Title:
Family Zone Modules for Hospital Walls
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A modular wall system is provided for use in a healthcare facility to divide the available floor space into rooms and to support hospital equipment modules. The system includes a plurality of frame units configured to rest on the floor and extend vertically upwardly. The frame units form a grid of vertically and laterally spaced apart wall spaces having a predetermined height and a predetermined width. A plurality of family zone modules is configured to be positioned in the spaces to form a wall of the healthcare facility.



Inventors:
Kern, Julie A. (Sunman, IN, US)
Kramer, Kenneth L. (Greensburg, IN, US)
Application Number:
11/628017
Publication Date:
12/20/2007
Filing Date:
05/31/2005
Assignee:
Kern, Julie A.
Kramer, Kenneth L.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/620
International Classes:
E04H1/00; A47B87/00; A47F10/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HIJAZ, OMAR F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Barnes & Thornburg LLP (IN) (11 S. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN, 46204, US)
Claims:
1. A modular wall system for use in a healthcare facility, the system comprising: a plurality of frame units arranged in a side-by-side relationship, and a plurality of family zone modules coupled to the frame units to form a wall of the healthcare facility.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the plurality of frame units form a grid of vertically and laterally spaced apart wall spaces having a predetermined height and a predetermined width, the plurality of family zone modules are configured to be positioned in the wall spaces to form the wall.

3. The system of claim 2, wherein at least some of the plurality of family zone modules have a width substantially equal to a multiple, including one, of the predetermined width of the wall spaces and have a height substantially equal to a multiple, including one, of the predetermined height of the wall spaces.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein each frame unit has a plurality of connection points spaced apart from each other by a predetermined height and a predetermined width to form a grid, the plurality of family zone modules are coupled to the frame units at the connection points to form the wall.

5. The system of claim 4, wherein at least some of the plurality of family zone modules have a width substantially equal to a multiple, including one, of the predetermined width and have a height substantially equal to a multiple, including one, of the predetermined height.

6. The system of claim 4, comprising a plurality of supporting members configured to be detachably coupled to the frame units at the connection points, wherein the supporting members extend generally horizontally away from the frame units in a cantilevered fashion, and the plurality of family zone modules is configured to be coupled to the supporting members to form the wall.

7. The system of claim 6, wherein each module includes at least one pair of oppositely disposed guide tracks sized and positioned to receive an associated pair of oppositely disposed supporting members.

8. The system of claim 1, wherein the family zone modules include any one or more of the following: a hideaway bed module, a microwave module, a refrigerator module, a cabinet module, a drawer module, a fold-down seat module, a reading lamp module, a television module, a fold-down worksurface module, a shelving module, a wardrobe module, a decorative panel module, a whiteboard module, a tacksurface module and a mood panel module.

9. The system of claim 8, wherein the hideaway bed module includes a deck coupled to an enclosure to move between a lowered use position where the deck extends generally horizontally from the enclosure and a raised storage position.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein, when the deck is in the storage position, the outwardly facing underside of the deck provides a surface usable to create a pleasing appearance.

11. The system of claim 9, comprising a mattress resting on an upwardly facing surface of the deck.

12. The system of claim 11, wherein the mattress is secured to the deck to hold it in place when the deck is raised to the storage position.

13. The system of claim 11, wherein the mattress is an air mattress.

14. The system of claim 9, wherein the hideaway bed module includes a foot panel coupled to the deck to move between a lowered use position where the foot panel rests on a floor to support the deck and a raised storage position.

15. The system of claim 9, wherein the hideaway bed module includes a reading light near the head end of the deck.

16. The system of claim 9, wherein the hideaway bed module includes a gas spring to assist in the movement of the deck between the storage and use positions.

17. The system of claim 8, wherein the fold-down seat module includes a seat panel movable between a lowered use position and a raised storage position.

18. The system of claim 17, wherein the fold-down seat module includes a brace to support the seat panel in the lowered use position.

19. The system of claim 17, wherein the fold-down seat module includes a cushion resting on an upwardly facing surface of the seat panel.

