United States Patent 3816858

A hair washing aid which is comprised of an inflatable ring of substantial size which is positioned above a bottom member which spans across the ring. An intermediate ring therebetween defines a wall immediately above the bottom and the intermediate ring is perforated at a number of locations to serve as a collecting trough or gutter for water. The device is preferably used with bed-ridden patients in hospitals and the like. To maintain the apparatus level when a patient's head is placed in the ring, an inflatable pillow is incorporated which can be inflated immediately beneath the neck of the patient to level the bottom. Water accumulated in the bottom is drained through an attached down-chute which is of sufficient length to extend over the side of the bed. The down-chute has a lower end which is open but which is adapted to be closed by a clip which serves as a valve.

Application Number:
Publication Date:
Filing Date:
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45D19/04; A47K1/02; A61G7/00; (IPC1-7): A47K3/12
Field of Search:
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3729749TOILET FACILITY1973-05-01Rosecrans
3418663Disposable body waste receptacle1968-12-31Scott
2658512Washing apparatus with cushion and drainage facilities1953-11-10Tcheong
2475259Washing tray1949-07-05Singleton
2425513Shampooing apparatus1947-08-12Czajcinski et al.
1756238Hospital equipment1930-04-29Chambers
1362751Sanitary cushioned bed vessel1920-12-21Snyder

Foreign References:
Primary Examiner:
Artis, Henry K.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gunn, Donald
I claim

1. A device for the treatment of a generally prone patient wherein the patient's head is to be treated in a process involving liquids, comprising:

2. The apparatus of claim 1 including a collection tube above said bottom and in communication with said conduit means.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said second ring-like portion approximates an arc of about 90° around said bottom and is located at about 90° from said conduit means.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 including perforations in said collection tube for enabling water to enter therein, and an opening means from said tube to said conduit means.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said inflatable ring includes a closable inflation hose.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said bottom has an integrally formed radially directed tab which comprises a portion of a conduit means.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said bottom and said inflatable ring are formed of resilient material.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein said bottom and inflatable ring are collapsable and foldable.

9. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein said conduit means is flexible and foldable.


2,658,512 763,304 762,737 749,180 1,756,238 3,465,370 2,425,513 2,475,259

background of the invention

Various and sundry devices have heretofore been proposed for capturing water when a bed-ridden person has his hair washed. Devices of the sort in the prior art patents mentioned above have been used and found wanting. They attempt to solve the problem of providing day-to-day cleanliness for the hair of a bed-ridden patient, but have been found unacceptable in the main.

Some of the problems encountered by the prior art devices include difficulty in positioning a rigid or near rigid structure beneath the head of a patient. A rigid container is difficult to work with, and is often uncomfortable to the patient. Other devices have been provided which are flexible but which are too expensive to fabricate and use. Some of the devices of the prior art have been offered to hospitals and refused because of excessive costs.


The present invention incorporates a sheet bottom of resilient material which is attached to a small ring and a larger ring thereabove. The larger ring is preferably inflated. It defines an internal volume sufficient to encompass a head and provide working room therearound. The smaller ring is not inflatable, but pulls to a generally ring-like construction when the large ring is inflated. The small ring is perforated at many locations. The perforations enable the small ring to serve as a gutter or drain for water. Water is introduced above the bottom and is captured within the device. Water enters the small ring which then directs surplus water around to a single side of the bottom where the bottom extends outwardly into an enclosed chute. The chute is flexible and may hang across the bed and over the side. It has an open lower end which is adapted to be pinched off, and is readily positioned above a bucket or drain. The chute is of substantial length to permit a good deal of flexibility in the arrangement of the device of the present invention with regard to the position of the patient and the bed. An inflatable pillow extends partly about the circumference of the large ring and is adapted to be positioned below the neck of the user to provide reinforcement where the weight of the user tends to distort the bottom from a generally horizontal plane.


FIG. 1 is a top plan view with a portion of the side broken away illustrating internal details of construction showing the hair washing device of the present invention; and,

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along the line 2 -- 2 of FIG. 1 showing details of construction of the bottom and ring thereabove which defines a hair washing aid.


In the drawings, the hair washing aid 10 incorporates a large planar bottom member 12 preferably formed of a resilient material. A typical polyolefin plastic is suitable for this purpose. For example, the bottom is formed of a polyolefin material which is perhaps as much as twenty millinches thick. The bottom 12 is of substantial diameter, typically in the range of about eighteen inches for a small version of the device, to about twenty-seven to thirty inches for a larger version. The bottom 12 is circular at all points except for a lateral extension 14 which is shown in FIG. 2. The portion 14 has the form of a radially directed tab of substantial length. It tapers along its length as better illustrated in FIG. 1. The tab portion 14 extends to a lower end 16. A parallel second tab 18 is positioned immediately above the tab 14 and the two are joined by a side wall. The upper tab portion 16 can be curved or wrapped around to connect with the lower tab portion 14 to define a leak-proof chute or conduit. The upper tab 18 extends to the lower end as illustrated in FIG. 2, and defines the mouth or opening 16. The two tab portions 14 and 18 and the adjacent side wall portions connected between them serve as a funnel or conduit for drainage of water. They can be integrally formed, or can be formed of any number of members with appropriate seams formed by suitable solvents which join the plastic materials together.

