Title:
Bedding having no foot-end corners
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Improved bedding, more particularly institutional and hotel top and/or bottom sheets and blankets having a specially contoured foot section that provides for faster changing, ease of tucking under a mattress, and less pressure on the feet of the occupant (sleeper) or bed-ridden patient. The best mode embodiment comprises a bedding sheet or blanket having the foot-end, or/and the head end corners cut away, and those edged secured with binding tape, selvage edge sewing or the like to prevent raveling or tearing at the juncture of the cuts. For a top sheet or blanket, only the foot corners are cut away, and for a bottom sheet both the foot and head ends are cut away. The resulting bedding can be tucked without extra, folded-over bedding in the corner tuck.



Inventors:
Ratigan, Christine M. (Sequim, WA, US)
Application Number:
10/953777
Publication Date:
04/07/2005
Filing Date:
09/29/2004
Assignee:
RATIGAN CHRISTINE M.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47G9/02; (IPC1-7): A47G9/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
SANTOS, ROBERT G
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JACQUES M. DULIN, ESQ. DBA (SEQUIM, WA, US)
Claims:
1. Improved bedding comprising in operative combination: a) a sheet of material selected from a sheet or blanket, generally rectangular shape and having a foot end and a head end, and having four marginal edges; b) said foot ends have generally square relieved portions removed therefrom to provide an end flap that can be tucked under a mattress, and two, opposed side flaps that can be tucked under a mattress or let hang free over the sides of the mattress and box springs or bed side rails when installed; and c) said end flap is dimensioned to extend substantially the full width of the mattress; and d) said relieved portion edges are secured to prevent unraveling and to prevent tearing of the bedding sheet material at the juncture of orthogonal cuts forming the square portions so that upon making up the bed, no corner tuck need be formed at the foot end and making the bed is faster and the bedding does not cause foot discomfort to the sleeper.

2. Improved bedding as in claim 1 wherein said sheet material is selected from bed sheet fabric and blanket material.

3. Improved bedding as in claim 2 wherein said head end also has generally square relieved portions with secured edges.

4. Improved bedding as in claim 3 wherein said sheet material is bed sheet fabric.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This is the Regular U.S. Application of Provisional Application 60/507,989 filed on Oct 1, 2003 under the same title by the same inventor, the benefit and priority of which application is claimed under 35 US Code §§119, 120 et seq.

FIELD

The invention relates to bedding, and more particularly to institutional and hotel top and/or bottom sheets and blankets having a specially contoured foot section that provides for faster changing, ease of tucking under a mattress, and less pressure on the feet of the occupant (sleeper) or bed-ridden patient.

BACKGROUND

Conventional bedding (sheets and blankets) have long been tucked under and around mattresses to confine the feet of the occupant(s) of the bed while keeping them snug and warm. However, changing bedding is a chore, at best, as it typically requires securing the bedding by tucking it underneath the end of a raised mattress, making the corner pleats, tucking in the sides, and finally lowering the mattress back into place.

To change a typical sheet or blanket, a person must be able to bend over, lift the corner of a mattress, tuck in the foot, and simultaneously fold and tuck the corner of the bedding under the mattress. Thereafter, the person must lower the mattress onto the folded corner to secure the bedding. The sides may then be tucked under the mattress, all or partially toward the pillow end.

Significant strength and agility is required to hold up a mattress with one hand (arm and/or knee) while using the other hand (or hands) to fold and tuck in corners of the bedding, then lowering the mattress back in place. This lifting/folding/tucking maneuver is even more difficult when the mattress is surrounded by a deep bed frame or is the upper bunk of a bunk bed. Changing sheets is viewed as a difficult, time-consuming, and back-wrenching chore. In institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes, hotels and motels, there are a significant number of employee injuries related to this work, leading to employer costs for lost time and workers compensation claims.

Another difficulty with changing bedding is orienting the bedding properly over the mattress to determine which end goes to the foot of the mattress, as opposed to the head of the mattress, and how far each side of the bedding should fall laterally and longitudinally across the mattress edges so that the sheets or blankets are even on each side. Uneven blankets or sheets result in migration to one side during sleep which results in loss of sleep.

Changing conventional bedding is particularly onerous for the elderly or anyone who cannot easily stand and use both arms simultaneously to lift a mattress, and fold and tuck in bedding at each mattress corner. In addition, any public or private facility that provides beds, including hotels, hospitals, hospices, assisted living and elder care facilities, has a need for bedding that is quick and easy to change, and which may be changed with the least amount of impact on an employee's back and arms. Bedding that can be changed with less effort and more quickly would be cost-saving to these industries.

