BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to crushing of medication.
2. Description of Prior Art
So far as is known, prior art medication crushers of pills and tablets have been of two types.
The first type, as exemplified in U.S. Pat. Nos. 2,602,596 and 2,892,595, have been portable plastic containers adapted for individual use and having two relatively movable mating portions which crushed the medication therebetween by the strength of the user's hands, and were generally undesirable for institutional use, such as at nursing homes or hospitals.
The other type of medication crushers, as exemplified by U.S. Pat. No. 2,631,786 have used serrated or toothed crushing faces to crush the medication, as did the ice crusher of U.S. Pat. No. 75,913. This type of crusher was not generally suitable for institutional use, since pieces of the crushed medication would lodge between the teeth on the crusher and cross-contaminate other medication subsequently crushed, which was clearly undesirable.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Briefly, the present invention provides a new and improved apparatus for crushing medication such as pills, tablets and the like. The apparatus includes a base member, having a crushing bowl therewith adapted to receive a medication cup containing the medication to be crushed, and a crushing arm having a crushing head therewith which is adapted to move into the crushing bowl and crush the medication when the crusher arm is pivotally moved with respect to the base member. A crushing cup is mounted between the crusher head and the medication to prevent contact therebetween and thereby prevent cross-contamination of medication.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved apparatus and method for crushing medication.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is an isometric view of the apparatus of the present invention;
FIGS. 2 and 3 are elevation views, taken partly in cross-section, of the apparatus of FIG. 1; and
FIG. 4 is an isometric view of an alternative apparatus of the present invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
In the drawings, the letter A designates generally the apparatus of the present invention for crushing medication, such as pills, tablets and the like. The apparatus A is particularly adapted for installational use, such as in hospitals and nursing homes, although it may be otherwise used as well.
The apparatus A includes a base member M having a crushing bowl B formed therewith, with the crushing bowl B adapted to receive a medication cup 8 containing the medicine such as a pill or tablet P, to be crushed. The apparatus A further includes a crushing arm C pivotally mounted with the base member M in a manner to be set forth below, with the crushing arm C having a crusher head H mounted therewith.
The crusher head H is adapted to move into the crushing bowl B upon movement of the crushing arm C with respect to the base member M and thereupon crush the medication P. A means for pivotal movement F permits the pivotal movement of the crushing arm C with respect to the base member M so that the crushing head H may move into the crushing bowl B and crush the medication P.
Considering the apparatus A more in detail, the base member M includes a generally rectangular flat upper surface member 10 mounted along side edges 10a and 10b with side walls 12 (FIG. 1) and 14 (FIG. 2), and along a front edge 10c with an end wall 16 and a rear edge 10d (FIG. 2) with an end wall 18. The side walls 12 and 14 and the end walls 16 and 18 support the apparatus A on a suitable work surface, such as a shelf or tray at a nursing station in a hospital or nursing home.
The base member M has the crushing bowl B formed therewith and extending upwardly therefrom. The crushing bowl B includes a cylindrical container wall 20 extending upwardly from the upper surface 10 of the base member B about the periphery of a contact surface 22 upon which the medication P to be crushed is placed.
The base member M further includes a support beam member 24 (FIGS. 2 and 3) formed extending downwardly from the upper surface 10 between inner surfaces of the side walls 12 and 14 underneath the crushing bowl B to strengthen and support the upper surface member 10 and the contact surface 22 of the crushing bowl B against loads imposed thereon during crushing. If desired, an additional support beam member 26 (shown in phantom in FIG. 1) may be formed extending between the end walls 16 and 18 underneath the crushing bowl B for additional strength and support.
The medication cup 8 which receives the medication P to be crushed is preferably formed from paper, wax paper, plastic or other suitable disposable material. The medication cup 8 prevents contact between the medication P and the contact surface 22 of the crushing bowl B, and therefore prevents cross-contamination between various medications being crushed, permitting various types of medication to be sanitarily crushed at different times, as the need arises, with a single apparatus A of the present invention. The medication cup 8 is also used for mixing of, and administering, the pulverized medication P, thereby eliminating the requirement that such medication be transferred to another receptacle for mixing or administration. After such use, the medication cup 8 may then be disposed of or discarded.
A crushing cup 30, of similar material and configuration to the mixing cup 8, is mounted over the crushing head H to prevent contact between the medication P being crushed and the crushing head H and thereby prevent cross-contamination between various medications being crushed, so that the apparatus A may be used at a nursing station and sanitarily crush various types of medication with no cross-contamination between the various medications as such medicines are crushed.
The means F for pivotal movement of the crushing arm C with respect to the base member M includes a pair of lugs or ears 32 and 34 formed extending upwardly from the upper surface 10 of the base member M adjacent the end wall 18. An aperture is formed in the lug 32 adjacent a surface 32a (FIG. 1), and a similar aperture is formed in the lug 34 so that an axle 36 (FIG. 2) may be mounted at opposite ends thereof extending between the lugs 32 and 34.
The crushing arm C is mounted with the axle 36 by a sleeve 38 which receives the axle 36 therein. The sleeve 38 is rotatably movable with respect to the axle 36 so that the crushing arm C may be moved pivotally with respect to the base member M.