20. The system of claim 19, wherein the cushion is secured to the seat panel to hold it in place when the seat panel is raised to the storage position.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit, under 35 U.S.C. §119(e), of U.S. Provisional Patent Applications Ser. Nos. 60/576,855 filed on Jun. 3, 2004, and 60/576,868 filed on Jun. 3, 2004, both of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present disclosure relates to adaptable clinical environments, and particularly to a modular system for constructing walls in a clinical environment.

Conventional methods for constructing walls in a healthcare facility utilize timber, steel and dry wall which are more or less permanently secured to the floor and/or the ceiling of the healthcare facility. Such traditional methods of construction involve long and unreliable construction times due to the difficulties in scheduling the various craftsmen such as carpenters, painters, plumbers, electricians and the like to complete the construction work. The rooms and spaces constructed using such traditional methods are not readily reconfigurable. Any such reconfiguration requires tearing down the existing walls. Such reconfiguration is not only costly, time consuming and disruptive, but produces a lot of dirt, dust and noise. The material that is removed is generally not reusable, and has to be disposed of.

Modular wall systems for dividing open spaces into cubicles and rooms are well known. Examples of such systems are disclosed in U.S. Patent Publication No. US 2002/0104271 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,405,491, both of which are entitled “Modular Patient Room.”

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention comprises a system that has one or more of the following features or combinations thereof, which alone or in any combination may comprise patentable subject matter.

A system for constructing walls may include a plurality of frame units having connection points and a plurality of family zone modules coupled to the frame units at the connection points to form a wall. The frame units may form a grid of vertically and laterally spaced apart connection points having a predetermined vertical spacing and a predetermined lateral spacing. At least some of the plurality of family zone modules may have a width substantially equal to a multiple, including one, of the predetermined lateral spacing and a height substantially equal to a multiple, including one, of the predetermined vertical spacing.

Some examples of family zone modules are a visitor hideaway bed module, a microwave module, a refrigerator module, a cabinet module, a drawer module, a foldout seat module, a reading lamp module, a television module, a shelving module, a wardrobe module, a decorative panel module, a whiteboard module, a tacksurface module and a mood panel module. It will be understood that this list is only illustrative, and not intended to be exhaustive.

Additional features, which alone or in combination with any other feature(s), such as those listed above in the appended claims, may comprise patentable subject matter and will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of the following detailed description of various embodiments exemplifying the best mode of carrying out the embodiments as presently perceived.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The detailed description particularly refers to the accompanying figures in which:

FIG. 1 is an elevation view showing a modular wall having a plurality of family zone modules;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a portion of the modular wall of FIG. 1 showing a plurality of frame units having hanger-receiving openings, a plurality of hangers received in the associated hanger-receiving, and various family zone modules removably supported by the hangers;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a hideaway bed module;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a microwave module;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a refrigerator module;

FIG. 6 is perspective view of a cabinet module;

FIGS. 7 and 8 are perspective views of drawer modules;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of a foldout seat module;

FIG. 10 is perspective view of a reading lamp module; and

FIG. 11 is a perspective view showing a module having a guide track for slidably receiving a hanger secured to the frame unit.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1 and 2 show a modular system 20 for constructing walls. Illustratively, the modular wall system 20 includes a plurality of infrastructure components 22 and a plurality of modules, such as the family zone modules 24, coupled to the infrastructure components 22 to form a wall 26. Such a system 20 may, for example, be used for constructing walls in a healthcare facility such as a private patient room 28.

Referring to FIG. 1, the family zone modules 24 illustratively include a hideaway bed module 200 (as best shown in FIG. 3), a microwave module 202 (as best shown in FIG. 4), a refrigerator module 204 (as best shown in FIG. 5), a cabinet module 206 (as best shown in FIG. 6), a drawer module 208 (as best shown in FIGS. 7, 8), a fold-down seat module 210 (as best shown in FIG. 9), a reading lamp module 212 (as best shown in FIG. 10), a television module 214, a fold-down worksurface module 216, a shelving module 218, a wardrobe module 220, a decorative panel module 222, a whiteboard module 224, a tacksurface module 226 and a mood panel module 228. It will be understood that this list is only illustrative, and not intended to be exhaustive. Also shown in FIG. 1 are a chair 230 resting on a floor 152 in the family area of the patient room 28 and a window 232 in a conventional wall 160 near to the family area of the patient room 28.

