Title:
Portable shower device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A portable shower device having a water tight cabinet with a built-in seat to accommodate a bather, an inflow means to direct water from a water source onto the bather, and a waste handling means to direct waste water out of the cabinet for disposal. The device is light weight and small enough such that a single person can maneuver it through standard residential doorways and into such areas for convenient use by persons with limited mobility.



Inventors:
Ingraham, Kermit (Canaan, ME, US)
Application Number:
11/280420
Publication Date:
05/17/2007
Filing Date:
11/16/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/36
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20080104748Sink having shallow basinMay, 2008Lin
20080060124Debris collection accessory for swimming pool coversMarch, 2008Blackman et al.
20090145340Portable and adjustable multipurpose toilet training deviceJune, 2009Parvizian
20060090254Vacuum formed auto cover boxMay, 2006Epple et al.
20090065353Ionic foot bath array with ionic circulationMarch, 2009Haase et al.
20080276362Mechanically sealable rapid opening stagger-flush residential toiletNovember, 2008O'malley et al.
20020144337Toilet having odor removing and automatic seat lifting capacityOctober, 2002Go
20060137086Portable toilet unit with advertisingJune, 2006Paar
20080222785Waterless ToiletSeptember, 2008Irizarry-lugo
20090084063SECTIONAL SWIMMING POOLApril, 2009Chang
20070067903Shower enclosure and baseMarch, 2007Hatrick-smith



Primary Examiner:
FOX, JOHN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ANTHONY D. PELLEGRINI RUDMAN WINCHELL (BANGOR, ME, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A portable shower device comprising a cabinet, said cabinet comprising a floor, said floor being oriented substantially horizontally and having a lowest point, a side wall structure, said side wall structure being adjacent to the floor and oriented substantially vertically, an interior portion defined by the floor and side wall structure, an exterior surface, a seat, said seat located within the interior portion of the cabinet and suitably adapted to support the weight of a person, and an access means, said access means integrated with the side wall structure and suitably adapted to allow a person to enter into the interior portion of the cabinet, whereby the cabinet is substantially water-tight such that fluids directed into the interior portion of the cabinet are substantially contained therein, the cabinet is suitably dimensioned to fit through a standard residential doorway, the cabinet is light enough to be moved by one person, and the cabinet is suitably adapted to permit a person to be at least partially contained within the interior portion of the cabinet; a fluid inflow means suitably adapted to convey fluid from a fluid source into the interior portion of the cabinet; and a waste fluid handling means suitably adapted to convey fluid out of the interior portion of the cabinet; whereby the device is moveable and the fluid inflow means is removably connectable to a fluid source.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein the cabinet further comprises a liner, said liner being substantially water-tight and situated within the interior portion of the cabinet.

3. The device of claim 2 wherein the liner is a monolithic unit constructed of one of the following group of materials: plastic, fiberglass, rigid foam, epoxy, and gel-coat.

4. The device of claim 2 wherein the cabinet further comprises a frame, said frame suitably adapted to support and reinforce the liner.

5. The device of claim 2 wherein the seat is integrated into the liner.

6. The device of claim 2 wherein the cabinet further comprises an exterior shell, said exterior shell attached to and substantially enclosing the liner.

7. The device of claim 6 wherein the cabinet further comprises a frame, said frame located under the liner and internal to the exterior shell, said frame suitably adapted to support and reinforce the liner.

8. The device of claim 1 wherein the floor comprises a non-skid surface.

9. The device of claim 1 wherein the cabinet further comprises at least one grab rail located within the interior portion of the cabinet, said at least one grab rail suitably adapted to be gripped by a person to assist said person in moving within the interior portion of the cabinet.

10. The device of claim 1 wherein the access means of the cabinet comprises an aperture in the side wall structure, and a shower curtain, said shower curtain suitably adapted to be removably placed across the aperture.

11. The device of claim 1 wherein the access means of the cabinet comprises an aperture in the side wall structure, and a hinged door, said door attached to the side wall structure and suitably adapted to be positionable between an open position and a closed position, whereby when in the open position the door uncovers the aperture sufficiently to allow a person to pass through the aperture and enter into the interior portion of the cabinet, and when in the closed position the door substantially covers the aperture.

12. The device of claim 1 wherein the cabinet further comprises at least two wheels located on the underside of the cabinet, and at least one locking device suitably adapted to prevent movement of at least one said wheel.

13. The device of claim 1 wherein the cabinet further comprises at least two casters located on the underside of the cabinet, and at least one locking device suitably adapted to prevent movement of at least one said caster.