An enlarged outer mounting collar 40 is mounted with the sleeve 38 by a hub 42 (FIG. 2) and is connected with an upper beam 44 and a lower beam 46 of the crushing arm C. The enlarged outer mounting collar 40 permits greater spacing between the upper beam 44 and the lower beam 46 than with the collar 38, thereby providing a crushing arm C of greater thickness and strength.
The upper beam 44 extends outwardly from the mounting collar 40 along an initial portion 44a to a corner 44b, and from the corner 44b along an outer portion 44c at an angle with respect to the corner 44b. In a like manner, the lower beam 46 extends outwardly from the mounting collar 40 at an initial portion 46a, preferably of increased thickness for additional strength, to a corner 46b, and from the corner 46b along an outer portion 46c at an angle with respect to the corner 46b.
The angles at which the outer portions 44c and 46c extend from the corners 44b and 46b, respectively, are chosen so that the crusher head H is substantially horizontal (FIG. 3) when the medication P in the crushing bowl B is crushed.
A connecting beam 48 is mounted at an outer end 46d of the lower beam 46 and extends between the outer end 46d to an outer end 44d of the upper beam 44, forming a tapered, reduced thickness hand grip 50 at the outer end of the crushing arm C.
A web 52 extends between the upper beam 44 and the lower beam 46 connecting beam 48 to strengthen the crushing arm C. Plural ribs 54 and 56 are formed extending transversely to the web 52 at various positions along the length thereof between the upper beam 44 and the lower beam 46 to further strengthen the crushing arm C.
The crushing head H includes a crushing plate member 58 mounted with a support 60 of generally cruciform horizontal cross-section at a lower end thereof. The support 60 is mounted at its upper end with the lower beam 46 of the crushing arm C.
The crushing plate 58 of the crushing head H is of a cross-sectional area conforming to the configuration of the crushing bowl B and the cup 8, and has a crushing surface 58a formed thereon which substantially conforms to the configuration of the contact surface 22 in the crushing bowl B to thereby provide increased crushing action on the medication P.
In the operation of the present invention, the medication P to be crushed is placed in the medication cup 8, and the cup 8 containing the medication P is inserted into the crushing bowl B. The crushing cup 30 is then placed over the crushing plate 58, or alternatively, in the medication cup 8 above the medication P. The hand grip 50 of the crushing arm C is then grasped, and the crusher arm C is pivotally moved with respect to the member M so that the crushing head enters the crushing bowl B and contacts the crushing cup 30 above the medication P.
The crushing arm C is then moved further downwardly with respect to the base member M, urging the crushing head H firmly into the crushing bowl B by force exerted on the hand grip 50, exerting a lever effect on the medication P in the crushing bowl B due to the relative location of the hand grip 50 and the crushing head H with respect to the pivotal connection between the crushing arm C and the base member M.
In this manner, the medication P is crushed sanitarily, with no contact between the contact surface 22 of the crushing bowl B and the medication, and no contact between the contact surface 58a of the crushing head H and the medication. Further, the medication is available in the medication cup 8 for mixing or administering without requiring a separate bowl for mixing or administering, after which the medication cup 8 may be disposed of or discarded.
It has also been found with the present invention that while the medication is being crushed in the medication cup 8, a triturating action can be exerted on the medication P being crushed. The user of the apparatus A grips the crushing cup 30 and medication cup 8 along the upper rim portions thereof with one hand, and the crushing arm C with the other hand. The crushing cup 30 and the medication cup 8 are then rotated with respect to the crushing bowl B, while several slight, short distance, up and down movements of the crushing arm C and crushing head H are made with respect to the bowl B, providing a triturating effect and action on the medication P being crushed. This action maintains sufficient crushing pressure on the medication P, while providing for variations in such pressure, which when combined with rotational movement of the cups 8 and 30 achieves the triturating action on the medicine P, further pulverizing such medicine.
It should be understood that although the crushing bowl B, crushing head H and cups 8 and 30 are shown in the preferred embodiment as circular in horizontal cross-section, they could also be square, rectangular or other configuration, if desired. Further, the location of the crushing head H with respect to the pivotal connection F may vary in accordance with the amount of force required to be exerted to crush the medication P. For example, in an alternative apparatus A-1 (FIG. 4) in which like structure to that of the apparatus A performing like functions bears like reference numerals, a crushing head H-1 and a crushing bowl B-1 of like structure to the crushing head H and crushing bowl B, respectively, are mounted with a crushing arm C-1 and base member M at a position spaced relatively closer to the hand grip 50 than to the means F for pivotal connection between the crushing arm C and base member M of the apparatus A.
In addition, it is sometimes desirable to provide for side-to-side horizontal pivotal or rotational movement of the crushing arm C and crushing head H with respect to the base member M and bowl B. To provide for such rotational movement, a slight clearance is provided between the axle 36 and sleeve 38, either by reducing the diameter of the axle 36 or increasing the inner diameter of the sleeve 38.
The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention are illustrative and explanatory thereof, and various changes in the size, shape, and materials as well as in the details of the illustrated construction may be made with departing from the spirit of the invention.