Title:
EXPANDABLE OVERBED TABLE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An overbed table with a primary table top may be expanded through the deployment of a secondary table top. Advantageously, by appropriately arranging the position of the manner by which the secondary table top is mounted to the overbed table, the top surface of the secondary table top can occupy the same plane as the top surface of the primary table top. Additionally, the overbed table may incorporate further features including equipment rails, power receptacles, networking receptacles and a computing device.



Inventors:
Berlin, Erica (Toronto, CA)
Corey, Sarah (Uxbridge, CA)
Application Number:
12/429936
Publication Date:
10/29/2009
Filing Date:
04/24/2009
Assignee:
AMICO CLINICAL SOLUTIONS CORP. (Richmond Hill, CA)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
108/28, 108/50.01, 108/50.02, 108/80
International Classes:
A47B23/06; A47B1/04; A47B9/20; A47B23/00; A47B23/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20100043681PLASTIC AND WOOD COMPOSITE TABLETOPFebruary, 2010Leng
20060054065Device to prevent rocking of tablesMarch, 2006Gild
20080250983Folding Armrest Tray for WheelchairsOctober, 2008Sundarrao
20090007824Large Load CarrierJanuary, 2009Dubois et al.
20060180056Replaceable desk surface systemAugust, 2006Dorholt
20090178594DISPLAY TABLE AND CONVEYING DEVICE FOR A CREMATION URNJuly, 2009Fremming
20080178745GRILLING SYSTEM AND TABLE EQUIPPED WITH THE GRILLING SYSTEMJuly, 2008Hong
20080163798Combination Stack And Stand Table With Refuse Receptacle For Catering Or The LikeJuly, 2008Shearer-robinson
20080190329STOWABLE FOLD-OUT/ROLL-OUT DINETTE TABLE ASSEMBLYAugust, 2008Boyd et al.
20070151487Portable desktopJuly, 2007Villapanda et al.
20080092788Kind of DeskApril, 2008Leng



Primary Examiner:
GALLEGO, ANDRES F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RIDOUT & MAYBEE LLP (225 KING STREET WEST, 10TH FLOOR, TORONTO, ON, M5V 3M2, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An overbed table comprising: a base; a vertical support with a first end attached to said base; a primary table top attached to said vertical support at a second end of said vertical support; and a secondary table top having a first position in which a top surface of said secondary table top is coplanar with a top surface of said primary table top.

2. The overbed table of claim 1 wherein said secondary table top has a second position in which said top surface of said secondary table top is perpendicular to said top surface of said primary table top.

3. The overbed table of claim 2 further comprising a hinge connecting said secondary table top to said primary table top.

4. The overbed table of claim 1 further comprising a support brace connecting an underside of said secondary table top to said vertical support adapted to releasably maintain said secondary table top in said first position.

5. The overbed table of claim 1 further comprising a support beam slidably extendable out from a first support position entirely under said primary table top to a second support position partially under said primary table top and partially under said secondary table top.

6. The overbed table of claim 1 further comprising a hinge connecting said secondary table top to said vertical support beam.

7. The overbed table of claim 6 wherein said vertical support beam includes a plurality of locations at which said hinge may be positioned.

8. An overbed table comprising: a base; a vertical support including: an inner beam with a first end attached to said base; and an outer beam with a first end surrounding said inner beam, said outer beam including equipment rails allowing for attachment of equipment; and a primary table top attached to said outer beam at a second end of said outer beam.

9. The overbed table of claim 8 wherein said equipment rails extend along a length of said outer beam.

10. The overbed table of claim 8 wherein said equipment rails extend generally perpendicular to a length of said outer beam.

11. The overbed table of claim 8 wherein said equipment rails comprise extruded aluminum secured to said outer beam.

12. The overbed table of claim 8 wherein said outer beam comprises an aluminum extrusion arranged to integrally include said equipment rails.

13. An overbed table comprising a base; a vertical support with a first vertical support end attached to said base; a primary table top attached to said vertical support at a second vertical support end of said vertical support; a power cord terminating at a first power cord end at a male electrical connector and terminating at a second power cord end at a power receptacle.

