Title:
HYDROTHERAPY UNIT
United States Patent 3886936


Abstract:
A hydrotherapy unit is formed with a patient immersion tank section having smoothly curved and non-apertured bottom, side, front and rear walls, wherein the front wall defines a weir over which patient contaminated water flows from the immersion section into a bottom emptying drain tank section. A front end of the unit is fitted with a control console serving to mount a housing extending in a cantilever fashion to overlie the drain section and a front end of the immersion section; the housing serving to direct a "sheet" of non-contaminated or fresh fill water downwardly into the immersion section, to mount an attendant manipulated wand for use in applying additional fresh water or germicidal water to the immersion section, and to mount a drain tube removably insertable downwardly into the front end of immersion section for withdrawing contaminated water therefrom at the completion of a patient treating operation.



Inventors:
WEHRENBERG JON W
Application Number:
05/401616
Publication Date:
06/03/1975
Filing Date:
09/28/1973
Assignee:
WEHRENBERG; JON W.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
4/546
International Classes:
A61H33/00; A61H37/00; (IPC1-7): A61H9/00
Field of Search:
128/66,369 4
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3571820HYDROMASSAGE BATH INSTALLATION1971-03-23Jacuzzi
3559634THERAPEUTIC BATHTUB1971-02-02Lillywhite
3366110Method and apparatus for treating burn patients with physiological solutions1968-01-30Gaylord
2304616Hydrotherapy apparatus1942-12-08Watson
1716109Apparatus for bathing purposes1929-06-04Bruggmann



Primary Examiner:
Trapp, Lawrence W.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Bean, John B.
Claims:
I claim

1. A hydrotherapy unit for performing a patient treating operation comprising in combination:

2. A hydrotherapy unit according to claim 1, wherein said immersion and drain sections are defined by a seamless tank shell.

3. A hydrotherapy unit according to claim 1, wherein said drain section includes a bottom wall, said drain means includes an opening in said bottom wall and a drain conduit connected thereto, said additional drain means includes a suction pump, an outlet conduit section for connecting the output of said pump into said drain conduit and an inlet conduit section connected into the input of said pump and including a suction line removably insertable downwardly into said immersion section.

4. A hydrotherapy unit according to claim 1, wherein said fresh water supply means includes a fresh water supply discharge conduit and a water deflector arranged above said immersion section for directing water discharged from said discharge conduit downwardly into said immersion section as a "sheet" of water.

5. A hydrotherapy unit according to claim 4, wherein there is further provided in combination a housing fixed adjacent said drain section remotely from said one wall portion and arranged to extend in a cantilever relationship above said drain section to have a free end portion thereof overlying said immersion section, said free end portion being downwardly open and defining said water deflector, said discharge conduit lying within said housing, said drain section includes a bottom wall, said drain means includes an opening in said bottom wall and a drain conduit connected thereto, said additional drain means includes a suction pump, an outlet conduit section for connecting the output of said pump into said drain conduit and an inlet conduit section connected into the input of said pump, said inlet conduit section extending through said housing and including a disconnect coupling arranged adjacent said free end portion and a suction tube connectible to said coupling to removably extend downwardly into said immersion section.

6. A hydrotherapy unit according to claim 5, wherein said fresh water supply means additionally includes a fresh water supply-additive mixing means having a water-additive conduit means arranged to extend through said housing, a flexible tubing section removably connected to said water-additive conduit means exteriorly of said housing and a manually operable water directing wand connected to said flexible tubing section.

7. A hydrotherapy unit according to claim 6, wherein said immersion and drain sections are defined by a seamless tank shell, and said tank shell is supported within a frame serving to support said housing.

8. A hydrotherapy unit according to claim 1, wherein said bottom wall portion of said immersion section is formed with an upwardly opening sump and remaining surface portions of said bottom wall portion slope downwardly towards said sump, and said additional drain means is removably insertable downwardly into said sump.

9. A hydrotherapy unit for performing a patient treating operation comprising in combination:

10. A hydrotherapy unit according to claim 9, wherein said water supply means includes a water flow control valve and a timer for selectively controlling the period of operation of said flow control valve; and said additional drain means includes a suction pump having a discharge outlet connected into said drain conduit, conduit means removably insertable downwardly into said sump and connected into an inlet of said suction pump and a timer for selectively controlling the period of operation of said suction pump.

