What is claimed is
1. A pill dispenser comprising:
2. The invention according to claim 1, and
3. The invention according to claim 1, and
4. The invention according to claim 1, and
5. The invention according to claim 1, and
6. The invention according to claim 1, and
7. The invention according to claim 1, and
8. The invention according to claim 7, and
9. The invention according to claim 1, and
10. The invention according to claim 9, and
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Prior art pill dispensers are for pills to be taken daily. However, it is desirable to provide for a pill dispenser which allows the user to easily load and later discharge a required pill at certain specified times during the day or night and where the user can readily see the pill and the time he is to take the pill.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The nature of the present invention relates to a compact pill dispenser having a centrally disposed opening for storage of a pill bottle and also having 12 upper inner and 12 lower outer radially extending arcuately spaced pie-shaped compartments to provide for easy loading, storage and dispensing of medicines, such as at a nurses' station in a hospital or nursing home. The 12 compartments of both the upper tier and the lower tier are each enclosed by a rotatable dial cover having a horizontal top opening and a vertical side opening to provide for loading and discharging of pills. Each compartment is large enough to store a plurality of pills.
Operating of the dispenser requires loading of pills through the top opening of the appropriate dial cover and into the storage compartment corresponding with the hour when the pills are to be taken. After a complete revolution of the dial cover for pill loading, further rotation of the dial will begin discharge of the previously loaded pills through the side opening of the respective dial.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a compact pill dispenser having a plurality of compartments corresponding to the hours of the day and each numbered for an hour of the day and having a rotatable dial cover, with a loading opening and a pill discharging opening, for the compartments to provide for selective loading and discharging of pills from each compartment at the required hour.
It is yet another object of the present invention to provide a simple, reliable pill dispenser having a minimum number of parts and being easily assembled and reliable to operate.
Another object of the invention is to provide a pill dispenser of a clear plastic or transparent material having a base unit with the hours of the day imprinted thereon to thereby make both the hour and any stored pills viewable through the rotatable dial covers.
These and other objects of the present invention will become apparent from reference to the following description, attached drawing, and appended claims.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
FIG. 1 is a pictorial view of the pill dispenser of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a top plan view of the dispenser of FIG. 1 with portions removed;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of a portion of the pill dispenser; and
FIG. 4 is an elevation view, partially in section, of the pill dispenser.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
Referring now to the drawings and in particular to FIG. 1, it is noticed that the pill dispenser 10 includes an upper inner annular tier 12 and a lower outer annular tier 14 each containing a plurality of radially extending arcuately spaced pie-shaped pill dispensing compartments 15. A centrally disposed cylindrical opening 16 extends into the center portion of the dispenser 10 and is utilized for storage of a pill bottle such as 18.
The dispenser 10, made of transparent material such as plastic, is a four piece or unit structure comprising a stepped cone shaped base unit 20 having an upper inwardly spaced inclined annular floor portion 22 and an outwardly spaced lower downward inclined annular floor portion 24. A generally vertically extending connecting wall 26 extends from the lower floor portion 24 to the upper floor portion 22. At the junction of the upper floor 22 and the wall 26 there is an annular concave juncture section or bight or seat 28 which rigidifies the base unit and provides a snap fastening surface. The lower extremity of the lower floor portion 24 also includes an annular concave juncture section or bight or seat 30 which likewise strengthens the base unit 20 and provides a snap fastening ridge.
Extending radially from the centrally disposed opening 16 are a series of upper and lower fin-like wall portions of dividers 32, 34 which form the side walls of the pill carrying compartments 15. The upper wall portions 32 are connected with the inclined floor portion 22 and the top portion or back wall portion 23 of the cylinder opening 16. Likewise, the lower wall portions 34 are connected to both the lower floor portion 24 and the connecting wall 26. To further stabilize the thin walls 32, 34, a stabilizing ring 35, 35a may be attached to the free edge of each respective wall 32, 34 (see FIG. 4). These rings 35, 35a may be of a plastic or metallic material which is held in position by a suitable adhesive or ultrasonically bonded into position. If metallic stabilizing rings are utilized they may be positioned in the mold of the base unit 20 prior to die casting, thus allowing the hot, fluid plastic to encircle the stabilizing rings 35, 35a and insure that the walls 32, 34 maintain dimensional stability during ejection from the mold and subsequent cooling.