14. The device of claim 1 wherein the fluid inflow means comprises an inflow conduit means having a first end and a second end; a connection means, connected to the first end of the inflow conduit means and suitably adapted to removably connect the inflow conduit means to a fluid source; and a fluid delivery means, connected to the second end of the inflow conduit means and suitably adapted to deliver fluid into the interior portion of the cabinet.

15. The device of claim 14 wherein the inflow conduit means is a flexible hose.

16. The device of claim 14 wherein the inflow conduit means comprises a first flexible hose, having a first end and a second end, and a second flexible hose, having a first end and a second end; and the connection means comprises a first connection device, connected to the first end of the first flexible hose and suitably adapted to removably connect the first flexible hose to a hot water source, and a second connection device, connected to the first end of the second flexible hose and suitably adapted to removably connect the second flexible hose to a cold water source; and the fluid delivery means comprises a mixing device, with the second end of the first flexible hose connected to the mixing device and the second end of the second flexible hose connected to the mixing device, said mixing device suitably adapted to combine hot and cold water into a desired temperature, and a delivery hose, said delivery hose having a first end and a second end, with the first end of the delivery hose connected to the mixing device and the second end of the delivery hose suitably adapted to deliver water having a desired temperature into the interior portion of the cabinet.

17. The device of claim 16 wherein the first connection device of the fluid delivery means is a quick connect coupling suitably adapted to be removably attached to a standard sink faucet; and the second connection device of the fluid delivery means is a quick connect coupling suitably adapted to be removably attached to a standard sink faucet.

18. The device of claim 16 wherein the mixing device of the fluid delivery means is a mixing valve.

19. The device of claim 16 wherein the fluid delivery means is integrated with the cabinet; and the mixing device of the fluid delivery means comprises a control means suitably adapted to control the amount of hot and cold water being combined in the mixing device in order to achieve a desired temperature and volume of the water.

20. The device of claim 14 wherein the connection means comprises a quick connect coupling suitably adapted to be removably attached to a standard sink faucet; and the inflow conduit means comprises a flexible hose, having a first end and a second end, with the first end of the flexible hose connected to the quick connect coupling and the second end of the flexible hose connected to the fluid delivery means.

21. The device of claim 14 wherein the fluid delivery means comprises a shower head, wherein the shower head is suitably adapted to be held by a human hand and positionable to direct fluid as desired.

22. The device of claim 21 wherein the cabinet further comprises a mounting bracket fixedly attached to the side wall structure of the cabinet and suitably adapted to retain the shower head.

23. The device of claim 21 wherein the shower head comprises an on/off controller suitably adapted to be operated by a human hand and suitably adapted to either permit the flow of fluid through the shower head or to prevent the flow of fluid through the shower head.

24. The device of claim 14 wherein the fluid delivery means is integrated with the cabinet; and the fluid delivery means comprises a delivery hose, said delivery hose connected to the inflow conduit means and suitably adapted to deliver fluid from the inflow conduit means into the interior of the cabinet, said delivery hose having a first end and a second end, with the first end of the delivery hose connected to the inflow conduit means.

25. The device of claim 24 wherein the fluid inflow means further comprises a pressure reducing device such that the pressure of the fluid delivered to the delivery hose by the inflow conduit means may be reduced prior to the fluid being delivered through the delivery hose.

26. The device of claim 24 wherein the cabinet further comprises an on/off controller suitably adapted to be operated by a human hand and suitably adapted to either permit the flow of fluid through the delivery hose or to prevent the flow of fluid through the delivery hose.

27. The device of claim 1 wherein the waste fluid handling means comprises a drain integrated into the lowest point of the floor of the cabinet; and a conduit means connected to the drain, suitably adapted to carry fluids from the interior portion of the cabinet out the drain.

28. The device of claim 27 wherein the conduit means is a flexible hose.

29. The device of claim 27 wherein the waste fluid handling means further comprises a pump, said pump being in direct connection with the conduit means and suitably adapted to move fluids out of the conduit means in opposition to the forces of gravity.

30. The device of claim 29 wherein the pump is electrically powered, said pump having a power supply suitably adapted to be used with a standard electrical outlet, said power supply suitably adapted to convert alternating current from the standard electrical outlet to direct current having between 12 and 24 volts.

31. The device of claim 1 wherein the waste fluid handling means comprises a drain integrated into the lowest point of the floor of the cabinet; and a holding tank suitably adapted to contain fluid, said holding tank located within the cabinet and at least partially beneath the drain; and a conduit means connected to the drain and to the holding tank, suitably adapted to carry fluids from the interior portion of the cabinet through the drain to the holding tank.