The bottom member 12 joins to an encircling ringlike member 20 which is preferably rather small, perhaps in the range of about two inches in diameter, and serving as a collection tube. Several perforations or openings 22 in the collection tube 20 are just above the level of the bottom.

In FIG. 1, the collection tube is shown in dotted line partly interrupted where the tab 14 extends radially outwardly from the bottom. This enables water collected in the tube to be introduced into the conduit defined by the tab 14. The collection tube 20 is interrupted at the tab 14. This enables the water on the bottom to drain into the conduit. Water has two escape routes. The first is from the bottom 12 directly into the conduit. The second drainage route is through the collection tube 20 upon entry at any of the perforations 22 which are arranged about the perimeter of the device.

The conduit shown at the right hand side of FIG. 2 has about the same height as the diameter of the collection tube. This diameter is maintained more or less uniform about the device although the weight of the head of a user may deform it somewhat. Resilient materials are preferably easily deformed.

A collar strip 24 extends about the device attached to the bottom and attached to the collection tube 20. The collar strip 24 encircles the device and assists in securing the collection tube in the specified location. The encircling collar 24 is attached to an inflatable tube 26. The tube 26 is substantially larger than the tube 20 and is in the approximate range of four to six inches in diameter, the optimum diameter being about five inches. It is arranged coincident with the circle of the tube 20 as illustrated in FIG. 2. The tube 26 is inflatable by means of an inflation tube or hose 28 shown in FIG. 1. A clamp 30 can be positioned on the inflation hose to seal air under pressure in the tube 26 after it has been inflated. The tube 26, upon inflation enlarges and pulls the collar 24. The pull, coupled with the pulling acting on the tube 20, tends to erect the tube 20. It is not mandatory that the tube 20 erect fully so that it describes a circle in cross section. Rather, it is important that the tube 20 open to an extent sufficient to allow it to collect water. The tube 26 cooperates with the collar 24 to shape and arrange the collection tube 20 in a sufficiently open contour to permit it to collect water.

The tube 26, upon inflation, stands a substantial distance above the bottom 12. This shape is maintained until the weight of the patient distorts or deforms the hair washing aid of the present invention. To prevent water from accumulating immediately below the neck of the patient, a levelling tube 32 or pillow is incorporated on the left and a similar levelling tube 34 is incorporated on the right. The levelling tubes 32 and 34 are similar so a discussion of one will suffice for the other. The levelling tubes 32 and 34 extend only a short portion of the circumference of the circular bottom 12. As shown in FIG. 1, they preferably inscribe an arc of about 90°. They both incorporate a hollow inflation hose 40 which is sealed off or closed by a similar clamp 42. They can be partly or fully inflated, dependent on the weight of the head being washed. When inflated, they elevate the bottom so the bottom is maintained more or less level. Wash water is not accumulated immediately below the head of the user, but the bottom is maintained sufficiently level to drain the water off the bottom and into the conduit.

The device of the present invention is preferably formed of a common plastic materials, and for convenience, it is formed of the same gauge or stock of material. This defines an apparatus which can be used repeatedly. A person who has been institutionalized for a substantial period of time in a bed-ridden condition can be provided by one of these devices for repeated use. When nursing assistance is provided, the device can be removed from storage and inflated. Inflation is readily accomplished by inflating the encircling tube 26 and one of the two head levelling tubes 32 and 34. It is ordinarily not necessary to inflate both of them. Inflation is accomplished quickly and the device is then positioned beneath the head of a patient. The patient's hair is captured on the bottom 12, even very long hair. With this arrangement, nursing help can provide a complete hair washing to a patient. Wash water and all rinse water subsequently applied can then be drained through the conduit wich hangs over the side of a bed. The conduit may be positioned to the right or left of the bed, at a convenient place. The conduit can be closed by a clamp which pinches the conduit shut. It can be readily positioned above a bucket and drained periodically into the bucket. In the alternative, it can be positioned above a floor drain and be permitted to spill into the floor drain from time to time. If desired, it need not be pinched off, but can drain continuously.

The apparatus of the present invention is particularly useful in situations other than washing a bed-ridden patient's hair. One use is in the cleaning of head or scalp lacerations to remove foreign debris and dried blood from the head and hair. The apparatus further finds use in the treatment of an extremity other than the head. Hand or foot injuries can be treated by placing the extremity on the aid 10 for cleaning prior to treatment. The device can be used for washing and cleansing burns. It can also be used for washing and cleansing burns. It can also be used for treatment of acute burns of the head or extremities. Such treatment has heretofore been difficult to execute because of the quantities of liquids which are involved. The device can be used in the administration of a perineal douche or similar treatment.

The foregoing is directed to the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the scope of which is determined by the claims appended hereto.