HME News TV: Have vent, can travel

Sunday, September 26, 2010

LAS VEGAS - Some people take their work home with them. Provider Carlia Cichon went one better when she brought one of her ventilator patients with her to Medtrade Spring.

"He's been working for us as a consultant and we wanted to let him know that he can get out," said Cichon, owner of Madison Heights, Mich.-based Advent Home Medical, in an interview with HME News TV. "The majority of our patients are on life support, and I have quite a few patients that are counting on our report back to them, letting them know they can travel too."

While airport attendants were "wonderful," Cichon and her patient met some challenges. For example, the patient didn't fit in a typical transport chair and had to be carried onto the plane, a process that entailed the help of several people.

Still, it wasn't all that long ago that air travel with a ventilator-dependent patient would have been impossible.

"The products out there now are wonderful," said Cichon. "We've been using lithium batteries for a couple of years and the life-length on the batteries is what allowed us to bring him here."

Cichon used the smallest available portable equipment for their trip and shipped supplies ahead of time, which made traveling easier.

"We learned quite a bit, and we were writing it all down," she said.

Cichon is already thinking ahead to how the travel experience can be improved for patients and caregivers.

"I think I am going to help develop a sling to carry patients," she said. "The slings we had were too slippery. I think we can design something that is much easier to put over the shoulders of the carriers."

To watch the complete interview, go to