Title:
Bathing assistance device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention of the application relates to a bathing assistance device which is for use externally of but in contact with a bath. The device includes a portion on which the assisting person can kneel and the device typically extends to and over the rim of the bath so as to allow a person's arms to be supported thereon at the rim of the bath. The device is formed of sheet material such as neoprene and is easily storable by moving the portion which can be kneeled upon between an in-use position in which the same lies on the floor and a storage position in which the same lies substantially parallel with and flush to the side wall of the bath. In one embodiment, the portion which can be kneeled upon can be selectively removed from the remainder of the device so as to allow the same to be stored separately and/or positioned appropriately for kneeling upon.



Inventors:
Scorgie, Iain (London, GB)
Application Number:
11/582678
Publication Date:
05/03/2007
Filing Date:
10/18/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, TUAN N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GABLEGOTWALS (TULSA, OK, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for use in conjunction with a bath having side walls and an upper rim, said device comprising: sheet material; and first attachment means for attaching the sheet material to the bath rim and/or side walls of the bath; wherein said sheet material includes a portion for the reception of part of a user's legs thereon when in use, said portion being movable between a storage position in which said portion lies substantially parallel with a side wall of the bath and an in-use position in which said portion is positioned on a floor surface adjacent the bath.

2. A device according to claim 1 wherein said portion is movable about a hinge line between the storage and in-use positions.

3. A device according to claim 1 wherein said portion of sheet material is padded.

4. A device according to claim 3 wherein expanded foam is used to pad said portion of sheet material.

5. A device according to claim 1 wherein said portion of sheet material, when the device is in the in-use position, is provided for kneeling on by a user assisting in the bathing of a person in the bath.

6. A device according to claim 1, further comprising second attachment means for attaching said portion in the storage position.

7. A device according to claim 1 wherein the sheet material extends to and over the rim of the bath to allow the user to place his elbows or forearms onto the sheet material at the bath rim.

8. A device according to claim 6 wherein the sheet material is formed of two or more plys at the location where the sheet material fits over the rim.

9. A device according to claim 1, further comprising adjustment means for adjusting the length of the device.

10. A device according to claim 8 wherein the adjustment means is adjusted by the user based on the distance between the rim of the bath and the floor.

11. A device according to claim 1 wherein the device includes a series of pockets or retention means for retaining items therein.

12. A device according to claim 1 wherein the sheet material used is neoprene.

13. A device according to claim 1 wherein said portion is detachable from the device so as to be selectively positionable for use on the floor.

14. A device for use by a person assisting the bathing of an occupant of a bath having side walls and an upper rim, said device comprising: a sheet of neoprene material having: a first portion positionable on a floor surface adjacent the bath for kneeling on by the person assisting; and a second portion at or adjacent the rim of the bath for supporting said person's arms thereon.

15. A device according to claim 14 wherein the first portion on which the person can kneel is selectively movable between an in-use position in which the first portion is positioned on the floor and a storage position in which the first portion is substantially perpendicular to the in-use position.

16. A method according to claim 15 wherein the sheet further includes a third position in which the sheet is detached from the bath and folded up for storage.

17. A device according to claim 14 wherein the first portion on which the person can kneel is selectively detachable from the remainder of the device.

18. A device according to claim 14 wherein the device is attachable to the bath side wall and/or rim via a plurality of suction devices mounted on the device.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to Great Britain Patent Application No. GB0521122.2, filed Oct. 18, 2005, and entitled “Bathing Assistance Device”.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention to which this application relates is a device which can be used by a person assisting the bathing of a person, typically a child, in a bath.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Conventionally, when assisting in the bathing of a child, a person assisting is required to kneel down on the floor adjacent the bath to bring themselves to the level of the person in the bath and then place their forearms and/or elbows on the rim of the bath to be able to place their hands in the bath water and/or bathe the child.

It is found in practice that the weight on the assisting person's knees and/or arms on the relatively hard surfaces of the bath rim and/or floor is such as to cause discomfort, pain and possibly even longer lasting injury. When one appreciates that the bathing assistance may need to be repeated every, or most, evenings it will be appreciated how this can quickly become a chore to the assisting person. Furthermore the pain and/or frustration of said person can be expressed or detected by the person bathing such as a child, leading to other problems.