14. The overbed table of claim 13 further comprising a cantilever support attaching said primary table top to said vertical support.

15. The overbed table of claim 14 wherein said cantilever support defines an aperture in which is mounted said power receptacle.

16. The overbed table of claim 14 wherein said primary table top defines an aperture in which is mounted said power receptacle.

17. The overbed table of claim 13 further comprising: a cord retractor attached to said overbed table; said power cord comprising: a retractable power cord portion terminating at a first retractable power cord portion end at said male electrical connector and terminating at a second retractable power cord portion end in said cord retractor; and an internal power cord portion terminating at a first internal power cord portion end at a connection to said retractable power cord and terminating at a second internal power cord portion end at said power receptacle.

18. The overbed table of claim 17 wherein said cord retractor comprises: an axle to which said retractable power cord portion is attached; a biasing component adapted to bias said axle to coil said retractable power cord portion around said axle.

19. An overbed table comprising: a base; a vertical support with a first vertical support end attached to said base; a primary table top attached to said vertical support at a second vertical support end of said vertical support; a power cord terminating at a first power cord end at a male electrical connector and terminating at a second power cord end at a division circuit adapted to provide power connections to a Universal Serial Bus (USB) receptacle.

20. The overbed table of claim 19 further comprising a cantilever support attaching said primary table top to said vertical support.

21. The overbed table of claim 20 wherein said cantilever support defines an aperture in which is mounted said USB receptacle.

22. The overbed table of claim 20 wherein said primary table top defines an aperture in which is mounted said USB receptacle.

23. The overbed table of claim 19 further comprising: a cord retractor attached to said overbed table; said power cord comprising: a retractable power cord portion terminating at a first retractable power cord portion end at said male electrical connector and terminating at a second retractable power cord portion end in said cord retractor; and an internal power cord portion terminating at a first internal power cord portion end at a connection to said retractable power cord portion and terminating at a second internal power cord portion end at said division circuit.

24. An overbed table comprising: a base; a vertical support with a first vertical support end attached to said base; a primary table top attached to said vertical support at a second vertical support end of said vertical support; a data cable terminating at a first data cable end at a male data connector and terminating at a second data cable end at a data receptacle.

25. The overbed table of claim 24 wherein said data receptacle is an RJ45 Ethernet port.

26. The overbed table of claim 24 further comprising: a cord retractor attached to said overbed table; said data cable comprising: a retractable data cable portion terminating at a first retractable data cable portion end at said male data connector and terminating at a second retractable data cable portion end in said cord retractor; and an internal data cable portion terminating at a first internal data cable portion end at a connection to said retractable data cable portion and terminating at a second internal data cable portion end at said data receptacle.

27. An overbed table comprising: a base; a vertical support with a first vertical support end attached to said base; a primary table top attached to said vertical support at a second vertical support end of said vertical support, said primary table top defining an aperture; a video display monitor mounted in said aperture; and a computing device attached to said overbed table, said computing device including: a central processor; a video processor in communication with said central processor, said video processor adapted to provide output to said video display monitor; and an input component in communication with said central processor.

28. The overbed table of claim 27 wherein said primary table top is attached to said vertical support in a manner that allows said primary table top to be tilted away from horizontal.

29. The overbed table of claim 28 further comprising an accelerometer mounted to said primary table top, said accelerometer in communication with said video processor to facilitate automatic orientation, by said video processor, of an image displayed by said video display monitor, said automatic orientation dependent upon a direction of tilt of said primary table top.

30. The overbed table of claim 27 further comprising a secondary table top.

31. The overbed table of claim 27 further comprising a retractable power cord adapted to provide electrical power to said computing device.

32. The overbed table of claim 27 further comprising a rechargeable battery adapted to provide electrical power to said computing device.

33. The overbed table of claim 27 wherein said input component is incorporated into said video display monitor so that said video display monitor is adapted to provide input to said central processor responsive to a touch on said video display monitor.

