Do your local hospitals serve snacks, full meals...drinks? Is the lounge in the ER or elsewhere in the hospital? We are looking for some ideas about what you like or wish was in your EMS lounge? We've already thrown out ideas like massage therapists, spa services etc.
Right now, most of the EMS lounges in the areas of Texas where I work (Houston and Austin areas) are in the ER. The Houston hospitals, especially on the north side, seem to be trying to compete for what they can do to tempt the crews. Most are offering free soft drinks, bottled water, and coffee. One hospital also has a vending machine that dispenses free snacks as well as a refrigerator with sandwiches and fruit. The Austin ERs vary greatly, mostly offering snack foods and drinks. None of the "county" hospitals seem to offer anything. And of the larger private hospitals in Austin only has a cooler with PowerAde.
If I could choose anything for the EMS lounge, I'd ask for a private bathroom, plugs for our laptops (for writing reports), and a selection of drinks that extends beyond soft drinks and coffee.
Does it influence where you take the patient if there is free food and soda?
Has anyone questioned the motives of these hospitals for influencing the ambulance personnel the same as product vendors have been viewed?
The snacks and soda in our ED refrigerator are meant to be used for the patients. We have found many from the ambulances helping themselves leaving nothing for the patients which includes kids who might have an extended stay in the ED rec'g treatment rather than admission to the hospital.
For over 30 years as a medic... I also never had anything. There are some places across the nation where indeed there are really nice EMS lounges with big screen tv, recliners, wifi, work stations, food and drink. (not where I am...but we do have a small area with hot breakfast...snacks during the day...gatoraide and a hot dinner for crews that dont get a chance to eat while doing back to back calls) It's purpose is a respite rather than inducement. We also have patient food/drink in patient refrigerators...not used by staff or EMS. Does it influence crews directly? no...but like training programs, EMS events, EMS personnel rounding in the cath lab and other areas, I think it builds a stronger relationship between hospital and prehospital which has been a good thing here. Plus as an old medic...Its nice to see the hospital give a little respect and consideration to the guys/gals who are out in the 120 degree heat all day busting hump which I rarely had a chance to enjoy myself...other than a cold hot dog during EMS week.
On a positive note, all our units on the island have a quarters or station with aircon/computers/bathroom/tv/internet, some are better then others. Not that we get to spend a lot of time in our quarters but it is nice.
Hospitals on our island are over crowded so there is no incentive to attract the ambulances. Im happy if I don't get any rude comments about why i didn't transport somewhere else, or are we the only hospital open.
A few years ago there was one hospital that had a little snack/drink fridge for ems. they would put sandwiches/water/soda in it. it was really nice on a busy day when we couldn't stop for drinks or food. Our department actually sent out memos saying that we couldn't take anything from the hospital. Anyways that facility closed down due to lack of funds.
Lounge? What's an EMS lounge? They greet us with a snarling, 'Why did you bring him here? He should've gone to XXX!' Then their CEO is on the front page the next day crying poverty. Coffee? A buck from a vending machine.
Ed, think you've just summed up every ER in the UK :D
Wait--hospitals have EMS lounges?
I live in a pretty small town in southeastern Ohio. Our local hospital has a fountain drink dispenser and coffee. We share the "lounge" with one of the ER doctor's secretaries. Basically there is a linen shelf, a sink, and one desk in there. Not too great, but free drinks so whatever.
However, I work as a medic for a private ambulance company and we routinely go to Columbus for inter-hospital transfers as that is where the close level 1 trauma center is(about 2 hours). The nicest EMS lounge there has to be Riverside Methodist Hospital. They have a pretty big lounge with several desks and chairs and a private restroom for EMS personell. Also, they have 2 refrigerators fully stocked with water and carbonated drinks. They always have fresh fruit, snack bars, cookies, trail mix, ice cream, coffee, chips. They even have premade sandwiches in the fridge for on-the-go meals. Seems to be a pretty good place to go, even though the drive is a pain, especially managing a critical patient in no-fly conditions.
We don't have an EMS lounge at our hospital. The EMT's hang out in the ambulance bay (which isn't pleasant; in the summer its hot, winter it's cold.) or in the Doctor's lounge if it is available. As for food/beverage, it's at your own expense. If we have a really bad call and are desperate, occasionally we can get left over sandwiches from the kitchen.
This being said; I work for a small hospital in rural Wyoming. Our EMT's aren't considered employees; we are considered "Contract Labor" and are not required to be in house during our shifts. We just have to be able to respond to the hospital within 4 mins of tones going off. However, we do have some people who live out of the area who regularly stay at the hospital during their shifts. Not having a lounge makes shifts really long for them!
I think I need to relocate. Our EMS "lounge" is a 15'x6' closet w/ an "L" shaped table, linen cart, equipment corner, Medication Pyxis, supply Pyxis, fax/copier, trash can, chairs for 4 people, but only room for 2, no temperature control (the temperature runs off of someone's office that only works limited hours) so in the summer it is always hot. They did provide us an apt refrigerator, but it was up to the agencies to supply the things to go in it.
The hospital where I work my part-time gig just had a brand new hospital from the competing health system open up less than a mile away. We've got sandwiches, chips, veggie cups, coffee, water & soft drinks, ice cream. We just added Mountain Dew because the competitor was offering it, we're adding Red Bull soon, and the EMS manager has been looking into getting a Slushie machine. Competition can create such wonders....