Title:
Hospital bed side protector
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention provides a means for permitting hospital patients, including agitated hospital patients, to be left without physical restraints other than the general confines of the hospital bed itself. A two-piece fabric enclosure system covers the rails with a protective material capable of protecting the patient from injuring themselves on side rails but because of the unique construction of the enclosure system, the hospital staff is not hampered in the conduct of their normal duties.



Inventors:
Tayoun Jr., James J. (Philadelphia, PA, US)
Application Number:
10/998215
Publication Date:
05/26/2005
Filing Date:
11/26/2004
Assignee:
TAYOUN JAMES J.JR.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C21/08; A47C31/00; A61G7/05; (IPC1-7): A47C31/00; A47C21/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
TRETTEL, MICHAEL
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Donald C. Simpson (Moorestown, NJ, US)
Claims:
1. A flat fabric enclosure system for a hospital bed having side rails and a mattress comprising a first flat fabric component and a second flat fabric component, each of said components comprising, in contiguous sequence, an under-the-mattress rectangular section (43 and 44 respectively), a rectangular inner rail-side-covering section (42 and 45 respectively), a rectangular top rail covering section (41 and 46 respectively), and a rectangular outer rail-side-covering (40 and 47 respectively), each of said sections of said components being longitudinally oriented relative to each other, each of said under-the-mattress rectangular sections, rectangular top rail covering sections, and rectangular outer rail-side-covering sections having a length corresponding generally to the overall length of the side rails of said hospital bed, each of said side rail-covering sections 40, 42, 47, and 45, having a width corresponding generally to the height of the side rails, and each of said rectangular top rail-covering sections corresponding generally to the width of said side rails, said rectangular inner rail-side-covering sections having a length generally corresponding to the overall length of the side rails of said hospital bed plus an extension (42a, 42b, 45a, and 45b) beyond each end of each contiguous section corresponding generally to the width of said side rails, and the combined width of the under-the-mattress rectangular sections equal to at least the overall width of the mattress of said hospital bed, the respective ends of each rectangular inner rail side-covering section and outer rail side-covering section provided with easily separable fastening means for fastening said rail-covering sections to each other when in use, and each under-the-mattress rectangular section having easily separable fastening means affixed to the free longitudinal side thereof for fastening said first and second components to each other under a hospital bed mattress during normal use.

2. A flat fabric enclosure system in accordance with claim 1 wherein said easily separable fastening means is a fastener of the hook-and-loop type.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This patent application is based on Provisional Patent Application No. 60/525,126, filed Nov. 26, 2003, the benefit of which is claimed herein.

FEDERAL SPONSORSHIP

This invention was not made under or pursuant to any federally sponsored research or development program.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A typical hospital bed is illustrated in FIG. 1. The bed comprises a mattress 1, a headboard 2, a footboard 3, and four independently movable side rails 4, 5, 6, and 7. The mattress rests on a bed frame 8. Typically, the bed is provided with a set of controls (not shown) positioned, inter alia, in slot 9, in footboard 3. Other controls may be cable-connected for use by a patient or by hospital staff members choosing to stay along side the patient, rather than use the controls in the footboard. In the typical hospital bed, each of the side rails can be moved upward into a position to prevent the patient from falling out of bed, or moved downward to a position to permit the patient to get out of the bed or to allow hospital staff to change the linens on the bed, et cetera. The side rails are generally provided two on each side so as to permit movement of the bed frame and the mattress into various positions of comfort for the patient without unnecessarily affecting the ability of the side rails to maintain the patient secure from accidental falls.

In an alternate type of hospital bed, the side rails consist of one continuous rail on each side of the bed; and the bed frame and the mattress typically move only upward and downward, and not into the various special modifications to address specific comfort desires of the patient.

A serious problem encountered in hospitals is with patients who are quite restless, particularly during deep sleep, patients recovering from anesthesia, patients suffering from mild dementia, and the like. Such patients may extend a hand or foot, or even a leg or an arm through the opening in the side rails, or through the space between side rails on each side of the bed. Such patients have been known to become wedged into uncomfortable and even dangerous positions, and injuries ranging from bruising to sprains to breakage of bones have occurred.

It would, of course, be possible to increase the number of support members 10 in the rails to the point that the patient could not put a foot, hand or leg through the opening in the side rails, and to use only a single rail on each side of the bed to eliminate the space 11 between side rails. Such methods, however, create their own problems of bed weight, expense, and a loss of ability to position the mattress for the patient's comfort. It is, of course, possible to install a continuous “bumper” around the inside of the bed to protect the patient from the head and foot boards and the side rails; but such bumpers are cumbersome and interfere with the normal functioning of the bed, and with the hospital staff's ability to provide care for the patient.