It should be understood that although the illustrative wall 26 shown in FIG. 1 includes a plurality of family zone modules 24, the modular wall may very well include other module types such as, for example, patient care modules, footwall modules, clinical wall modules, hygiene zone modules and the like (not shown). Some examples of the patient care modules are a vital signs module, a service delivery module, a bed locator module, a monitor module, a viewbox module, a sharps disposal module, a computer/keyboard module, a tube drop module, a waste management module, a light module, and a clock module. Such patient care modules are disclosed in Serial No. PCT/US2005/______, entitled “Patient Care Modules for Hospital Walls,” (attorney docket no. 7175-78002) which is assigned to the same assignee as the subject application and which is hereby incorporated by reference herein. The term “hospital equipment module” is used broadly, and includes a patient care module, a footwall module, a clinical wall module, a family zone module, a hygiene zone module, a door module, a window module, a fold-out bed module, a vital signs module, an equipment storage module, and the like.

As shown in FIG. 2, the infrastructure components 22 include frame units 100 and a plurality of supporting members 102. In the illustrated embodiment, the supporting members 102 are hangers configured to be detachably coupled to the frame units 100. Each frame unit 100 includes a pair of vertical members 110 and a pair of horizontal members 112 extending between the vertical members 110 near the top and the bottom of the frame units 100 to form a generally rectangular structure with an open space or cavity 114 in the middle that extends between the front and back sides 116, 118 of the frame unit 100. Illustratively, the vertical and horizontal members 110, 112 are made from tubular members having generally rectangular cross section.

The vertical members 110 of each frame unit 100 have a first plurality of connection points 120 facing the front side 116 of the frame unit 100 and a second plurality of connection points 120 facing the back side 118 of the frame unit 100. In the illustrated embodiment, the first plurality of connection points 120 is a first plurality of hanger-receiving openings 120 extending along the depth dimension and facing the front side 116 of the frame unit 100. Likewise, the second plurality of connection points 120 is a second plurality of hanger-receiving openings 120 extending along the depth dimension and facing the back side 118 of the frame unit 100. The hanger-receiving openings 120 are sized and shaped to receive the hangers 102. When inserted, the hangers 102 fit into in the hanger-receiving openings 120 in the frame units 100 so that they firmly lock in place. Illustratively, both the hangers 102 and the hanger-receiving openings 120 are generally rectangular in cross section. The hangers 102 extend generally horizontally away from the frame units 100 in a cantilevered fashion. As explained below, the lengths of the hangers 102 generally match the depth of the respective modules 24 supported by such hangers 102.

The center-to-center lateral spacing 130 between the hanger-receiving openings 120 in the vertical members 110 of each frame unit 100 along the width dimension or the x-axis is fixed. Illustratively, the center-to-center lateral spacing 130 between the hanger-receiving openings 120 is about 2 feet (about 60 centimeters). The center-to-center vertical 132 spacing between the hanger-receiving openings 120 in the vertical members 110 of each frame unit 100 along the height dimension or the z-axis is also fixed. Illustratively, the center-to-center spacing 132 between the hanger-receiving openings 120 along the height dimension is about 2 feet (about 60 centimeters).

Thus, the first and second plurality of hanger-receiving openings 120 are spaced apart from each other by a predetermined width 130 and a predetermined height 132 to form 2 feet-by-2 feet (about 60 centimeters-by-60 centimeters) grids on the opposite sides 116, 118 of the frame units 100. Each module 24 has a width substantially equal to a discrete multiple, including one, of the predetermined width (2 feet or about 0.60 meter in the illustrated example) and a height substantially equal to a discrete multiple, including one, of the predetermined height (2 feet or about 0.60 meter in the illustrated example).

In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 2, a first plurality of modules 24 is supported by the hangers 102 on the front side 116 of the frame units 100. A second plurality of modules 24 is supported by hangers 102 on the back side 118 of the frame units 100. As shown in FIG. 11, each module 24 includes a pair of oppositely disposed guide tracks or channels 140 near the upper end of the module 24 and a pair of oppositely disposed guide tracks or channels 140 near the lower end of the module 24. The upper and lower pairs of guide tracks 140 slidably receive the corresponding hangers 102 secured to the vertical members 110 of the frame units 100. The guide tracks 140 and the hangers 102 are sized to provide a sliding fit. Suitable latches are used for securing the modules 24 to the hangers 102.

