for. Knowing the type of assistance offered in each of them helps you to save time and receive the proper care. The Deputy Coordinator of the Department of Management of Primary Care of the Ministry of Health, Erika Rodrigues gives an example of situations like this.

When to look for UBS?

Basic Health Units offer services that include Primary Care, which is nothing more than the first care provided – except in cases of urgencies and emergencies such as traffic accidents or signs of heart attack, for example. They are the ones that should be looked for in cases of diarrhea, headache, cold or flu, abrasions from falling (for example, a grated knee, or small cuts). It is also there that users with chronic diseases – such as hypertension and diabetes – receive treatment and multi-professional monitoring (doctor, nurse, nutritionist …).

The Units also offer vaccination, prenatal and postpartum care, consultations with doctors and nurses, family planning workshops, physical exercises, healthy eating, and others.

The Basic Health Unit

Built according to the places of residence, work, and study of each community, they aim to provide care for the needs of that population. Therefore, the opening hours and days of consultations with certain specialists are different from one UBS to another. 

But, to serve the public, everyone must have at least one Family Health Team. But we also have a good part of the teams, oral health teams, also, nutritionists, physiotherapists, psychologists who make up the NASFs – which are the Extended Family Health and Primary Care Centers ”, explains Erika.

All family health professionals are qualified to assess and classify the severity of the cases and make the necessary referral to the Emergency Care Units, the UPAS, or Hospitals. Erika Rodrigues gives us examples of this dynamic. It is today, a month from now, next month and for years – because this disease is a chronic disease. 

But let’s suppose that at some point, even if he is doing all the therapeutic conduct (taking medication correctly), on the diet, he may have some decompensation of his blood pressure. His pressure went up a lot. He can, for example, go to the health unit for professionals to assess their degree of risk. If a slight change in pressure is a case, right there in the Unit it can be stabilized ”. 

But if the professional realizes that the resources of the Basic Health Unit will not be sufficient to keep the patient stable, he immediately makes the necessary referral.

When to look for UPA?

Unlike the Basic Health Units, the Emergency Care Units (UPA) have 24-hour service and should only be sought in cases of urgency classified as acute conditions (high fever, fainting, severe headaches …) or acute chronic ( hypertension with very high blood pressure, diabetics in decompensation …). At the unit, these users receive the first calls until they are considered stable for a possible referral to the hospital, if necessary. For this reason, all UPAs are integrated with the Primary Care Network, SAMU 192, and Hospitals.

Upon arrival, the user is classified according to the risk level of the current health condition. More serious patients, with a risk of death, have priority in care. The risk classification is made using colors:

  • RED – Emergency – IMMEDIATE SERVICE
  • ORANGE – Very urgent – SERVICE UP TO 10 MINUTES
  • YELLOW – Urgent – SERVICE UP TO ONE
  • GREEN HOUR – Little Urgent – SERVICE UP TO TWO HOURS
  • BLUE – Little Urgent – SERVICE UP TO FOUR HOURS

The service rooms are also divided by colors. In the green and blue rooms, cases are treated that, although acute, do not require immediate care. In yellow, some need more attention and a certain degree of intervention. In the red room, patients are received for immediate intervention, as they are at risk of death and/or worsening of the condition.

Once the care has been provided and the patient is stable – that is, he is no longer at risk of death – the professionals evaluate whether there is a possibility of returning home (to be accompanied by the Basic Health Unit), or if he needs to be hospitalized. 

But it is not an inpatient unit. Although there are beds that leave the patient under observation until it is stabilized. Within the UPA itself, the professional will evaluate which service will direct the user.