11. A hydrotherapy unit according to claim 10, wherein said water supply means includes a discharge conduit arranged downstream of said control valve and a water deflector arranged above said rear portion for directing water discharged from said discharge conduit downwardly into said rear portion adjacent said partition wall portion as a "sheet" of water.

12. A hydrotherapy unit for performing a patient treating operation comprising in combination:

13. A hydrotherapy unit according to claim 12, wherein said fresh water supply means additionally includes a fresh water-additive supply means having a water-additive conduit arranged to extend through said housing, a manually operable faucet connected to said water-additive conduit and supported by and exteriorly of said rear end portion of said housing, a flexible tubing section connected to said faucet and a manually operable water directing wand connected to said flexible tubing section.

Description:
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed towards improvements in hydrotherapy units which facilitate decontamination of the patient immersion section of such unit.

More specifically, the present hydrotherapy unit features a smoothly contoured, non-apertured patient immersion tank section having a lowered front wall to permit contaminated water to flow away from a patient during a treating operation into a patient isolated drain tank section having a bottom discharge or drain opening.

In a preferred form of the invention, a control console is arranged forwardly of the drain section and is employed to support a housing extending rearwardly in a cantilever fashion to overlie the drain section and the front end of the immersion section. The housing serves to direct a "sheet" or "curtain" of fresh water downwardly into the immersion section for the purpose of filling same at a high flow rate without splashing. An attendant manipulated wand may be attached to a fresh water additive water supply system carried by the housing for use in supplying water/additive to the immersion section. Water supplied in this manner may be employed in diverse patient treating procedures, as well as to flush or direct any debris, which may collect on the surface of water in the immersion section during the treating operation, away from the patient for flow into the patient isolated drain section.

The housing also serves to mount an immersion section drain tube, which may be removably inserted downwardly into the immersion section in order to withdraw contaminated water therefrom at the completion of a patient treating operation. Thus, by means of the present construction, all crevices, drains and water supply/circulation devices, which could possible harbor pathogenic organisms, are removed from the immersion section in order to permit it to be readily and easily decontaminated.

DRAWINGS

The nature and mode of operation of the present invention will now be more clearly described in the following detailed description taken with the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the hydrotherapy unit of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary top plan view of the unit illustrated in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view taken generally along the line 3--3 in FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is a view similar to FIG. 2, but with parts broken away for purposes of clarity; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view showing the control system provided for the present unit.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference is now made particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2, wherein the hydrotherapy unit of the present invention is designated as 10. Unit 10 includes a generally rectangular tank shell 12, which defines an upwardly open front portion or drain section 14 and an upwardly open rear portion of patient immersion section 16. Tank shell 12 is supported within an enclosing frame 18 having a raised front or console section 20 mounting a housing 22, which extends in a cantilever relationship above drain section 14 and terminates at its free end above the front or patient foot end of immersion section 16. A unit control panel 24 is supported on front section 20 forwardly of housing 22 and a pair of front opening doors 26 are provided to afford access to the interior of the front section for inspection and maintenance of portions of a unit control system generally designated as 28 in FIG. 5.

Immersion section 16 is preferably comparable in size to a typical full body immersion tank and thus adapted to receive a conventional patient carrying pallet or litter, not shown, which may be supported adjacent the patient head end of the immersion section by a conventional frame mounted bracket 30.

Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, it will be understood that tank shell 12 includes upstanding side, front and rear wall portions 32, 34 and 36, respectively, which generally bound the tank shell; an upstanding partition wall portion 38, which extends transversely between side wall portions 32 for dividing the tank shell into drain section 14 and the immersion section 16; a front bottom wall portion 40, which is marginally joined to wall portions 32, 34 and 38 to define the bottom wall of drain section 14; and a rear bottom wall portion 42, which is marginally joined to wall portions 34, 36 and 38 to define the bottom wall of immersion section 16.