34. The overbed table of claim 27 further comprising a translucent top surface mounted on a top surface of said primary table top.

35. The overbed table of claim 27 wherein said input component comprises a keyboard.

36. The overbed table of claim 35 further comprising: a shelf positioned under said primary table top, said shelf sized to accommodate said keyboard; a sensor adapted to sense a direction in which said keyboard is extracted from said shelf, said sensor in communication with said video processor to facilitate automatic orientation, by said video processor, of an image displayed by said video display monitor, said automatic orientation dependent upon said direction.

37. The overbed table of claim 27 further comprising a button located on said primary table top, said button in communication with said video processor to facilitate orientation, by said video processor, of an image displayed by said video display monitor, said orientation toggled responsive to receipt of an indication of a press on said button.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/047,977, filed Apr. 25, 2008, the contents of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present application relates generally to healthcare patient room furniture and, more specifically, to an overbed table.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Overbed tables are generally used in hospitals and nursing homes to provide a patient with a surface to utilize while lying in bed or seated in a chair. Overbed tables are often mounted on casters or rollers, which allow the table to be easily moved around. The overbed table typically has an over-hanging table top and a low-profile base. The low profile allows the base to slide under a bed allowing the over-hanging table top to be positioned close to the user. The over-hanging table top can typically be raised and lowered to a height that is comfortable and convenient to the user.

SUMMARY

An overbed table with a primary table top may be expanded through the deployment of a secondary table top. Advantageously, by appropriately arranging the position of the manner by which the secondary table top is mounted to the overbed table, the top surface of the secondary table top can occupy the same plane as the top surface of the primary table top.

In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention there is provided an overbed table. The overbed table includes a base, a vertical support with a first end attached to the base, a primary table top attached to the vertical support at a second end of the vertical support and a secondary table top having a first position in which a top surface of the secondary table top is coplanar with a top surface of the primary table top.

In accordance with a second aspect of the present invention there is provided an overbed table. The overbed table includes a base, a vertical support and a primary table top. The vertical support includes an inner beam with a first end attached to the base and an outer beam with a first end surrounding the inner beam, the outer beam including equipment rails allowing for attachment of equipment. The primary table top is attached to the outer beam at a second end of the outer beam.

In accordance with a third aspect of the present invention there is provided an overbed table. The overbed table includes a base, a vertical support with a first vertical support end attached to the base, a primary table top attached to the vertical support at a second vertical support end of the vertical support, a power cord terminating at a first power cord end at a male electrical connector and terminating at a second power cord end at a power receptacle.

In accordance with a fourth aspect of the present invention there is provided an overbed table. The overbed table includes a base, a vertical support with a first vertical support end attached to the base, a primary table top attached to the vertical support at a second vertical support end of the vertical support, a power cord terminating at a first power cord end at a male electrical connector and terminating at a second power cord end at a division circuit adapted to provide power connections to a Universal Serial Bus (USB) receptacle.

In accordance with a fifth aspect of the present invention there is provided an overbed table. The overbed table includes a base, a vertical support with a first vertical support end attached to the base, a primary table top attached to the vertical support at a second vertical support end of the vertical support, a data cable terminating at a first data cable end at a male data connector and terminating at a second data cable end at a data receptacle.

In accordance with a sixth aspect of the present invention there is provided an overbed table. The overbed table includes a base, a vertical support with a first vertical support end attached to the base, a primary table top attached to the vertical support at a second vertical support end of the vertical support, the primary table top defining an aperture, a video display monitor mounted in the aperture and a computing device attached to the overbed table. The computing device includes a central processor, a video processor in communication with the central processor, the video processor adapted to provide output to the video display monitor and an input component in communication with the central processor.