There are known devices which attempt to address the issue. A first device includes a plastics material base of rigid material which provides a surface raised above the floor on which the person can kneel and, depending upwardly from the base when in-use is sheet material with a hook portion which is padded and which fits over the rim of the bath. However in practice it is found that the base of is uncomfortable to use and the length of the sheet material provided means that the device can only be used with regard to a small range of relatively low bath rim heights. Furthermore, the provision of the relatively rigid base means that the same is bulky, which is a problem especially when one considers that bathrooms are typically one of the smallest rooms in the house.

A further known product is formed of sheet material which is designed to be rolled up when not in use and rolled out to form a portion which locates over the bath rim. However this product is provided of sheet material in a net-like configuration which means that water can be trapped in the apertures and makes the same difficult to dry. Furthermore the need to roll the same up for storage purposes means that the depth of any padding which is provided is restricted to ensure that the same can still be rolled up for storage purposes.

The aim of the present invention is therefore to provide a device which can be used to provide comfort to a person providing bathing assistance and also to provide the device in a form which allows the same to be efficiently stored and therefore makes the advantageous repeated use of the same more likely.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In a first aspect of the invention there is provided a device for use in conjunction with a bath, said device including sheet material, attachment means to allow at least a portion of the sheet material to be attached to the bath rim and/or side walls of the bath, said sheet material including a portion for the reception of part of a person's legs thereon when in use and wherein said portion can be moved between a storage position lying substantially parallel with a side wall of the bath and an in-use position on a floor surface adjacent the bath.

In one embodiment the said portion is moved by folding the same about a hinge line and thereby allowing the device to be moved to an unobtrusive storage position without having to wholly remove the device from the bath.

Typically, in the in-use position the said portion of sheet material is provided for kneeling on by the person assisting in the bathing of a person in the bath.

In one embodiment the said portion includes one or more pieces of padding material to provide a padding effect. Alternatively the sheet material may be provided in one or more layers to provide a padding effect.

In a preferred embodiment the sheet material extends to and over the rim of the bath thereby allowing the user to place his elbows or forearms on the sheet material rather than directly on to the bath rim.

In one embodiment the sheet material is formed of two or more plies at the location where it fits over the bath rim so as to provide a padding effect, or may include padding material.

Typically the device includes adjustment means, preferably in the part of the sheet material which lies between the kneeling and arm contact portions, to provide the ability to alter the length of the same to allow the device to be adaptable to be used for differing heights of the bath rim from the floor and hence allow the device to be range taking.

In one embodiment there is provided one or a series of pockets or retention means on the device to allow bathing or other items to be stored for use as required such as, for example, mobile telephones, sponges, and toys.

In one embodiment the sheet material used is neoprene and the padding material used is an expanded foam.

In one embodiment the portion on which the person kneels can be selectively removed from the remainder of the device and selectively positioned in the floor to be knelt on.

In a further aspect of the invention there is provided a device for use by a person assisting in the bathing of another in a bath; said device formed from sheet material to define a first portion positionable on the floor surface adjacent the bath for kneeling on by the person assisting and a further, spaced portion at or adjacent to the rim of the bath for the location of the said person's arms thereon and wherein the sheet material used is neoprene.

In one embodiment the portion on which a person can kneel is selectively movable from the in-use position to a storage position in which the portion lies perpendicular to the in-use position.

In one embodiment the device can be moved to a further position detached from the bath and the device can be folded up.

In one embodiment the portion of the device on which the person kneels can be selectively detached from the device. This allows, in one embodiment, the portion to be stored separately and/or the said portion to be positioned on the floor at the most appropriate and comfortable location for kneeling on by the person when assisting in bathing.

Typically the device is attached to the bath via attachment means in the form of suction cups which engage with the side walls and/or rim of the bath.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Specific embodiments of the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIGS. 1, 2 and 5 illustrate views of the device in one embodiment in accordance with the invention, in an in-use position;

FIG. 3 illustrates the device in a storage position on the bath; and

FIG. 4 illustrates the device moved to a further storage position for longer term storage.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT(S)

Referring firstly to FIGS. 1, 2 and 5 there is illustrated a device 2 in accordance with the invention. The device 2 is shown in an in-use position in relation to a bath the rim and side of part of which are shown. The device is for use by a person at the side of the bath who is assisting the bathing of a person sitting in water in the bath (not shown). Typically the person bathing could be a child or may be an adult who is infirm or unable to bathe themselves. Normally, when kneeling in position at the side of the bath, the person assisting can become uncomfortable and in pain relatively quickly.