Finally, the tucked foot corners of the top sheet and blanket results in pressure on patients or the elderly. A number of solutions have been proposed, including complex folding of sheets to provide foot space (U.S. Pat. No. 4,021,869) or flapped pouches (U.S. Pat. No. 6,286,163). Both of these still require foot folds and the sheets must be extra long to provide coverage to the pillow end of the bed.

Other sheet configurations are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,765,241, 5,628,077, 5,615,425, 5,515,799, 5,491,853, 5,042,098 and 4,937,904.

Accordingly, there is a need in the field for an improved design for sheets and blankets that allows for easy orientation of the bedding over a mattress as well as faster, less strenuous and easy fitting and tucking around mattress corners, as well as providing foot pressure relief.

THE INVENTION

The invention comprises bedding covers (sheets or blankets) with opposed, relieved corners (or notches) where material would otherwise be pleated, folded and tucked under the mattress corners. For a bottom sheet, there are four relieved corners or notches. For top sheets and blankets, there are two at the foot end of the sheet. The cut edges of the notches are secured, e.g., with selvedge edge sewing or glued or sewn tapes to prevent unraveling of the cut fabric and to prevent ripping of the sheet material at the juncture of the cuts forming the relieved corners.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is described in detail by reference to the following drawings:

FIG. 1 is a ¾ isometric view of the inventive bedding top (flat) sheet exhibiting opposed relieved foot-end corners, leaving a foot-end tuck panel for folding under the mattress;

FIG. 2 is a ¾ isometric view of the inventive top sheet of FIG. 1 after being oriented over a mattress and tucked under the mattress sides;

FIGS. 3a and 3b are schematic views of alternate embodiments of the inventive bedding;

FIG. 4 shows the plan view of a bottom sheet having the four corners relieved; and,

FIG. 5 shows a method of reinforcing the apex of the relieved corner to prevent tearing in use.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION, INCLUDING THE BEST MODE

The following detailed description illustrates the invention by way of example, not by way of limitation of the scope, equivalents or principles of the invention. This description will clearly enable one skilled in the art to make and use the invention, and describes several embodiments, adaptations, variations, alternatives and uses of the invention, including what is presently believed to be the best modes of carrying out the invention.

In this regard, the invention is illustrated in the figures, and is of sufficient complexity that the many parts, interrelationships, and sub-combinations thereof simply cannot be fully illustrated in a single patent-type drawing. For clarity and conciseness, several of the drawings show in schematic, or omit, parts that are not essential in that drawing to a description of a particular feature, aspect or principle of the invention being disclosed. Thus, the best mode embodiment of one feature may be shown in one drawing, and the best mode of another feature will be called out in another drawing.

All publications, patents and applications cited in this specification are herein incorporated by reference as if each individual publication, patent or application had been expressly stated to be incorporated by reference.

The Figures are numbered and annotated so that one skilled in the art of bedding design, use and construction, by reference to the attached parts list will easily be able to understand the materials and method of construction to achieve the functionality shown.

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the inventive bedding comprises a sheet 2 with opposed relieved or removed corners 4, 4′ at the foot-end of the bedding 14. The relieved corners 4, 4′ are cut at a right angle where the bedding material would otherwise be formed into the pleat and then tucked around and underneath a mattress. The longitudinal length of each corner edge 6, 6′ is approximately 2 times the thickness of a conventional mattress (shown as 18 in FIG. 2). The lateral length of each corner edge 8, 8′ is typically less than the longitudinal lengths 6, 6′, but the resulting side panels 42, 42′ are sufficient to wrap around the height of the mattress (shown as 18 in FIG. 2). In one embodiment the sides 42, 42′ are left to drape loose (FIG. 2), and in a second embodiment of FIG. 3a, the side panels are extended in lateral width 22, 22′ to tuck under the mattress. The drape embodiment is ordinarily used for patients or elderly as this reduces foot pressure by virtue of there being no box corner at the foot. Rather, as seen in FIG. 2, the side and foot panels are not joined, leaving gap 30.

The relieved corners 4, 4′ are right-angled, but may be curved, serrated, or any other suitable shape. Between the relieved corners 4, 4′ remains a foot-end tuck panel 32.

The bedding may comprise a top or bottom sheet, a blanket, a mattress cover, a mattress pad, or any bed covering that is fitted or tucked around a mattress. As best seen in FIG. 3b, portions or all of the longitudinal (6, 6′) and lateral (8, 8′) edges of the relieved corners 4, 4′ may be reinforced for strength and to prevent ripping at the inside corner, as shown by edging tape 26 stitched to the sheet 2 by stitches 28.

