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This invention relates to a bathing stall for catastrophically injured patients, or patients confined to a wheelchair. More specifically, the bath stall provides a shower, toilet and lavatory that is accessible by the wheelchair bound patient with a single transfer from the wheelchair through an access way provided by a swing-up door.
Catastrophically injured patients include those confined to a wheelchair, e.g., paraplegics, quadriplegics, amputees, etc. Upon release from the hospital, nursing home or other care institution, home facilities should be modified to allow for proper care of the person as easily and efficiently as possible. One of the most expensive and time-consuming modifications necessary to be made to a home is the bathroom. Without a proper bath facility, not only is the person likely to get inadequate care, but the caregiver is dramatically affected, both physically and mentally. This can make family home care virtually impossible, an unfortunate result since the family caregiver can be a lifeline for the catastrophically injured and since family home care is much less expensive than any institutional care.
Such a bathroom would preferably provide a toilet, shower and lavatory that is easily accessible to the catastrophically injured person in a single transfer from the wheelchair. The catastrophic disability bath described herein provides such a bathing area. It is unique in the care of the disabled because it provides a toilet, shower and lavatory in one location, all easily accessible by a swing up door, saving many hours of time by both the patient and the caregiver. This combination toilet, shower and lavatory provides additional time for enjoyment of other activities and maintains relationships not possible when the primary servicing of the disabled consumes all the time and energy of both the patient and caregiver. For instance, it is common for the disabled to have toilet accidents, thus the inclusion of the toilet in the catastrophic disability bath allows for fast and easy clean up of the patient and the toilet area.
Additionally, the catastrophic disability bath provides a desirable bath area during a transition period, while a bathroom is remodeled. In can be ordered and installed in a relatively short time period, so that a catastrophically injured person can be timely released from institutional care without delay that construction of a remodeled bathroom can cause. Additionally, the catastrophic disability bath can be installed for permanent use by a catastrophically injured person in any remodeled or new home or other care facility. Importantly, the catastrophic disability bath in relatively inexpensive and easy to install.
The catastrophic disability bath includes a bath stall having a front wall, a rear wall, first and second side walls and a floor. The first side wall has a wall portion and a door. The wall portion and the door are coplanar. The door has a body, a head that extends crosswise from a first end of the body and a foot that extends from a second end of the body. The foot presents a pivotal connection for rotation of the door vertically upwardly and downwardly between an open and closed position, respectively. An actuating device causes the door to move between these positions. The stall further includes a toilet, a shower and a lavatory mounted therein. The complete unit is quite compact as fifteen square feet (1.4 square meters) of floor area is adequate.
Preferably, the first side wall presents a lip which prevents water escape from the stall. The door's head has a bottom surface that engages the lip and a tongue that extends beyond the bottom surface in engagement with the inner surface of the wall portion adjacent the lip to seal the stall, when the door is in its closed position.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the catastrophic disability bath in accordance with the present invention, showing the door in its open position.
FIG. 2 is a side view of the bath of FIG. 1, additionally showing the door in hidden lines as it moves to its open position and showing a wheelchair wheel in hidden lines positioned as it should be before transfer of the patient to the bath.
FIG. 3 is a top view of the bath of FIG. 1 but with the door in its closed position and showing a wheelchair patient positioned for transfer to the bath FIG. 4 is a side detail view of the bath's door in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 5 is a front end view of the head of the bath's door of FIG. 4.
FIG. 6 is a bottom view of the head of the bath's door of FIG. 4.
The catastrophic disability bath 10 of FIGS. 1-3 includes a system of panels that form the front wall 20, rear wall 22, first side wall 24, second side wall 26 and floor 28. Mounted in the bath 10 are a toilet area 30, shower 32 and lavatory 34. The bath 10 is approximately three feet (91 cm.) by five feet (152 cm.) or fifteen square feet (1.4 square meters) in total area, which is approximately the size of a standard bathroom tub. The panels of the bath 10 are easily assembled to form a stand-alone rectangular room and can be installed anywhere in a home or care facility where the catastrophically disabled live.