32. The device of claim 31 wherein the conduit means is a flexible hose.

33. The device of claim 31 wherein the conduit means is detachably connected to the holding tank; and the holding tank is removable from the cabinet.

34. The device of claim 31 wherein the waste fluid handling means further comprises an outflow conduit, said outflow conduit connected to the holding tank and suitably adapted to carry fluids from the holding tank to the exterior of the cabinet.

35. The device of claim 34 wherein the outflow conduit is a flexible hose.

36. The device of claim 34 wherein the waste fluid handling means further comprises a pump, said pump being suitably adapted to move fluids out of the holding tank and through the outflow conduit in opposition to the forces of gravity.

37. The device of claim 36 wherein the pump is located within the holding tank.

38. The device of claim 36 wherein the pump is electrically powered, said pump having a power supply suitably adapted to be used with a standard electrical outlet, said power supply suitably adapted to convert alternating current from the standard electrical outlet to direct current having between 12 and 24 volts.

39. The device of claim 36 wherein operation of the pump is controlled by a float switch situated within the holding tank.

40. A portable shower device comprising a cabinet, said cabinet comprising a floor, said floor being oriented substantially horizontally and having a lowest point, said floor comprising a non-skid surface, a side wall structure, said side wall structure being adjacent to the floor and oriented substantially vertically, an interior portion defined by the floor and side wall structure, a liner, said liner being substantially water-tight and situated within the interior portion of the cabinet, an exterior shell, said exterior shell attached to and substantially enclosing the liner, a frame, said frame located under the liner and internal to the exterior shell, said frame suitably adapted to support and reinforce the liner, a seat, with said seat integrated into the liner and suitably adapted to support the weight of a person, said seat comprising a non-skid surface, an access means, said access means integrated with the side wall structure and suitably adapted to allow a person to enter into the interior portion of the cabinet, at least two of the group of wheels, casters, and skids located on the underside of the cabinet, whereby the cabinet is suitably dimensioned to fit through a standard residential doorway, the cabinet is light enough to be moved by one person, the cabinet is suitably adapted to permit a person to be at least partially contained within the interior portion of the cabinet, and the cabinet is substantially water-tight such that fluids directed into the interior portion of the cabinet are substantially contained therein; a fluid inflow means suitably adapted to convey fluid from a fluid source into the interior portion of the cabinet, said fluid inflow means comprising an inflow conduit means comprising a flexible hose and having a first end and a second end, a connection means comprising a quick connect coupling connected to the first end of the inflow conduit means and suitably adapted to removably connect the inflow conduit means to a standard sink faucet, a fluid delivery means, connected to the second end of the inflow conduit means and suitably adapted to deliver fluid into the interior portion of the cabinet, said fluid delivery means comprising a delivery hose, said delivery hose connected to the inflow conduit means and suitably adapted to deliver fluid from the inflow conduit means into the interior of the cabinet, said delivery hose having a first end and a second end, with the first end of the delivery hose connected to the inflow conduit means, a pressure reducing device such that the pressure of the fluid delivered to the delivery hose by the inflow conduit means may be reduced prior to the fluid being delivered through the delivery hose, an on/off controller integrated with the fluid delivery means and suitably adapted to be operated by a human hand and suitably adapted to either permit the flow of fluid through the delivery hose or to prevent the flow of fluid through the delivery hose, a shower head, wherein the shower head is suitably adapted to be held by a human hand and positionable to direct fluid as desired, said shower head connected to the second end of the delivery hose, said shower head having an on/off controller suitably adapted to be operated by a human hand and suitably adapted to either permit the flow of fluid through the shower head or to prevent the flow of fluid through the shower head, and a mounting bracket fixedly attached to the side wall structure of the cabinet and suitably adapted to retain the shower head; and a waste fluid handling means suitably adapted to convey fluid out of the interior portion of the cabinet, said waste fluid handling means comprising a drain integrated into the lowest point of the floor of the cabinet, a holding tank suitably adapted to contain fluid, said holding tank located within the cabinet and at least partially beneath the drain, with said holding tank being vented, a conduit means connected to the drain and to the holding tank, suitably adapted to carry fluids from the interior portion of the cabinet through the drain to the holding tank, said conduit means being a flexible hose, an outflow conduit, said outflow conduit connected to the holding tank and suitably adapted to carry fluids from the holding tank to the exterior of the cabinet, said outflow conduit being a flexible hose, and an electric pump, said electric pump being suitably adapted to move fluids out of the holding tank and through the outflow conduit in opposition to the forces of gravity, with operation of said electric pump controlled by a float switch situated within the holding tank.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Technical Field

The invention relates generally to the field of healthcare devices to be used by home-based persons with limited mobility. More specifically, the invention is directed to an improved portable shower device that is light weight and small enough such that a single person can maneuver it through standard residential doorways and into such areas of the home for convenient use by persons with limited mobility.