The lower horizontal member 112 of each frame unit 100 has a pair of vertically extending through openings 150 for securing the frame unit 100 to the floor 152 of the healthcare facility. Likewise, the upper horizontal member 112 of each frame unit 100 has a pair of vertically extending through openings 150 for securing the frame unit 100 to the ceiling 154 of the healthcare facility where the frame unit 100 extends from the floor 152 to the ceiling 154. Any suitable fasteners 156, such as studs, pins, screws or nuts and bolts, may be used for securing the frame units 100 to the floor 152 and to the ceiling 154. In the illustrated embodiment, the frame units 100 are secured to a base board 158, instead of the floor 152, so that the modules 24 can be protected, for example, from mops, floor cleaning equipment etc. The base board 158 is, in turn, secured to the floor 152. Illustratively, the base board 158 is about 4 inches (10.16 centimeters) high.

In the illustrative embodiment, each frame unit 100 is coupled to the adjoining frame units 100 on either side thereof. In addition, the frame unit 100 closest to an existing conventional wall 160 of the healthcare facility is secured thereto. To this end, the vertical members 110 of each frame unit 100 have a plurality of laterally extending through openings 162. Any suitable fasteners 164, such as studs, pins, screws or nuts and bolts, may be used for securing each frame unit 100 to the adjoining frame units 100 on the opposite sides thereof and to the adjoining existing wall 160.

Utility lines 172 may be routed from the mechanical room of the healthcare facility into the patient room 28. These utility lines 172 may typically be routed through one of the floor 152, the ceiling 154 or the wall 26 of the patient room 28. The horizontal members 112 have vertically extending through slots or cutouts 170 through which utility lines 172 enter the open space or the cavity 114 defined by the frame members 110, 112. The utility lines 172 are then routed from the open space 114 to the associated modules 24. Illustratively, the utility lines 172 include data lines, gas lines, vacuum lines, AC/DC power lines, hot and cold water lines and plumbing lines.

In addition, laterally extending through openings (not shown) may be formed in the vertical members 110 of the frame units 100 for passing the utility lines 172 from an open space 114 in one frame unit 100 to an open space 114 in the next adjacent frame unit 100 on either side thereof. From the open spaces 114 in the next adjacent frame units 100, the utility lines 172 are then routed to the associated modules 24. The open space 114 in the frame units 100 may be filled with sound and/or thermal insulation material.

The family zone modules 24 have a width substantially equal to a discrete multiple, including one, of the predetermined lateral spacing 130 between the hanger-receiving openings 120. Illustratively, the predetermined lateral spacing 130 between the hanger-receiving openings 120 is about 2 feet (about 60 centimeters). Thus, the width of the family zone modules 24 may be about 2 feet (about 60 centimeters), 4 feet (about 120 centimeters), 6 feet (about 180 centimeters), etc. The family zone modules 24 have a height substantially equal to a discrete multiple, including one, of the predetermined vertical spacing 132 between the hanger-receiving openings 120. Illustratively, the predetermined vertical spacing 132 between the hanger-receiving openings 120 is also about 2 feet (about 60 centimeters). Thus, the height of the family zone modules 24 may be about 2 feet (about 60 centimeters), 4 feet (about 120 centimeters), 6 feet (about 180 centimeters), 8 feet (about 240 centimeters), etc.

While the width and the height of the modules 24 are a discrete multiple, including one, of the predetermined lateral spacing 130 and the predetermined vertical spacing 132 between the openings 120, the depth of the modules 24 may, however, vary depending on their functionality. For example, the decorative panel modules 222 are about one inch (2.54 centimeters) deep. As previously indicated, the lengths of the hangers 102 generally match the depth of the associated modules 24 supported by said hangers 102. Thus, the length of the hangers 102 used for supporting 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) deep decorative panel modules 222 would also be about 1 inch (2.54 centimeters). Such modular wall system 20 is disclosed in PCT/US2005/______, entitled “Modular System for Constructing Hospital Walls,” (attorney docket no. 7175-78000) which is assigned to the same assignee as this application and which is hereby incorporated by reference herein.