Other aspects and features of the present invention will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art upon review of the following description of specific embodiments of the invention in conjunction with the accompanying figures.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Reference will now be made to the drawings, which show by way of example, embodiments of the invention, and in which:

FIG. 1 illustrates, in a perspective view, an overbed table with an adjustable vertical support having an outer beam extrusion according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates, in an exploded view, a portion of the overbed table of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 illustrates, in a sectional view, the outer beam extrusion of the overbed table of FIG. 1 with vertical equipment rails according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates, in a perspective view, the outer beam extrusion of the overbed table of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 illustrates the sectional view of the outer beam extrusion of FIG. 3 with a vertical equipment rail adapter disengaged from the vertical equipment rails;

FIG. 6 illustrates the sectional view of the outer beam extrusion of FIG. 3 with the vertical rail adapter engaged to the vertical equipment rails;

FIG. 7 illustrates, in a perspective view, the outer beam extrusion of FIG. 6 with the vertical rail adapter engaged to the vertical equipment rails;

FIG. 8 illustrates, in a perspective view, the overbed table of FIG. 1 with additional horizontal equipment rails installed thereon according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 9 illustrates, in a perspective view, an overbed table with a secondary table top in a lowered position according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 10 illustrates, in a profile view, the overbed table of FIG. 9 with the secondary table top in the lowered position;

FIG. 11 illustrates, in a profile view, the overbed table of FIG. 9 with the secondary table top in a raised position;

FIG. 12 illustrates, in a plan view from beneath the primary table top, the overbed table of FIG. 9 with the secondary table top in the lowered position;

FIG. 13 illustrates, in a plan view from beneath the primary table top, the overbed table of FIG. 9 with the secondary table top in a raised position;

FIG. 14 illustrates, in a profile view, an overbed table with various receptacles provided in a cantilevered support;

FIG. 15 illustrates, in a perspective view, an overbed table with placement of various receptacles distinct from the placement in FIG. 14;

FIG. 16 illustrates, in a perspective view, an overbed table with a primary table top and a secondary table top, where a video display monitor has been embedded into the primary table top according to an embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 17 illustrates, in a perspective view, an overbed table with a primary table top, a secondary table top and an adjustable vertical support, where a computer monitor is embedded in the primary table top and a swing out keyboard attaches to the adjustable vertical support.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Conventional overbed tables with expandable tabletops use sliding surfaces in which one surface will slide out from beneath another. An example of a conventional overbed table with expandable tabletop is the PatientMate® Jr. overbed table marketed by Hill-Rom of Batesville, Ind. This type of overbed table results in two surfaces on different planes. The dual plane tabletop requires lifting when moving objects from one surface to another; such a task could be difficult with a patient with reduced mobility or strength. The sliding design also allows for dirt to collect between the two tabletops, and greased rails required in the design make infection control and cleaning difficult. While the overbed table in U.S. Pat. No. 5,473,997 issued Dec. 12, 1995 to Solomon et al. (hereinafter “Solomon”) uses a single pivotal support, rather than hinges, for the secondary surface, the result is still two table surfaces on different planes, as well as a hidden surface near the pivot point. Unfortunately, the hidden surface is difficult to clean and may allow dirt to collect. When the secondary surface of the design in Solomon is pivoted out from beneath the primary surface and engaged, the result is an awkwardly shaped surface that does not provide full support to such objects as food trays, as shown in FIG. 2 of Solomon, and could easily allow objects to fall off.

Healthcare facilities often use extruded aluminum equipment rails attached to walls to allow for the attachment of accessories such as healthcare equipment, storage baskets and shelving, thereby allowing for superior equipment management. The accessories may be attached to the equipment rails with use of adapters. Accessories can be attached to the equipment rails or removed from the equipment rails, thereby making the equipment rail system fully customizable to meet the requirements of a user.

In an overbed table with a secondary table top that, when engaged, has a top surface in the same plane as a top surface of a primary table top may have many advantages. The primary table top may be supported at one end by a vertical beam and supported along its length toward the other end by a cantilever support. The secondary table top may be attached, by hinges, to an edge of the primary table top closest to the vertical beam. Locking support hinges may be attached beneath the secondary table top and secured to the vertical beam, giving load support when the secondary table top is to be employed.