The walls 20, 22, 24 and 26 and the floor 28 can be formed of porcelainized steel, PVC plastic with a foam core, vacuum formed acrylic or molded fiberglass or other suitable material. These materials may also be combined depending on the desired material use life or flame-spread and other safety code requirements. The floor 28 is textured to provide non-skid protection.
The first side wall 24 includes a stationary wall portion 40 and a swing-up door 42. The door 42 is basically a cut out of or stamped from the side wall 24. The door 42 does not increase the footprint of the bath 10, regardless of the door's position. Thus, the wall portion 40 and the door 42 are coplanar and when the door 42 is in its closed position the wall portion 40 and the door 42 present the first rectangular side wall 24.
More specifically, the wall portion 40 includes a top surface 44 and a cut-out surface 46. The cut-out surface 46 and the door's perimeter are correspondingly shaped. When the door 42 is in its closed position, the surface 46 and the door 42 meet to present the first side wall 24, with the wall portion's top surface 44 and the door's top surface 48 forming the top surface of side wall 24. Also, even at its shortest or lowermost point, the wall portion 40 presents a lip 49 that helps prevent water escape.
When the door 42 is in its open position, as in FIGS. 1 and 2, its configuration provides an opening extending from the toilet area 30 to the bottom of the door 42 with sufficient clearance for a seven-foot tall (213 cm.) patient in a seated position to transfer from a wheelchair without interference. More specifically, the door 42 includes a main body 50, a foot 52 and a head 54 as best seen in FIGS. 4-6. The door's main body 50 has a first end 56, a second end 58, a top surface 60 and a bottom surface 62. The foot 52 extends from the body's first end 56 adjacent the body's top surface 60 and presents a proximal end portion having an arcuate outer surface 64. Thus, the foot 52 is generally a semi-circular proturbance from the body 50. The foot 52 includes a horizontally extending throughbore 66 at the center thereof. The throughbore 66 receives a shaft 70 (FIG. 3) which causes the door 42 to move upwardly and downwardly in a vertical plane between an open position as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and a closed position as shown in FIG. 3.
The door's head 54 extends crosswise from the second end 58 of the body 50. The perimeter of the head 54 includes a top surface 72, an arcuate outer end surface 74, a bottom surface 76, a tongue 78 and an inner surface 80 to present a generally hammerhead configuration in relation to the body 50.
The head's top surface 72 and the body's top surface 60 are coplanar and continuous. These top surfaces 60 and 72 present the top surface 48 of the door 42.
The head's bottom surface 76 and the tongue 78 present a stepped or notched configuration. The bottom surface 76 extends parallel to the top surface 72. The tongue 78 extends outwardly beyond the bottom surface 76 immediately adjacent thereto and engages the lip 49 of the first side wall 24 to provide a seal when the door 42 is in its closed position. This helps prevent any water leakage. The head's inner surface 80 extends perpendicularly between the bottom surface 62 and tongue 78 of the body 50 and the bottom surface 76 of the head 54.
As seen in FIGS. 1-3, the toilet area 30 is securely mounted adjacent the rear wall 22, between the side walls 24 and 26. The toilet area 30 includes a toilet 84 that is compliant with the Americans with Disability Act (“ADA”) and a bench 86. The toilet 84 is preferably mounted adjacent the first side wall 24 and includes a toilet tank 88 with panel access from the top and a toilet seat 90 and toilet lid 92. Typically, the toilet seat 90 is approximately seventeen inches (43 cm.) above the floor 28. The bench 86 extends from next to the toilet seat 90, to the second side wall 26 and is substantially coplanar with the toilet seat 90. Alternatively, the toilet 84 can be centered between the side walls 24 and 26 with two, smaller bench areas on either side thereof.