FIG. 2 shows a schematic view of the inventive bedding 2 with the foot tuck panel 32 tucked around and under a conventional mattress 10. The side panels 42, 42′ drape free. The bedding 2 is oriented on the mattress 10 such that the margins 6, 6′ of the relieved corners 4, 4′ are flush with the side corner of the mattress 20. The foot-end tuck panel 32 is wrapped down, around the foot end of the mattress 20 and tucked underneath the mattress 10. The sides of the bedding 42, 42′ optionally may be tucked under the mattress 10. Properly placed, the edges 6, 8 and 6′, 8′ of the relieved corners are adjacent each other forming opposed slits 30. The slits 30 provide pressure relief for the feet of the occupant, particularly where the side panels 42, 42′ drape free. No pleating, gathering, folding or tucking of the bedding 2 is required at the mattress corners.

In addition, by orienting the lateral ends 8, 8′ of the bedding 2 flush with the terminal edge (foot end) of the mattress 20, the head-end of the bedding 16 will automatically align to the preferred position (shown in FIG. 2) with respect to the pillow 12. Conversely, the relieved corners 4, 4′ permit easy and accurate centering of the bedding 2 on the mattress 10. The notches 4, 4′ are aligned with the corners of the mattress 10. This allows for automatic alignment of the bedding 2 over the mattress 10.

Tucking the inventive bedding 2 around the mattress 10 is significantly easier because there is less material to insert underneath the mattress 10 corners. The inventive bedding 2 foot tuck panel 32 may be simply pushed underneath the mattress 10 for proper fit without having to lift the mattress, where the base of the mattress 10 is accessible, whether the mattress 10 is elevated on box springs or resting on the upper tier of a bunk bed (not shown).

FIG. 3 demonstrates alternate embodiments of the inventive bedding. FIG. 3a shows bedding 2 with relieved foot-end corners 4, 4′ having side panels 42, 42′ enlarged by extensions 22, 22′ for tucking under the side of the mattress.

FIG. 3b shows an embodiment comprising one member of a hook and loop type strip (such as Velcro® brand hook and loop fastener) along the base of the foot tuck panel 32 for attachment to a corresponding, cooperatively aligned strip adjacent the foot of the mattress (not shown). This attachment system prevents the foot from being pulled free. The attachment means could be Velcro, plastic hooks, or any other suitable attachment system.

FIG. 4 is a plan view of a bedding sheet 2 having four relieved corners 4a, b, c, d, to be used as a bottom sheet. The length 6c and 6d may be longer than 6a, 6b to insure the head-end tuck panel 36 does not become released during the usual night-time position changes of the sleeper.

FIG. 5 shows an alternate embodiment in which a conventional rectangular sheet or blanket 2 has the removed corner formed by cutting diagonally 38, then folding back panels A and B which are sewed 28 as shown. This provides reinforcement so the apex 40 of the relieved corner 4 does not tear in use or laundering. The tape 26 in FIG. 3b has the same function.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

It is clear that the inventive bedding without relieved corners of this application has wide applicability to the hotel, hospital, hospice, assisted living and elder care industries, namely by providing an easier and quicker method for changing bedding, and lessening the pressure on the feet of the occupant (sleeper). The inventive bedding design not only allows for quick, accurate orientation of the bedding over a mattress, but also makes for significantly easier, less strenuous and quicker tucking underneath the mattress, given that the corners of the bedding do not have to be folded and tucked under the mattress. In addition, the inventive bedding is simple to design and manufacture, and existing bedding can easily be modified to the inventive design, if desired.

Thus the inventive bedding with relieved corners has the clear potential of becoming adopted as the new standard for bedding design, including the method of production of such inventive bedding design, and the method for application to a mattress.

It should be understood that various modifications within the scope of this invention can be made by one of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the spirit thereof and without undue experimentation. For example, the relieved corners of the bedding could be of various shapes (e.g., curved, serrated) and the edging of the corners could be reinforced and/or elasticized to provide the functionalities disclosed herein. This invention is therefore to be defined as broadly as the prior art will permit, and in view of the specification if need be, including a full range of current and future equivalents thereof.

Parts List: This list is provided to assist examination and may be cancelled upon case allowance.

Parts List: This list is provided to assist examination
and may be cancelled upon case allowance.
 2Bedding (sheet or blanket)
 4Relieved (removed corner or notch
 4′Relieved corner (opposed)
 6longitudinal length of relieved corner
 6′longitudinal length of relieved corner
(opposed)
 8lateral length of relieved corner
 8′lateral length of relieved corner (opposed)
10mattress
12pillow
14foot end of bedding
16head end of bedding
18height of conventional mattress
20terminal edge of conventional mattress
22, 22′side panel extension
24Velcro strip
26taper
28stitching
30slit formed when tuck panel and sides are
tucked underneath mattress
32tuck panel
34full width of foot tuck panel
36head end of tuck panel
38diagonal cut
40apex of relieved corner 4
42, 42′side panels