Both the primary table top and the secondary table top are may be fully exposed to allow for easy cleaning. Consequently, aspects of the overbed table designs disclosed herein may be considered to provide improved protection against infection when compared to previous multiple table top overbed table designs. Because the top surface of the primary table top and the top surface of the secondary table top are co-planar, the patient can slide, rather than lift, objects from the primary table top to the secondary table top to, for example, make room for a food tray on the primary table top. The secondary table top may also be seen to provide a surface that can be reserved for healthcare staff, to be used as a writing surface for charting or to place such objects as medication and clipboards.

Referring to FIG. 1, an overbed table 20 has a wheeled base 19, which has a long base support 21. At each end of the base support 21, there are two castor supports 22 branching outwards. At the end of each castor support 22 there is a castor 23. The exact length of the base support 21 and exact length and angle of the castor supports 22 from the base support 21 can be configured by a designer to optimize stability while retaining a compact footprint.

One end of the long base support 21 supports a bottom end of an upstanding adjustable vertical support 24. The adjustable vertical support 24 includes an inner beam 25, an outer beam 26 and a plurality of Teflon® sliders 30 (FIG. 2) between the inner beam 25 and the outer beam 26. The Teflon® sliders 30 keeps the outer beam 26 from contacting the inner beam 25 when the outer beam 26 is raised or lowered. Additionally, the Teflon® sliders 30 allow for smooth movement of the outer beam 26 relative to the inner beam 25.

The length of the vertical support 24 may be increased through the application of an upwards force. This upwards force does not require a handle to be engaged since, as a safety precaution, hospitals require an overbed table to rise automatically responsive to upwards force caused by contact from a patient bed whose height above floor level is being increased. If a lever was required, then there would be a risk of sandwiching a patient between the overbed table and the bed.

In contrast, the length of the vertical support 24 may be decreased only upon the release of an internal locking mechanism (not shown) in conjunction with application of a downwards force. For the example overbed table of FIG. 1, the internal locking mechanism may be released responsive to an upward force on a release handle 27, which is positioned at a top end of the outer beam 26.

A cantilever support 28 (see FIG. 2) extends out from, and is attached to, the top of the outer beam 26, parallel with the base support 21. A primary table top 29 is fastened to the cantilevered support 28.

The outer beam 26 may be, for example, made from extruded aluminum with a cross-section as shown in FIG. 3. A pair of vertical equipment rails (an exemplary one of which is identified by reference number “32” in FIG. 3) are located on either side of the outer beam 26 and run the full length of the outer beam 26, as shown in FIG. 4. FIG. 5 and FIG. 6 illustrate the cross-section of the outer beam 26, as illustrated in FIG. 3, with the addition of a vertical rail adapter 33. In FIG. 5, the vertical rail adapter 33 is illustrated loosely fit to the vertical equipment rails 32. In FIG. 6, the vertical rail adapter 33 is illustrated locked into place within the vertical equipment rails 32. The vertical rail adapter 33 has a set of locking teeth 31 and a locking screw 34. In FIG. 5, the set of locking teeth 31 are illustrated as having been closed by loosening the locking screw 34 on the vertical rail adapter 33. In the position illustrated in FIG. 5, the locking teeth 31 can move within a gap 35 between the vertical equipment rails 32. FIG. 6 illustrates the locking screw 34 having been tightened, thereby raising the locking teeth 31 inside the equipment rails 32 and securing the vertical rail adapter 33 in place. The locking screw 34 can be loosened to allow the position of the vertical rail adapter 33 to be adjusted vertically along the vertical equipment rails 32, or to allow the vertical rail adapter 33 to be removed completely.

FIG. 7 illustrates, in a perspective view, the outer beam 26 of FIG. 6 with the vertical rail adapter 33 engaged to the vertical equipment rails 32.

FIG. 8 shows an overbed table distinct from the overbed table of FIG. 1 in that an outer beam 37 does not have the extruded vertical equipment rail 32 familiar from the outer beam 26 of the overbed table of FIG. 1, but instead has horizontal equipment rails 38 secured to an exterior of the outer beam 37. The horizontal equipment rails 38 allow for specific horizontal rail adapters 39 (similar to the vertical rail adapter 33) to be attached or removed, thereby allowing the overbed table of FIG. 8 to be customized with equipment and accessories. An example accessory, a basket 36, is illustrated in FIG. 8 ready to be attached to the horizontal rail adapters 39 on one of the horizontal equipment rails 38.