2. Description of Prior Art

Portable shower devices are known in the art. Some examples emphasize the portability aspects of the devices, disclosing easily disassembled devices which can be transported in carrying cases. See, e.g., Patterson, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,975,992 (Dec. 11, 1990), “Portable Shower Stall”, which discloses a portable shower stall having a ceiling and a base, designed to be carried in a suitcase. It features a means for connecting the device to a sink faucet and a sump pump for removing waste water. The device must be assembled for use and disassembled for portability. See also Roberts, U.S. Pat. No. 5,544,369 (Aug. 13, 1996), “Portable Shower/Multi Use Stall”, which discloses a shower stall which is disassembled for storage and reassembled for use. It features an optional holding tank for containing waste water. See also The SHS-2 Shower Stall™ by Shower Anywhere of Temecula, Calif., which discloses a shower stall which may be disassembled for portability. None of these devices have wheels or other means for assisting with movement. Moreover, they all lack the utility of the present invention, which comes fully assembled and due to its rigid construction is suitable for use by mobility impaired persons.

Other known devices are sturdier and intended to assist those with mobility impairments. See, e.g., Reid, U.S. Pat. No. 6,374,434 (Apr. 23, 2002), “Therapeutic Shower”, which discloses a horizontally oriented compartment into which a wheeled chair is rolled. The bathing function occurs within the compartment by built-in water jets. Unlike the present invention, Reid is not intended to be used to bathe the head or upper torso, and the seat is not affixed to the compartment, thereby increasing the risk of injury to the bather. See also Queen, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,978,983 (Nov. 9, 1999), “Portable Showering Cabinet”, discloses a portable showering device directed towards use by the mobility impaired. While it shares several features with the present invention, for example a built-in seat and casters for repositioning the device, it is a far more complicated device involving hydraulic lifting means for the seat and multiple shower heads. These overly complicated devices cannot be manufactured as inexpensively as the present invention and therefore cannot provide the universality of use as does the present invention.

Yet other devices achieve partial portability without providing all the benefits of the present invention. See, e.g., Storm, U.S. Pat. No. 6,516,477 (Feb. 11, 2003), “Shower Apparatus for Seated Occupant”, discloses a device intended to be used in conjunction with a standard toilet. As such, it lacks the complete portability of the present invention, which can be used in locations not having a toilet, such as a bedroom.

Thus none of the disclosed prior art anticipates the present invention.

It is an objective of the present invention to provide a useful, improved portable shower device that is suitably adapted to be used to administer a shower to a person with limited mobility.

It is an objective of the present invention to provide a useful, improved portable shower device that is light weight and can be easily moved by one person to a convenient location.

It is a further objective of the present invention to provide a useful, improved portable shower device that can be moved through standard residential doorways.

It is a further objective of the present invention to provide a useful, improved portable shower device that can be safely used by the person receiving the shower or by a second person administering the shower.

It is a further objective of the present invention to provide a useful, improved portable shower device that can be quickly connected to a standard sink faucet for use, and then easily disconnected when no longer being used so that the faucet may be used for other purposes.

It is a further objective of the present invention to provide a useful, improved portable shower device that can be used in locations having no access to waste water disposal facilities.

It is a further objective of the present invention to provide a useful, improved portable shower device that does not require assembly by the user.

It is a further objective of the present invention to provide a useful, improved portable shower device that is easy and inexpensive to manufacture.

Other objectives of the present invention will be readily apparent from the description that follows.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a portable shower device created for people who are unable to use conventional bathing facilities due to restricted mobility. This would include people who are unable to navigate stairs to get to their bath/shower, or those who are unable to use conventional facilities for other reasons. The usual alternative for these folks is sponge bathing. The present invention can easily be moved to a convenient location due to its light weight and then stored out of the way when not in use. The bather may be assisted by a home health care provider to enter and exit the unit and who may also assist in bathing.

The preferred embodiment of the present invention comprises a water tight cabinet with a built-in seat. It can easily be brought into a home through the front door and has wheels or casters and handles that make it easy to deliver and move about. Water is provided through an inflow hose attached to a sink faucet with a quick connect coupling. Water is directed into the cabinet and onto the bather through a delivery hose having a hand held shower head. Waste water is removed through a drain in the floor by an electric pump, which empties the waste water through an outflow hose back into the sink drain. The cabinet has interior grab rails for safety and a shower curtain to accommodate entrance and exit.