By reference to FIG. 3, it will be noted that the upper edge of partition wall portion 38 is disposed vertically below the upper edges of wall portions 32, 34 and 36, which are preferably coplanar, so as to define a weir over which patient contaminated water is permitted to flow from immersion section 16 into drain section 14. Overflow water may be suitably and continuously discharged from the drain section, as for instance via a bottom wall drain opening 44 connected to a gravity drain conduit 46. Also, by reference to FIG. 3, it will be understood that rear bottom wall portion 42 defines an upwardly opening sump 48, which is arranged adjacent the patient foot end portion of the immersion section beneath the rearwardly disposed end of housing 22. Remaining portions of the surface of bottom wall portion 42 are arranged to slope downwardly towards sump 48 in order to eliminate the presence of contaminated water pools when water is removed from the sump at the completion of the patient treating operation, as will be hereinafter described. Further, all corners within immersion section 16 are preferably provided with large radius coves to facilitate quick and complete washdown of such section at the completion of the patient treating operation.

Preferably, tank shell 12 is of seamless, stainless steel construction and undercoated with expanded polyurethane foam 50, as indicated in FIG. 3, in order to provide for rigidity, sound deadening and water heat loss reduction.

Unit 10 is adapted to be shipped as a complete unit to a point of installation for simplified connection to installation supply of fresh water, such as that afforded by installation hot and cold water pipes 52 and 54 fitted with manual shut off valves 56 and 58, respectively. In this respect, the fresh water supply portion of the unit would include main hot and cold conduits 60 and 62, which may be quickly connected to the installation water pipes by joints 64 and 66. Main conduits 60 and 62 lead upwardly within front section 20 to a main tank or immersion section mixing valve 68, which is connected to a fresh water supply discharge pipe 70. Pipe 70 is arranged to extend rearwardly through housing 22 and have its outlet disposed to discharge water against a downward and rearwardly inclined deflector flange 72 carried adjacent the rear end of housing 22. Flange 72 serves to "spread" the stream of fresh water issuing from pipe 70 transversely of the unit and direct same downwardly as "sheet" or "curtain" of water into the front end of immersion section 16. This arrangement is a particularly important feature of the present invention, since it serves to completely isolate the main fresh water supply from the immersion section and permits high flow rate filling of the immersion section without splashing.

Further, the fresh water supply of unit 10 includes an additional water supply for use by an attendant in manually directing fresh water or fresh water plus an additive into the immersion section 16. This additional supply arrangement is best shown in FIGS. 3-5 as including hot and cold water feed lines 74 and 76, which are coupled to conduits 60 and 62, respectively, and lead to an additional or auxiliary mixing valve 78. Valve 78 is connected to a flow manifold 80 arranged adjacent the rear end of housing 22 by a direct or fresh water feed line 82 and a branch or additive feed line 84 into which is connected a siphon feed tube 86 for supplying additive from a suitable source, such as additive bottle 88. A manually controlled valve fitting 90, which is arranged exteriorly of housing 22, serves to removably connect a flexible tubing section 92 carrying a manually manipulated wand 94 to the outlet ends of manifold 80.

Water is removed from immersion section at the completion of a patient treating operation by an additional drain arrangement, which is best shown in FIGS. 3 and 5 as including a suction pump 100, an outlet conduit section 102 for connecting the output of pump 100 to drain conduit 46, and inlet conduit section 104 connected into the input of pump 100. Inlet conduit section 104 includes a stationary portion 106, which extends rearwardly through housing 22, a suction tube 108 having inlet end 110 removably received within sump 48 and a disconnect coupling 112 for attaching tube 108 to stationary portion 106. Preferably, suction tube 108 is relatively rigid in order to prevent its collapse during withdrawal of water from immersion section 16, and in this instance coupling 112 would be quick disconnect type coupling, so as to permit the suction tube to be completely removed from unit 10 except when the immersion section is to be drained. Alternatively, suction tube 108 may be sufficiently flexible to permit its being withdrawn from immersion section 16 and deformed to lie within drain section 14.

Now referring particularly to FIG. 5, it will be understood that control system 28 includes manually operable dials 116 and 118, which extend upwardly through panel 24 and serve to control the setting of mixing valves 68 and 78, respectively; a normally closed solenoid operated valve 120, which serves to control flow through conduit 70 and is under the control of fill timer 122; an electric drive motor 124, which is drivingly connected to suction pump 100 and is under the control of drain timer 126; and normally closed solenoid operated valves 128 and 130, which serve to control flow through lines 82 and 84, respectively, and are under the control of a three position selector switch 132. Indicator or pilot lights 134 and 136, which are in parallel circuit with the solenoids of valves 128 and 130, respectively, are arranged on panel 24 adjacent opposite sides of switch 132. System 28 is also preferably provided with suitable temperature sensors 140, 142 and 144, which are arranged to sense the temperature of water present in immersion section 16 adjacent its bottom wall, of water flowing through conduit 70 downstream of valve 120, and of water flowing through distributor 80, respectively. The temperatures sensed by sensors 140, 142 and 144 may be monitored by viewing control panel mounted temperature guages 146, 148 and 150, respectively.