The lower portion of base unit 20 is enclosed and rigidified by the disc shaped member 36 which snaps into the concave back portion of the annular bead 30. The disc 36 also provides dimensional stability to the annular bead 30 by urging the bead 30 outward and into a circular configuration. The hours of the day are contained on the doughnut shaped disc 36 and are clearly viewed through the clear plastic separate dial covers 38, 40 and through the clear plastic base unit 20.
The upper tier 12 is covered by the associated dial 38 as is the lower tier 14 which is covered by the dial 40. The upper dial 38 has a rounded locking offset 42 which deflects to snap over the adjacent annular bead 28 to thereby securely hold the dial cover in place yet permit ease of rotation of the dial 38 about the upper tier 12. Likewise, the lower tier 14 is covered by a clear plastic dial 40 which also has a rounded offset 44 extending around the lower periphery of the lower dial 40. The lower dial 40 is snapped onto the lower part of the base unit 20 and locked in position when the locking offset 44 is in place over the annular bead 30. Like the upper dial 38, the lower dial 40 is fitted onto the lower tier 14 of the base unit 20 to permit ease of rotation of the lower dial 40.
The upper dial cover 38 includes a top opening 48 which is shaped to conform to the outline of the compartments 15 and expose the entire compartment for easy loading of pills and capsules. A side discharge opening 46 is located in the vertical wall of the upper dial 38 and spaced from the top or loading opening 48 to provide for loading and discharging of adjacent compartments 15. Similarly the lower dial 40 includes a side discharge opening 50 and a top loading opening 52 positioned to permit discharging and loading of adjacent compartments 15 in the lower tier 14.
As noticed in FIG. 2, the upper tier 12 and the lower tier 14 have compartments numbered from 1 A.M. to noon and from 1 P.M. to midnight respectively. Because the numbering proceeds in a clockwise direction, the dial covers 38, 40 are rotated a single revolution clockwise for pill loading the compartments 15 of both the upper tier 12 and the lower tier 14 and are rotated a single revolution clockwise for pill unloading a full 12 hour period for each dial 12 or 14. The discharge or unloading hole 46 or 50 is adjacent to but preceding the respective loading hole 48 or 52, i.e., a particular discharge hole 46 or 50 is spaced one compartment clockwise from its respective loading hole 48 or 52.
For example, when pills 60 are to be administered in a hospital or nursing home every three hours beginning at 6:00 A.M., the staff would load pills into the 6:00 A.M., 9:00 A.M. and noon compartments in the upper tier 12 and then proceed to load the 3:00 P.M., 6:00 P.M., 9:00 P.M. and midnight compartments of the lower tier 14. The loading would be completed with inserting the remaining pill into the 3:00 A.M. compartment of the upper tier 12. Thus a full 24 hour period may be stored in the dispenser of the present invention. The sloped floors 22, 24 of each compartment urge the pills 60 out when the discharge openings 46, 50 are rotated into alignment with a compartment 15 at the desired or required time, the first time in the above example being 6:00 A.M. FIG. 2 shows pill 60 entrapped in a compartment and FIG. 3 shows the pill 60 release through upper discharge opening 46 by clockwise rotation of upper cover dial 38. It thus can be seen that one revolution of each of the upper and lower dial covers is necessary for pill loading in a 24-hour period and one complete rotation of each of the dial covers is necessary for pill discharging in a 24-hour period.
Thus it is noticed that the pill dispenser of the present invention provides a compact, easily operated container for reliably indicating the time at which certain pills are to be taken and by the location of the loading opening adjacent the discharge opening in each dial loading and unloading is facilitated. It is easy to keep track of which pills have been taken, since the contents of each compartment may be easily viewed through the transparent rotatable dial covers 38, 40. The dispenser is compact and may be conveniently stored at a nursing station in a hospital or at bedside. The dispenser can easily be manufactured by making four separate pieces, i.e., the base unit or stand 20, the upper dial cover 38, the lower cover 40 and the base plate or disc 36, and these four pieces are then easily assembled together.
The foregoing description and drawings merely explain and illustrate the invention and the invention is not limited thereto, except insofar as the appended claims are so limited, as those skilled in the art who have the disclosure before them will be able to make modifications and variations therein without departing from the scope of the invention.