In accordance with the invention, the person does not kneel directly on the floor but instead kneels on the device 2. The device is formed from a sheet material, typically neoprene, 4, which defines a series of portions. A first portion 6 lies flat on the floor surface 8, when in use, as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2. In this case, the portion 6 is divided into two parts 10, 12, each of which includes a padding material 14 therein typically formed from an expanded foam. However, it should be appreciated that the portion 6 need not be split into two parts and can instead be one uniform part. The width of the portion is typically such that a person can comfortably place both their knees side by side on the same and receive the benefit of the padding on which the knees are placed. The sheet material depends upwardly from said portion 6, as shown, in parallel with the substantially vertical side 18 of the bath and leads to a further portion 14 which lies on top of the bath rim 16 and can protrude into the inner surface of the side wall 20 of the bath. This portion can include further padded material or alternatively may include double, triple or a greater number of layers of the sheet material so as to provide a padding effect. This portion is provided to allow the forearms and/or elbows of the person assisting the bathing, to be placed thereon rather than directly on the rim 16 of the bath and therefore once more, greater comfort is provided to the person.

The part 22 of the device which extends between the said portions, 6, 14 can be of a length so as to allow the top portion 14 to reach all or most conventionally manufactured bath rim heights and therefore in some uses, the part 22 may have extra material or alternatively, gathering means can be provided to allow the extra material to be gathered up although this is not shown in this embodiment.

The device is typically attached at one or more locations to the bath so as to provide a secure fitting and the provision of suction means 24 in the form of cups is effective when attached to the device for selective attachment of the device to the side wall and/or rim of the bath as shown.

Also provided on the part 22 which lies between said portions, 6, 14 are one or a series of holders 28 for various bathing tools and/or other articles such as, for example, a mobile phone. The provision of the mobile phone in the vicinity of the person assisting the bathing, allows the person to answer the mobile phone without leaving the location of the bath. This therefore represents an important safety improvement as it is know that a number of deaths in baths are caused by the person assisting with the bathing leaving the room to go and answer a phone or perform another action and, when they have left, the fatality or injury can occur with the person in the bath drowning or otherwise hurting themselves.

Referring once more to FIG. 3, there is illustrated one embodiment where the portion 6 can be secured to the remainder of the device via a detachable join typically provided at the hinge line 29, which in this case is achieved by a hook and loop fastener along the length thereof. This arrangement allows the user to selectively detach the portion 6 from the remainder of the device. In one arrangement the user can detach the portion 6 and place it on the floor 8 at a position to be knelt upon at the most convenient and comfortable position, one example of which is for the user indicated by broken lines 6′. It also allows the portion to be stored, dried or washed separately from the remainder of the device, if required.

A problem which is experienced with the conventional devices is the problem of storage of the same when not in use and this is especially prevalent in bathrooms where space tends to be generally limited.

In accordance with the invention, the device can be moved to two different storage positions depending on the predicted frequency of use of the same.

FIG. 3 illustrates a first storage arrangement which would be used where it is envisaged that the device 2 will be used frequently. In this storage position, the portion 6 is moved from the position flat on the floor to a position substantially parallel with the part 22 of the device by removing the same about hinge portion 29. In this way, the portion 6 no longer depends across the floor of the bathroom or restricts floor space and, furthermore, provides a neat storage position. Retention means 26 in the form, in this case, hook and loop fastenings, are typically provided to allow the portion 6 to be held in the storage position.

FIG. 4 illustrates a further storage position and this position can be used when the device is to be stored for a longer period of time. In this case, the device is folded up into a relatively flat pack condition and the splitting of the portion 6 into two parts allows the same to be folded over onto each other and then the remainder of the device, as it is formed of sheet material, can then simply be folded onto itself to form the pack as shown.

Although the sheet material which is used for the manufacture of the device need not be so limited, it has been determined that the use of neoprene material is a particular advantage. Neoprene is a synthetic rubber polymer also known as polychloroprene. Firstly, neoprene is sufficiently flexible to allow the device to be moved to storage and in-use positions, it can be used in wet environments and therefore is relatively quick drying and resistant to damage from water and further, and it has a degree of inherent padding which assists in the benefits obtained from use of device.





 
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