Referring to FIG. 3, the hideaway bed module 200 includes a deck 250 coupled to an enclosure or cabinet 252 for pivoting movement between an upwardly extending storage position where the deck 250 is received in a deck-receiving space or cavity 254 in the enclosure 252 and an outwardly extending use position where the deck 250 extends generally horizontally from the cabinet 252. The deck 250 is movable between the upwardly extending storage position and the outwardly extending use position in a manner similar to the movement of the well known Murphy bed.

Space within a patient room is always an issue in the planning of a healthcare facility. Freestanding items within the room can become obstacles for the patient, caregivers and the visitors. The deck 250 can be moved to the out-of-the-way storage position when not in use to free the floor space for the caregivers to access the patient. The undersurface 276 of the deck 250 may have artwork so that, when the deck 250 is in the upwardly extending storage position, the artwork provides a pleasing, home-like appearance which is not likely to raise apprehension on the part of the patient or a visitor.

The enclosure 252 includes a back wall 256, a pair of side walls 258 and 260, a top wall 262 and a bottom wall 264. The deck-receiving space 254 is bounded by the side walls 258, 260, the top wall 262 and the bottom wall 264. The front edges of the walls 258-264 define a forwardly facing surface 266. The deck 250 includes a head end 270, a foot end 272, an upwardly facing surface 274 (also referred to as inwardly facing surface 274) and a downwardly facing surface 276 (also referred to as outwardly facing surface 276). A mattress 278, such as, for example, an air mattress, rests on the upwardly facing surface 274 of the deck 250. A plurality of straps (not shown) secure the mattress 278 to the deck 250 to hold it in place when the deck 250 is raised to the storage position. It is understood that although straps (not shown) are used in the illustrated embodiment to secure the mattress 278 to the deck 250, other suitable fasteners may very well be used. Some example of such fasteners are Velcro strips, loop and tie fasteners, hook and eye fasteners, clips, snaps, zippers, etc.

A plurality of hinges (not shown) near the head end 270 of the deck 250 couple the deck 250 to the enclosure 252 so that the deck 250 pivots relative to the cabinet 252 about a first laterally extending axis 290 between the raised storage position and the lowered use position. A retainer or latch (not shown) holds the deck 250 in the deck-receiving cavity 254 when the deck 250 is raised. In the raised storage position, the outwardly facing surface 276 of the deck 250 is generally flush with the outwardly facing surface 266 of the enclosure 252 so as to appear as a continuous part thereof. In the lowered use position, the deck 250 extends generally outwardly from the enclosure 252. In the lowered use position, the head end 270 of the deck 250 is positioned near the back wall 256 of the enclosure 252.

A foot panel 292 is pivotally coupled to the deck 250 near the foot end 272 thereof to pivot between a raised storage position where the foot panel 292 lies in a foot panel-receiving cavity 294 in the downwardly facing undersurface 276 of the deck 250 and a lowered use position where the foot panel 292 rests on the floor 152 to support the foot end 272 of the deck 250. A plurality of hinges (not shown) near the foot end 272 of the deck 250 couple the foot panel 292 to the deck 250 so that the foot panel 292 pivots relative to the deck 250 about a second laterally extending axis 296.

When the foot panel 292 is received in the foot panel-receiving cavity 294 in the deck 250, an outwardly facing surface 298 of the foot panel 292 is generally coplanar with the outwardly facing surface 276 of the deck 250 so as to appear as a continuous part thereof. The foot panel 292 includes a handle 300 to enable a caregiver to move the foot panel 292 between the raised and lowered positions. A retainer or lock (not shown) holds the foot panel 292 in the foot panel-receiving cavity 294. A latch (not shown) locks the foot panel 292 in the lowered use position where the foot panel 292 rests on the floor 152 to support the foot end 272 of the deck 250. The terms “retainer”, “latch” and “lock” are used interchangeably.