The shower 32 is securely mounted to the interior surface of the front wall 20. The showerhead 96 is detachable or hand held and has a single lever water control 98 with anti-scald valve controls for safety. A floor drain 100 extends through the floor 28 beneath the shower 32 in the corner of the bath 10 adjacent the front wall 20 and the first side wall 24. Preferably, the bath 10 includes shower surround panels 102, 104 and 106 which are easily assembled to and extend upwardly from the front wall 20, second side wall 26 and rear wall 22, respectively. The shower surround panels 102, 104 and 106 are formed of plastic or ceramic tile tub surround which provides additional wall protection from water sprayed during showers.
The lavatory 34 is securely mounted in a corner of the bath 10 formed by the front wall 20 and the second side wall 26. The lavatory 34 is ADA compliant and has a surrounding counter-top 110 which may be formed of any suitable material. The countertop is substantially triangular (except where the lavatory 34 rests therein) extending between the front wall 20 and the second side wall 26. The faucet 112 is a single lever ADA compliant fixture. The corner location makes the lavatory easily accessible from the bench 86 or for a care provider standing outside the bath 10. Finally, the lavatory 34 includes a removable panel 114 extending below the counter-top which provides access for servicing the lavatory 34 and protection from potentially hot drainage pipes.
Other accessories can be included. For instance, a medicine cabinet can be secured to any wall, such as 20 or 26, or to any shower surround panel, such as 102 or 104. Lighting can also be installed as desired.
The door 42 may be actuated by a remote controlled, reversible electric tubular motor 120 in line with shaft 70 as seen in FIG. 1. One such Motor is sold under the name SOMFY® HiPro. (The remote control, not shown, is conventional and may be located wherever convenient, such as on the user's wheelchair, or accessible switching may be provided at a suitable location on wall portion 40.) Motor 120 includes an automatic release in case power is lost for manual operation of the door 42. Alternatively, the door 42 can be operated by an electrically powered linear actuator 124 as in FIGS. 2 and 3.
The catastrophic disability bath 10 can be shipped in modular form for easy and quick assembly. The bath 10 can be installed virtually anywhere, even in a bedroom if necessary. Installation of the bath 10 requires only a corner intersection of two walls, leaving the lavatory 34 and the swing-up door 42 accessible for assisting the patient by a caregiver standing outside the bath 10. Once the installation area is plumbed with the necessary water and sewer lines, assembly of the bath 10 only takes a few hours. An access panel (not shown) provides access to the toilet tank 88 and any door opening assembly, such as motor 120 or hydraulic damper 124, for easy service thereof.
In use, a catastrophically injured patient 130 positions his wheelchair 132 next to the first side wall 24 of the bath 10, as shown in FIG. 3, in lateral alignment with the toilet seat 90. The patient 130 or other caregiver remotely opens the door 42 of the bath 10. Specifically, the motor 120 rotates the shaft 70 which, in turn, rotates the door 42 upwardly from its closed position to its raised position, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. The door's vertical motion does not interfere with or obstruct the access to the bath 10 from the wheelchair 13.
Now, with a single lateral transfer of the patient 130 from the wheelchair 132 to the toilet seat 90 of the bath 10, the patient 130 can be cared for. Grab bars (not shown) can be attached where convenient to assist the transfer of the patient 130. With this single transfer, it is believed the caregiver can reduce the time needed to transfer the patient 130 by two-thirds. The need for a caregiver can even be eliminated. A patient 130 with sufficient upper body strength can independently access the bath 10 without assistance. The swing-up door 42 allows the wheelchair 132 to remain in its parked position and remain positioned next to the bath 10 for easy accessibility by the patient 130.
Upon remotely closing the door 42, the bath 10 provides easy accessibility to the toilet 30, shower 32 and lavatory 34: an all-in-one location for the caregiver to assist the patient 130 or the patient 130 to care for himself. This combined toilet 30, shower 32 and lavatory 34 give the caregiver and the patient 130 additional time to enjoy other activities and maintain relationships otherwise not possible. The bath 42 further provides the patient 130 with privacy for performing daily hygiene while decreasing or eliminating the need for costly caregivers.
It is to be understood that while certain forms of this invention have been illustrated and described, it is not limited thereto except insofar as such limitations are included in the following claims and equivalents thereof.