Some existing overbed tables, for example, the Tru-Fit™ overbed table marketed by Stryker Corp. of Kalamazoo, Mich., offer storage compartments and shelving as manufacturer-specific attachments for the specific overbed tables. Such manufacturer-specific attachments attach to respective overbed tables in manners distinct from the manner in which accessories attach to generic hospital wall-based equipment rail systems. Accordingly, manufacturer-specific storage compartments and shelving generally do not allow the user to easily customize the overbed table and, if the storage compartments on the overbed table are removed there is no other use for the storage compartments. Furthermore, not having the compartments easily removable from the overbed table makes it difficult to have the storage compartments clean and sterilized for infection control purposes.

Clearly, the provision of either the vertical equipment rails 32 or the horizontal equipment rails 38 arranged according to a hospital equipment rail standard offers advantages over manufacturer-specific attachment systems.

FIG. 9 illustrates an overbed table 40 as the overbed table of FIG. 1 with a secondary table top 41 located on an exterior of the outer beam 26. A pair of hinges 43 attach the secondary table top 41 to the vertical support 24 end of the primary table top 29. A cut out 42 in the secondary table top 41 allows the user access to the release handle 27. Referring to FIG. 10, an extensible locking support brace 44 is attached to the outer beam 26 and to an under side of the secondary table top 41. As illustrated in FIG. 10, the secondary table top 41 is not engaged and, accordingly, hangs to the side of the overbed table 40. When the secondary table top 41 is lifted so that a top surface of the secondary table top 41 is co-planar with a top surface of the primary table top 29, as shown in FIG. 11, a lock (not shown) in the locking support brace 44 engages to hold the secondary table top 41 in place. The locking support brace 44 helps to transfer forces from loads placed on the secondary table top 41 to the outer beam 26. Lowering the secondary table top 41 involves lifting the secondary table top 41 to a position wherein the top surface of the secondary table top 41 is slightly above the horizontal, thereby disengaging the locking support brace 44 and allowing the secondary table top 41 to be lowered to the side of the overbed table 40 as shown in FIG. 10. A base front 45, at the end of the long base support 21 that is distal from the adjustable vertical support 24 may be weighted accordingly to keep the overbed table 40 stable when the secondary table top 41 has been engaged and has received a load. The two wheels located at the vertical support 24 end of the overbed table can be made to extend outwards beyond the vertical support 24 to give even more stability to the overbed table when weight is applied to the secondary surface.

Illustrated in FIG. 12 and FIG. 13 is another embodiment of the overbed table 40, which involves use of a slide support beam 47 to support the secondary table top 41. When the secondary table top 41 is lifted so that the top surface of the secondary table top 41 is co-planar with the top surface of the primary table top 29, the slide support beam 47 may be manually extended out from a first position, illustrated in FIG. 12, wherein the slide support beam 47 is entirely under the primary table top 29 to a second position, illustrated in FIG. 13, wherein the slide support beam 47 is partially under the primary table top 29 and partially under the secondary table top 41. The slide support beam 47 thereby maintains the secondary table top 41 in a horizontal position and helps to transfer the force of loads placed on the secondary table top 41 to the cantilevered support 28 and/or the primary table top 29. Subsequently, the slide support beam 47 may be retracted to the first position under the primary table top 29, as illustrated in FIG. 12, thereby allowing the secondary table top 41 to be lowered. Optionally, the slide support beam 47 may be provided with a lock (not shown) to maintain the slide support beam 47 in the second position.

While the secondary table top 41 of the overbed table 40 of FIG. 9 is hinged to the primary table top 29, a person of ordinary skill in the art will understand that there are additional manners in which the secondary table top 41 may attach to the overbed table 40. For example, the secondary table top 41 may swivel out from beneath the primary table top 29 to the out side of the vertical support 24.