A reading light 302 and a switch 304 are located on the back wall 256 of the enclosure 252. The switch 304 operates the reading light 302. Alternatively, in some embodiments, the reading light 302 is automatically turned on the when the deck 250 is lowered to the use position. The lower portion 306 of the enclosure 252 houses equipment such as, for example, a compressor, a motor, a controller, tubing, valves, etc. for inflating the air mattress 278.

Illustratively, the enclosure 252 is about 4 feet (about 120 centimeters) wide, 8 feet (about 240 centimeters) high and 1 foot (about 30 centimeters) deep; the lower portion 306 is about 4 feet (about 120 centimeters) wide, 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) high and 1 foot (about 30 centimeters) deep; the foot panel 292 is about 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) high, and the deck 250 is about 6.5 feet (about 195 centimeters) long. When the deck 250 is lowered to a horizontal position, the head end 270 of the deck 250 extends about 1 foot (about 30 centimeters) into the enclosure 252 and the rest of the deck 250 extends about 5.5 feet (about 165 centimeters) outside the enclosure 252. The hangers 102 securing the hideaway bed module 200 to the vertical members 110 of the frame units 100 are about 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) long.

It is noted that all family zone modules 24, including the hideaway bed module 200, have a width substantially equal to a discrete multiple of the predetermined lateral spacing 130 (2 feet or about 60 centimeters in the illustrated embodiment) between the hanger-receiving openings 120. Also, all family zone modules 24, including the hideaway bed module 200, have a height substantially equal to a discrete multiple of the predetermined vertical spacing 132 (2 feet or about 60 centimeters in the illustrated embodiment) between the hanger-receiving openings 120.

In operation, the caregiver releases the latch holding the foot panel 292 in the foot panel-receiving cavity 294 and moves the foot panel 292 to the extended position to lock it in place. The caregiver then releases the latch holding the deck 250 in the deck-receiving cavity 254 and moves the deck 250 to the lowered use position so that the foot panel 292 rests on the floor 152 to support the foot end 272 of the deck 250. The head end 270 of the deck 250 is supported by the hinges (not shown) pivotally coupling the deck 250 to the enclosure 252. The procedure is reversed to move the deck 250 to the raised storage position.

A gas spring or other such means may be provided to assist the movement of the deck 250 between the storage and use positions. In other embodiments, springs, counter balance mechanisms, hydraulic actuators, electric motor, and the like, may be used to assist the caregiver in moving the deck 250 between its storage and use positions.

As indicated above, although not shown in FIG. 3, all family zone modules 24, including the hideaway bed module 200, include a pair of oppositely disposed guide tracks or channels 140 near the upper end of the modules 24 and a pair of oppositely disposed guide tracks or channels 140 near the lower end of the modules 24 as shown in FIG. 11. The upper and lower pairs of guide tracks 140 slidably receive the corresponding hangers 102 secured to the vertical members 110 of the frame units 100. The guide tracks 140 and the hangers 102 are sized to provide a sliding fit. Suitable latches are used for securing the modules 24 to the hangers 102.

Referring to FIG. 4, the microwave module 202 includes a cabinet or housing 320 having a back wall 322, a pair of side walls 324 and 326, a top wall 328, a bottom wall 330, an upper shelf 332 and a lower shelf 334. A first compartment 336 is bounded by the top wall 328, the upper shelf 332 and the side walls 324 and 326. The first compartment 336 houses a conventional microwave oven 338. A second compartment 340 is bounded by the upper shelf 332, the lower shelf 334 and the side walls 324 and 326. A utensil drawer 342 is slidably mounted in the second compartment 340. A third compartment 344 is bounded by the lower shelf 334, the bottom wall 330 and the side walls 324 and 326. A slide-out worksurface 346 for food preparation, etc. is mounted in the third compartment 344. The microwave oven 338 includes a door 348 and a plurality of controls 350. The utensil drawer 342 and the worksurface 346 each include a handle 352 and 354, respectively. An electrical line 356 is routed from an electrical outlet to the microwave oven 338.