Hospital staffs dealing with agitated patients on occasion find that restraint and/or seclusion is a necessary procedure. It is the duty of the staff to keep the hospital running smoothly, getting patients up in the morning and to their beds at night, overseeing meals, distributing medications, routing patients to group activities, handling day-to-day activities of the ward, and ensuring the safety of everyone on the ward. Any physical or behavioral interference by patients may necessitate their restraint and seclusion.

It has become recognized, however, that an individual can be traumatized in the process of restraint, and that the minimum of restraints should be the goal of the staff. A good balance must be struck between the need for use of restraints to protect the patient from injury and the avoidance of misuse or overuse of such restraints. Restraints should be used sparingly, and only when no less restrictive means is available. Restraints should never be used for a period of greater than twenty-four (24) hours without the attending physician's reassessment of the patient's condition and need for further restraint. The patient should never be restrained solely for the convenience of the hospital staff, or as a punishment. Such concerns have been addressed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medical and Medicare Services (see 64 F.R. 36070, et seq, for Jul. 2, 1999, and 67 F.R. 61805, et seq, for Oct. 2, 2002).

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

It is the objective of the present invention to provide a means for permitting hospital patients, including agitated hospital patients, to be left without physical restraints other than the general confines of the hospital bed itself. This is performed in a manner that protects the patient from injuring themselves on side rails, but without hampering the hospital staff in the conduct of their normal duties.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the ordinary hospital bed.

FIGS. 2 and 3 are layouts of the hospital bed railing protectors of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the hospital bed illustrating the manner in which the present invention is placed in use.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a hospital bed with the protector of the present invention fully in place.

FIG. 6 is cross-sectional view of the hospital bed of FIG. 5 along line 6-6 further illustrating the manner in which the present invention is placed on a hospital bed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The basic parts of the present invention are best described with respect to FIGS. 2 and 3. In the description which follows, the invention is described as being made out of flat fabric such as standard bed sheeting on up to heavy grade canvas. In the Figures, dashed lines 20 through 25 represent fold lines in single pieces of fabric cut to shape, but which may also represent seams if it is desired to make the product from a series of rectangular pieces of fabric sewn together that are capable of being folded at the seam lines.

Each part of the present invention as shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 consists basically of four sections 40, 41, 42, and 43 for FIG. 2, and 44, 45, 46, and 47 for FIG. 3. Sections 40, 41, 43, 44, 46, and 47 are of a length approximately equal to the total length of the hospital bed side rails on each side. Sections 42 and 45 each have an additional extension at each end, 42a, 42b, 45a, and 45b, and are approximately equal in length to the width of sections 41 and 46, respectively. Sections 40, 42, 45, and 47 have a width approximating the height of the side rails 4, 5, 6, and 7, as shown in FIG. 1. The width of sections 41 and 46 is sufficient to cover the top of the side rails when draped over them.

Each of the parts of the invention shown in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 is provided with a plurality of hook and loop patches (Velcro™), i.e. easily separable fasteners of the hook and loop type. Other easily separable fasteners may be substituted, but the Velcro™ type of hook and loop patches have been found to be particularly useful. FIG. 2 shows the facing side of Velcro™ patches 30, 32, and 34. Section 42 is provided with attachments or straps 31 and 33, at extensions 42a and 42b, respectively, each having a Velcro™ patch on the reverse side, as indicated by the broken lines of the rectangle contained inside of straps 31 and 33, the active portions of which patches are designed to mesh with patches 30 and 32, respectively. Elongated patch 34 is designed to intermesh with its counterpart 35 in FIG. 3.

FIG. 3 shows the facing side of Velcro™ patches 35, 36 and 38. Section 45 is provided with attachments or straps 37 and 39, each having a Velcro™ patch on the reverse side, as indicated by the broken lines of the rectangle contained inside of straps 37 and 39, the active portions of which patches are designed to mesh with patches 36 and 38, respectively. Elongated patch 35 is designed to intermesh with its counterpart 34 in FIG. 2.