When the hydrotherapy unit is not in use, timers 122 and 126 are in their "O" positions, shown in FIG. 2, with the result that solenoid operated valve 120 is closed to prevent flow of water through conduit 70 and motor 124 is deenergized; and selector switch 132 is in its "centered" or "off" position, also shown in FIG. 2, with the result that solenoid operated valves 128 and 130 are closed to prevent flow of either water or water plus additive to wand 94. Further, suction tube 108 would be removed from the immersion section, and valve 90 may be closed to insure against accidental discharge of water through wand 94.

To initiate unit operation, tank fill mixing valve 68 is first adjusted to control the proportions of hot and cold water passing from conduits 60 and 62 in order to provide a desired treatment water temperature, and tank fill timer 122 is then operated to open valve 120 for a period of time sufficient to effect filling of immersion section 16. The period of time required will vary depending on available installation water supply pipe size and pressure. Filling of immersion section 16 will proceed automatically without further supervision by an attendant. However, as a practical matter, the attendant will from time to time wish to check temperature gauges 146 and 148 and make whatever adjustment of mixing valve 68 necessary to insure desired final temperature of water in the immersion section.

After the immersion section is filled, a patient is placed therein by the attendant and a prescribed treatment technique initiated. Treatment technique will normally involve the utilization of wand 94 to direct additional fresh water to the immersion section as for instance for patient debridement, water circulation or agitation purposes. The temperature of water available for supply to wand 94 is controlled by the setting of mixing valve 78 by dial 118 and the temperature of water maintained by monitoring guage 150. For most treatment techniques, selector switch 132 will be turned into its counterclockwise position, as viewed in FIG. 2, in order to open valve 128 and supply only fresh water to wand 94. However, if it is desired to apply a treating additive to the immersion chamber, selector switch 132 will be turned into its clockwise position in order to open valve 130 and siphon additive from bottle 88. In either case, the addition of waterto the immersion section during treatment of the patient will cause over-flow of contaminated water into the isolated drain section 14 with the result that flocculated debris is continuously directed or carried by the over-flow water away from the patient.

When treatment of the patient is completed, selector switch 132 would normally be returned to its "off" position to terminate flow to wand 94 and the patient then removed from the immersion section. Suction tube 108 would then be placed in the immersion section with its inlet end 110 disposed within sump 48, and drain timer 126 subsequently operated to energize motor 124 for a period of time sufficient to remove all contaminated water from the immersion section, except for some small amount remaining in the bottom of sump 48. The required operating time of motor 124 will depend to a great extent on installation drain capabilities and cleaing procedures. If installation requirements dictate that the unit be cleaned immediately after use and/or the unit must be made immediately available for another patient, the operating time of motor 124 may be extended in order to continuously remove water from sump 48, as the immersion section is washed down. Preferably, washing down of the immersion section is facilitated by supplying bottle 88 with a germicidal solution and employing wand 94 as a jet type cleaning instrument. After the vertical and sloping bottom walls of the immersion section are decontaminated and essentially all water is withdrawn from sump 48, motor 124 is deenergized and suction tube 108 thereafter removed from the immersion section. Any contaminated water remaining in the bottom sump 48 is then removed, as by use of a sponge, and the sump itself finally decontaminated to complete decontamination of the immersion section. If either tubing section 92 or wand 94 becomes contaminated, they may be removed from valve 90 and either replaced or separately decontaminated in any suitable manner.

While as a practical matter, it is preferable to also wash down drain section 14 to remove any accumulation of flocculated debris, it is not necessary to decontaminate drain opening 44, since any pathogenic organisms harbored therein are completely isolated from the immersion section by partition wall portion 38. Further, it is not necessary to decontaminate suction tube 108 in that it is only placed in the immersion section after the treating operation when it is desired to remove contaminated water therefrom.