As shown in FIG. 5, the refrigerator module 204 includes a small conventional refrigerator 360 for family use and patient nourishment. The refrigerator 360 includes a door 362 having a handle 364. A power cord 366 is routed to the refrigerator 360. Referring to FIG. 6, the cabinet module 206 includes a cabinet 370 having an interior space for storage. The cabinet 370 includes doors 372 pivotally coupled to the cabinet 370 for enclosing the interior space. Each door 372 has a knob 374. The illustrative cabinet 370 is 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) wide, 4 feet (about 120 centimeters) high and 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) deep. It is understood that although the illustrative cabinet 370 is 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) wide, 4 feet (about 120 centimeters) high and 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) deep, the cabinet 370 may very well be 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) wide, 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) high and 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) deep, or 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) wide, 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) high and 1 foot (about 30 centimeters) deep, or 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) wide, 4 feet (about 120 centimeters) high and 1 foot (about 30 centimeters) deep, etc.

As shown in FIGS. 7 and 8, the drawer modules 208 include a housing 380 having a back wall 382, a pair of side walls 384 and 386, a top wall 388, a bottom wall 390, an upper shelf 392 and a lower shelf 394. A first compartment 396 is bounded by the top wall 388, the upper shelf 392 and the side walls 384 and 386. A second compartment 398 is bounded by the upper shelf 392, the lower shelf 394 and the side walls 384 and 386. A third compartment 400 is bounded by the lower shelf 394, the bottom wall 390 and the side walls 384 and 386. Each compartment 396-400 includes a slide-out drawer unit 402 having a knob 404 for storage. The illustrative housing 380 is 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) wide, 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) high and 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) deep. In the FIG. 7 embodiment, each compartment 396-400 is about 8 inches (about 20 centimeters) high. In the FIG. 8 embodiment, however, the upper two compartments 396 and 398 are each 6 inches (about 15 centimeters) high, while the lower compartment 400 is 1 foot (about 30 centimeters) high. It is understood that although the illustrative housing 380 is 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) wide, 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) high and 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) deep, the housing 380 may very well be 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) wide, 4 feet (about 120 centimeters) high and 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) deep, or 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) wide, 6 feet (about 180 centimeters) high and 1.5 feet (about 45 centimeters) deep, etc.

Referring to FIG. 9, the foldout seat module 210 includes a flip-down seat panel 410. A pair of braces 412, such as cables, ropes, chains, or articulated linkages, supports the seat panel 410 in a horizontal use position. The seat panel 410 is pivotable from the horizontal use position to a vertical storage position. The foldout seat module 210 has a suitable retaining mechanism to lock the seat panel 410 in the storage position. A plurality of hinges (not shown) couple the seat panel 410 to a frame member 414 for pivoting movement between the raised storage position and lowered use position. The upwardly facing surface 416 of the seat panel 410 supports a cushion 418. When the seat panel 410 is in the storage position, the forwardly facing surface 420 of the seat panel 410 is substantially coplanar with the forwardly facing surface 422 of the frame member 414 so as to appear to be a part thereof.

A plurality of straps (not shown) secure the cushion 418 to the seat panel 410 to hold it in place when the seat panel 410 is raised to the storage position. It is understood that although straps (not shown) are used in the illustrated embodiment to secure the cushion 418 to the seat panel 410, other suitable fasteners may very well be used. Some example of such fasteners are Velcro strips, loop and tie fasteners, hook and eye fasteners, clips, snaps, zippers, etc.

As shown in FIG. 10, a reading lamp module 212 includes a cube 430 having a back wall 432, a pair of side walls 434 and 436, a top wall 438 and a bottom wall 440. The walls 432-440 define an interior space or cavity 442. A reading light 444 is mounted on an articulating telescopic arm 446 for movement between an extended use position where the reading light 444 is outside the cavity 442 and a retracted storage position where the reading light 444 is withdrawn into the cavity 442. The proximal end 448 is coupled to the back wall 432. An electrical line 450 is routed to the reading light 444.

