From our reimbursement and product support teams to our dedicated patient trainers, every individual at Electromed shares one universal goal: to help you breathe better, stay healthier, and lead a more active and fulfilling life.
With more than 39 years as a respiratory therapist, Leslie Carpenter brings excellent experience to Electromed as a patient trainer. She began her career working in patient care at the hospital and with the Children’s Outpatient Pulmonary Clinic in San Antonio, Texas. After watching a live demonstration of the SmartVest Airway Clearance System and learning how it works to reduce infection and hospitalization, she was so impressed by its simplicity and single-hose design that she decided it was time to make the career switch to home health care and become a SmartVest patient trainer.
Get to know Leslie better and discover how she works to help patients manage their chronic pulmonary conditions.
Q: How long have you had experience with HFCWO therapy?
Leslie: I used to work with cystic fibrosis patients who used HFCWO (high frequency chest wall oscillation) therapy to help manage their symptoms. It didn’t take long for me to see these airway clearance devices as life savers. And the children and young adults I helped were so thankful to perform therapy with a respiratory vest vs. manual CPT, as it allowed them to treat and manage their symptoms independently.
Q: What made you decide to join Electromed?
Leslie: In 2008, the Children’s Clinic where I worked, received an inservice demonstration from a SmartVest representative. Because I was the only RT there, I was asking a lot of questions and inspecting the device closely. After the inservice, the representative asked if I wanted to become a SmartVest patient trainer, and since then, I’ve dedicated my career to helping patients simplify their airway clearance treatment and get back to enjoying the activities they love.
Q: What do you like most about being a SmartVest Patient Trainer?
Leslie: For 11 years, I’ve been a SmartVest patient trainer, and during that time, the company’s commitment to patient care has never wavered. I hear over and over again from patients how wonderful the staff was in helping them get their device, how responsible they were with maneuvering them through the insurance process, and how knowledgeable they were in answering questions.
My response is always, “yes, and that’s why I love this company and will plan to work with them until I’m unable to drive to a patient’s home.” (Although, at that point, I’ll probably just call an Uber!)
Q: Why do you like working at Electromed?
Leslie: I love the way the company is always listening to the patient’s suggestions and making upgrades to the device and its accessories. The smaller, lighter generator with its carrying case makes traveling easy, and the beautiful patterns and colors of the vests are so fun for the patients to customize with their style. And let’s not forget that the new wireless devices allows patients to easily track therapy and connect with their healthcare teams.
Q: How do you help alleviate fears about starting a new therapy?
Leslie: When I make an initial phone call to introduce myself and let patients know I’ll be the one training them on using SmartVest, I always ask if they know what SmartVest is, how it works, and if they have any concerns.
From there, I let them know what they can expect from our training session, so they are completely informed and can prepare and ask questions. The most important thing I like to remind everyone is I won’t leave you until you feel completely comfortable using the device on your own, no matter how long it takes!
I also encourage patients to invite loved ones to the training session for their comfort and also to have an extra set of eyes and ears on how to use SmartVest. Since I’m retired, I’m available any day and time of the week, which means you’re my top priority, and we can schedule your personal training session at a time that works best for you.
Q: What advice would you give someone who is experiencing bronchiectasis symptoms but is unsure how to start a conversation with their doctor about getting a SmartVest?
Leslie: Being honest about your chronic symptoms is the first step. If you’re living with frequent cough, unable to clear secretions, experiencing frequent hospitalizations or pneumonias, or being prescribed multiple antibiotics, share your concerns with your clinician, and ask for a HRCT scan. This is the most accurate way to get a bronchiectasis diagnosis.
Q: What are some of your favorite patient success stories?
Leslie: I always feel so blessed meeting new patients and hearing all about how SmartVest has helped change their lives for the better:
A Running Transformation
I once helped train a young man who was depressed because he used to be an avid runner, but his breathing had become so difficult that he could no longer walk up the stairs to his bedroom or walk to his mailbox. After beginning SmartVest therapy, along with his nebulizer treatments on a regular basis, he let me know he had walked to his mailbox for the first time, without feeling out of breath. A month later, he called me to say he even started running again!
A Longer, Fuller Life
I helped train a child who had Spinal Muscular Atrophy with a 2-year life expectancy. Every two hours, day and night, his parents performed manual CPT on him to keep his airways clear, which helped him surpass his life expectancy. Years later, when they received his SmartVest, they were very skeptical about changing their routine, but after I showed them the simplicity of the device and how there would be no more turning their now adult son side-to-side, they decided to give it a try. Today, his parents could not say thank you enough to SmartVest! They not only spaced out his treatments to every 4 hours during the daytime, allowing them to sleep through the night, but they also confirmed that his airways were much clearer. The SmartVest has kept him out of the hospital and off antibiotics, and now he’s living years beyond what his doctor expected.