Furthermore, while the advantages of the top surface of the secondary table top 41 being coplanar with the top surface of the primary table top 29 have been disclosed, the secondary table top 41 may be provided with a vertical adjustment independent of the primary table top 29, thereby allowing the secondary table top 41 to be adjusted to a vertical height above the wheeled base 19 that is distinct from the vertical height of the primary table top 29. For example, a hinge (not shown) may connect the secondary table top 41 to the outer beam 26 of the vertical support beam 26. Furthermore, the outer beam 26 of the vertical support beam may include a plurality of locations at which the hinge may be positioned.

Conventional overbed tables do not provide receptacles of any type. A patient in a bed who wishes to use a laptop computer or another electronic device will often find that the closest wall socket is out of easy reach. Furthermore, the wall sockets often have important equipment already connected (such as monitors, lights and nurse call systems). Healthcare facilities typically do not wish for patients to connect their personal equipment to in-room wall sockets, since such wall sockets are often installed for use in case an emergency arises that requires electrical power.

Currently, most healthcare facilities do not offer much more than a television in a patient room. Computers with access to the internet are being used more frequently as a form of entertainment and as a communication tool. New hospitals are being constructed with wireless data networking in the patient rooms, thereby allowing for patients and family to “stay connected” while the patient recovers.

FIG. 14 illustrates the overbed table 40 of FIG. 9 with a power receptacle 50, a USB receptacle 49 and an Ethernet port 48 built into the cantilevered support 28. An internal power line (not shown) feeds down inside the inner beam 25 of the vertical support 24 to a cord retractor 52 where the internal power line connects to a retractable power cord (not shown).

The cord retractor 52 may include an axle (not shown), to which the retractable power cord is attached, and a biasing component (not shown) adapted to bias the axle to coil the retractable power cord around the axle for storage.

An end of the retractable power cord that is not connected to the internal power line ends in a male electrical connector 53. The retractable power cord can be pulled from within the cord retractor 52 and plugged into a female electrical connector, i.e., an electrical wall socket. The male electrical connector 53 may be unplugged from the wall socket and the retractable power cord retracted back into the cord retractor 52 when power is not needed. As will be known by a person of ordinary skill in the art, electrical plugs and their sockets differ by country in shape, size and type of connectors.

Internal to the cantilevered support 28, a division circuit (not shown) may receive power from the internal power line and provide power to the power receptacle 50 and the USB receptacle 49.

In a fashion similar to the internal power line, an internal data cable may run from the Ethernet port 48 down inside the inner beam 25 of the vertical support 24 to the cord retractor 52. At the cord retractor 52, the internal data cable may connect to a retractable data cable (not shown). The retractable cable may be pulled from the cord retractor 52 and plugged into a wall data receptacle, thereby allowing the Ethernet port 48 to be used for network access.

FIG. 14 shows one possible embodiment for this invention, but there are many different possible locations for the power receptacle 50, the USB receptacle 49 and the Ethernet port 48 including, but not restricted to, under the primary table top 29, above the primary table top 29 and built flush within the surface of the primary table top 29. FIG. 15 illustrates an overbed table 60 with a primary table top 69 into which has been embedded a receptacle prism 84 incorporating a power receptacle, a USB receptacle and an Ethernet port.

A laptop computer system could be used on an overbed table, but such a system would not be protected from liquids or other such debris, would carry a risk of theft, and would take up a large portion of an overbed table surface, even when not in use.

To address some of the drawbacks of using a laptop computer system on an overbed table, it is proposed to incorporate a computing device in an overbed table. FIG. 16 illustrates an example of an overbed table 80 incorporating a computing device. The computing device may include at lease one output component, such as a video display monitor 62 embedded within an aperture defined by a primary table top 51. The surface of the primary table top 51 may comprise glass or another hard, translucent material that allows the user to clearly see the monitor 62. The computing device may also include at lease one input component, such as a keyboard 64 embedded within the primary table top 51. For an alternative or additional input component, the monitor 62 may comprise a touch screen device. For an alternative or additional input component, the primary table top 51 may include touch pad (not shown).