Reference is made to FIG. 1 for a description of the television module 214, the fold-down worksurface module 216, the shelving module 218, the wardrobe module 220, the decorative panel modules 222, the whiteboard module 224, the tack surface module 226 and the mood panel module 228. The television module 214 includes a television set 460, a DVD player 462 and a VCR 464. The worksurface module 216 includes a flip-down panel 466 pivotable between a horizontal use position and a vertical storage position. Braces (not shown), such as cables, ropes, chains, or articulated linkages, may be provided to support the panel 466 in the use position. A plurality of hinges (not shown) pivotably couple the panel 466 to a frame member 468. When the panel 466 is in the horizontal use position, the upwardly facing surface of the panel 466 provides a worksurface. When the panel 466 is in the storage position, the panel 466 is received in a panel-receiving opening in the frame member 468 so that the outwardly facing surface of the panel 466 is substantially aligned with the forwardly facing surface of the frame member 468 so as to appear to be a part thereof. A handle 470 is mounted to the undersurface of the panel 466 to enable the caregiver to open and close the panel 466. The worksurface module 216 may include a retainer to hold the panel 466 in the storage position.

The shelving module 218 includes an enclosure 472 configured to form a storage space 474 bounded by a back wall, a pair of side walls, a top wall and a bottom wall. The wardrobe module 220 includes a cabinet 476 configured to form an interior space bounded by a back wall, a pair of side walls, a top wall and a bottom wall. The cabinet 476 may include a laterally extending hanger rod (not shown) for supporting a plurality of hangers. The cabinet 476 includes doors 478 pivotally coupled to the cabinet 476 for enclosing the interior space. Each door 478 has a handle 480. The illustrative cabinet 370 is 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) wide, 4 feet (about 120 centimeters) high and 2 feet (about 60 centimeters) deep.

The decorative panel modules 222 may be provided for closing or covering the modular spaces. The decorative panel modules 222 provide a pleasing, home-like appearance which is not likely to raise apprehension on the part of the patient or a visitor. The decorative panel modules 222 provide a variety of decorative finishes such as, for example, laminates, plastic sheets, vinyl wall covering, wood veneer, paintable surface and the like. Illustrative decorative panel modules 222 are about 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) deep. The whiteboard module 224 may include a recessed ledge 482 along a lower edge thereof for holding writing implements. The tack surface module 226 includes a tack surface comprising fabric or cork. The tack surface module 226 may be oriented horizontally or vertically. The mood panel module 228 includes a backlit panel controlled by the patient or a visitor to project mood enhancing colors and scenes thereon. The mood panel module 228 may be oriented horizontally or vertically.

As indicated above, although not shown in FIGS. 3-10, each family zone module 24 includes a pair of oppositely disposed guide tracks or channels 140 near the upper end of the module 24 and a pair of oppositely disposed guide tracks or channels 140 near the lower end of the module 24 as shown in FIG. 11. The upper and lower pairs of guide tracks 140 slidably receive the corresponding hangers 102 secured to the vertical members 110 of the frame units 100. The guide tracks 140 and the hangers 102 are sized to provide a sliding fit. Suitable latches are used for securing the modules 24 to the hangers 102.

Also, it will be noted that the family zone modules 24 have a width substantially equal to a discrete multiple, including one, of the predetermined lateral spacing 130 between the hanger-receiving openings 120. The family zone modules 24 have a height substantially equal to a discrete multiple, including one, of the predetermined vertical spacing 132 between the hanger-receiving openings 120. While the width and the height of the modules 24 are a discrete multiple, including one, of the predetermined lateral spacing 130 and the predetermined vertical spacing 132 between the openings 120, the depth of the modules 24 may, however, vary depending on their functionality.

It will be noted that many of the family zone modules 24 can also be used to form a footwall of the patient room. The footwall zone modules are designed around the needs of the patient as it relates to his or her belongings, information and entertainment. Thus, examples of family zone modules 24 that can also be used as footwall zone modules are, for example, cabinet module 206, drawer modules 208, television module 214, shelving module 218, decorative panel module 222, whiteboard module 224, tacksurface module 226 and mood panel module 228.

While the disclosure is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific exemplary embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and have herein been described in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intent to limit the disclosure to the particular forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the disclosure as defined by the appended claims.

There is a plurality of advantages of the present invention arising from the various features of the embodiments described herein. It will be noted that alternative embodiments of the present invention may not include all of the features described yet still benefit from at least some of the advantages of such features. Those of ordinary skill in the art may readily devise their own implementations of a device that incorporates one or more of the features of the present invention and fall within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.