As noted above, the elongated Velcro™ patch 34 of FIG. 2 is designed to mesh with the elongated Velcro™ patch 35 of FIG. 3 to bind the two together in an overlapping relationship. When so bound through the Velcro™ patches, the effective combined width of section 43 of FIG. 2, and section 44 of FIG. 3 is approximately equal to the width of the mattress on the hospital bed with which the device of the present invention is to be employed. In the figures, sections 43 and 44 are shown as being of different widths. They could, however, be of the same width, provided that the effective combined width is approximately equal to the width of the mattress for the hospital bed. Similarly, it is within the scope of the present invention to provide two units of the same general shape and dimension as shown in FIG. 2 and to have a third section having Velcro™ strip patch down each of the long sides of that section adapted to mesh with each of the Velcro™ elongated patches 34 so that the effective combined width of the two sections 43 and the third section, just discussed, will be approximately equal to the width of the mattress on the hospital bed.

The method of assembling and using the present invention is illustrated by reference to FIGS. 4, 5, and 6. In FIG. 4, the hospital bed is shown with the sides 6 and 7 down, and mattress 1 removed. The section of the invention shown in FIG. 2 is in place, with main body of section 42, showing section 41 positioned on top of side rails 4 and 5, section 40 (not visible in FIG. 4) hanging over the far side of rails 4 and 5, and the end portions of section 42 wrapped around the ends of the side rails 4 and 5, and fastened into place by the attachment of straps 31 and 33 being attached to Velcro™ patches 30 and 32. Section 43 is folded out at right angles to section 42, with elongated Velcro™ patch 34 facing upward; section 43 is resting on mattress support 8.

As is also shown in FIG. 4, the part of the invention shown in FIG. 3 is being placed in the bed with section 44 being placed on top of mattress support 8, in overlapping relationship with section 43 of the part shown in FIG. 2, such that Velcro™ patches 34 and 35 mesh, and hold sections 43 and 44 together as a functionally unitary piece. Section 45 (not readily visible in FIG. 4) is temporarily folded under in FIG. 4, while sections 46 and 47 are placed in the bed. Sides 6 and 7 may then be raised, and section 47 is draped over the raised side rails such that section 46 will rest on top of raised sides 6 and 7.

In FIGS. 5 and 6 the finished installation of the device of the present invention is shown with mattress 1 returned to its normal position. As can be seen in FIG. 5, with the sides 6 and 7 raised, and sections 45, 46, and 47 in place, the Velcro™ tabs 37 can be affixed to Velcro™ patches 36, and Velcro™ tabs 39 can be affixed to Velcro™ patches 38 to hold the assembled device of the present invention in place for the protection of patients contained therein. All spaces between the bars of sides 4 and 5 and 7 and 8 are covered and no longer accessible to a patient's hands or feet when the patient is occupying the bed. At the same time, however, hospital staff can readily remove the device of the present invention for replacement and/or laundering, and install a new one. The only thing that is necessary is that the mattress 1 be removed or simply rotated in place about one side or the other as the parts of the present invention are put in place. As can be seen in FIG. 6, it is only necessary to rotate mattress 1 about its right side in order to put the portion of the device containing sections 40, 41, 42, and 43 in place, and then rotate the mattress back the other way in order to place the portion of the invention containing sections 44, 45, 46, and 47 in place, as shown in FIG. 6, section 44 overlapping section 43, with a Velcro™ separable attachment by the combining of the Velcro™ patches 34 and 35. Removal follows the opposite of the installation just described.

In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, in order to ensure adequate protection of the patient, any one or more of sections 40, 41, 42, 45, and 47, may be provided with a pocket running generally the length of the section, adapted to receive a “pillow” of foam rubber or other padding. Such padding is shown more specifically in FIG. 6. The padding in sections 42 and 45 provides protection for a patient against injury from impact with the side rails of the hospital bed. The padding in sections 40 and 47 provides protection for staff members from bruising or injury from impact with the hospital bed rails when the staff is attending to the needs of the patient contained within the side rails. The pockets in sections 41 and 46 provide protection to both staff and patients. These “pillows” are contained in the pockets for the purpose of being able to remove them during laundering of the hospital bed railing protectors of the present invention, as well as ready replacement of the padding of the “pillows” in the event of deterioration with usage. While, from a patient standpoint, it is quite important to have the padding in sections 42 and 45, and to a lesser extent in sections 41 and 46, maximum protection of both staff and patients is obtained when all of sections 40, 41, 42, 45, 46, and 47 are provided with the pockets and the appropriate “pillows.”

The device of the present invention has the additional advantage that it precludes the patient not only from placing hands and/or feet through the openings in the side rails of the bed, but it also prevents them from wedging their hands or feet in the spaces that would normally be found between the mattress/bed frame and the rails of the bed, a common occurrence with agitated patients.