The computing device may receive electrical power via an internal power line (not shown) that feeds through the vertical support to the cord retractor 52 where the internal power line connects to a retractable power cord (not shown). An end of the retractable power cord that is not connected to the internal power line ends in the male electrical connector 53. The retractable power cord can be pulled from within the cord retractor 52 and plugged into a female electrical connector, i.e., an electrical wall socket. The computing device may also include a rechargeable battery to facilitate operation of the computing device when a wall socket is out of reach of the retractable power cord or is otherwise unavailable.

Other typical computing device components are not shown, but may include a processor, a read only memory, a random access memory, a power supply, etc., all of which may be contained within a housing. The housing may be, for example, attached to the underside of the primary table top 51. The housing may be, for example, attached to the vertical support 66. The power supply of the computing device may receive power via an internal power line connected, at the cord retractor 52, to a retractable power cord that may be plugged into a wall socket, as discussed hereinbefore.

To facilitate viewing by the patient, the primary table top 51 may be attached to the vertical support 66 in a manner that allows the patient to tilt the plane of the primary table away from a horizontal orientation.

An embodiment of an overbed table 90 that incorporates a computing device is illustrated in FIG. 17. The overbed table 90 of FIG. 17 includes a primary table top 54 having a built-in monitor 56. The computing device may include a video processor for controlling output to the monitor 56. Since the primary table top 54 does not incorporate a keyboard, a standard keyboard 57 may be provided on an articulated arm 58 attached to a vertical support 86.

In comparison to the overbed table 80 of FIG. 16, the overbed table 90 of FIG. 17, through the lack to specific keyboard location, may be used from either long edge of the primary table top 54. Accordingly, one or more accelerometers may be mounted to the primary table top 54 or built into the monitor 56 so that the orientation of the primary table top 54 may be detected and communicated to the video processor so that the video processor may appropriately adjust the orientation of an image displayed on the monitor 56. Alternatively, the orientation of the display on the monitor 56 may be controlled manually, for example, by the patient pressing a button (not shown).

In a further alternative embodiment, the primary table top 54 may include a shelf (not shown) mounted to its underside, for providing a storage area for the keyboard 57. A switch (not shown) built into the shelf may facilitate detection of a side of the primary table top 54 at which the keyboard 57 is being extracted from the shelf. Responsively, an indication of the side of the primary table top 54 at which the keyboard 57 is being extracted may be communicated to the video processor so that the video processor may appropriately adjust the orientation of an image displayed on the monitor 56.

For both the overbed table 80 of FIG. 16 and the overbed table 90 of FIG. 17, a secondary table top 55 may be fixed on a horizontal plane so that the patient can place a drink, books or other such objects on the secondary table top 55 while using the computing device. Furthermore, the keyboard 57 may be sealed for ease of cleaning and protection from liquids.

In review, conveniently, an overbed table with a vertical equipment rail system integrated along its main support beam allows for accessories, such as storage compartments, intravenous (IV) hooks and cord wraps, to be attached. The result is an overbed table that is customizable to suit the needs of patients and healthcare staff. An accessory with the appropriate adapter may be compatible with, and transferable to, other equipment rail systems within a given healthcare facility.

Furthermore, a patient may use features built-in to the overbed table, such as power receptacles, data ports and Universal Serial Bus (USB) receptacles, to power, charge or network-connect personal productivity or entertainment equipment (laptop computer, digital media player, cell phone, etc.). The power receptacles and USB receptacles may receive power via an internal power cord with a connection to a retractable power cord, which the healthcare staff can safely plug into an appropriate wall socket.

Additionally, a computer may be built-into the overbed tabletop. Such a computer may have a flat screen monitor built-in to the overbed tabletop and a touch screen keyboard similar to those found on tablet computers or cell phones.

The above-described embodiments of the present application are intended to be examples only. Alterations, modifications and variations may be effected to the particular embodiments by those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the application, which is defined by the claims appended hereto.