As will be readily evident from the following detailed description and the accompanying claims, the present invention may have other uses beyond providing a means for addressing the hygiene of persons with limited mobility. For example, the present invention may be used as a temporary camp shower or wherever a permanent facility is not available or desired.

Other features and advantages of the invention are described below

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the cabinet and fluid inflow means of the present invention. Elements internal to the cabinet are depicted by the use of dotted lines.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the cabinet of the present invention using a liner and an exterior shell.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the cabinet of the present invention using a frame. The location of the liner relative to the frame is depicted by the use of dotted lines.

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the access means of the cabinet of the present invention.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the fluid inflow means of the present invention using multiple water sources. A portion of the cabinet side wall structure of the present invention is depicted cut away to show elements contained therein.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the cabinet, the fluid inflow means, and the waste fluid handling means of the present invention. Elements internal to the cabinet are depicted by the use of dotted lines.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The portable shower device 1 of the present invention comprises three principle components: a cabinet 100, a fluid inflow means 200, and a waste fluid handling means 300. See FIG. 6.

The cabinet 100 must be suitably adapted to permit a person to be at least partially contained within its interior 122, for purposes of receiving a shower. The cabinet 100 must be substantially water-tight, such that fluids directed into the interior portion 122 of the cabinet 100 during the provision of a shower are substantially contained by the cabinet 100, except as such fluids are removed from the cabinet 100 by the waste fluid handling means 300. Some escape of fluids from the cabinet 100 is expected during showering, however, given that the cabinet 100 is not enclosed over its top and thus some splashing of fluids against the person receiving the shower may occur, but this escape of fluids would be minimal. To achieve the primary goals of the invention, the cabinet 100 must be suitably dimensioned to fit through a standard residential doorway, and be light enough to be moved by one person. As such, in the preferred embodiment the cabinet 100 has a width of no greater than thirty-six (36) inches, a height of between thirty (30) and fifty-four (54) inches, and weighs no more than one hundred (100) pounds. In the most preferred embodiment the cabinet 100 has a width of thirty (30) inches, a height of forty-eight (48) inches, and weighs between fifty (50) and seventy-five (75) pounds.

The fluid inflow means 200 must be suitably adapted to convey fluid 410 from a fluid source 420 into the interior 122 of the cabinet 100, thus providing the fluid 410 necessary for a shower. The fluid inflow means 200 is removably connectable to the fluid source 420. The preferred embodiment contemplates the fluid source 420 to be a standard sink, and the fluid inflow means 200 is connected to the faucet 450 of the sink by any non-permanent means known in the art. Operation of the sink causes water to flow through the fluid inflow means 200 to be conveyed into the cabinet 100. When the portable shower device 1 is not being used, the fluid inflow means 200 is disconnected from the water source, which can then be used for other purposes.

The waste fluid handling means 300 must be suitably adapted to convey fluid 410 out of the interior 122 of the cabinet 100. Waste fluids may be conveyed into an intermediate holding tank 320 or completely out of the portable shower device 1. It is anticipated that the waste fluid handling means 300 may discharge waste fluids into a standard home toilet, or a bathtub, or a sink, though it may discharge waste fluids into a floor drain or into a portable receptacle, such as a bucket. The flow of waste fluids through the waste fluid handling means 300 may be directed by gravity or may be assisted by a pumping device 340.

The cabinet 100 must comprise the following subcomponents: a floor 110, a side wall structure 120, an exterior surface 130, a seat 140, and an access means 150. See FIG. 1. The floor 110 is oriented substantially horizontally and has a lowest point, such that fluids directed onto the floor 110 will drain towards the lowest point. The floor 110 must be suitably adapted to support the weight of a person entering the cabinet 100. In the preferred embodiment the floor 110 is substantially rigid and has a non-skid surface.

The side wall structure 120 of the cabinet 100 is adjacent to the floor 110 and oriented substantially vertically. In the preferred embodiment the floor 110 and side wall structure 120 are integrated with each other, thereby forming an open-ended enclosure, with the interior 122 of the cabinet 100 defined by the floor 110 and side wall structure 120. The side wall structure 120 must be substantially rigid and may have any suitable configuration, but in the preferred embodiment the side wall structure 120 comprises four side walls, each side wall being substantially planar and each side wall being substantially perpendicular to its adjacent side walls, thereby forming a rectangular enclosure. In other embodiments the side wall structure 120 may have a curved shape, thereby creating a cylindrical or ovoid or elliptical enclosure, or may have a combination of curved and planar surfaces.

In an alternative embodiment, the side wall structure 120 of the cabinet 100 comprises an extension means to vertically extend the height of at least a portion of the side wall structure 120. The extension means may be adjustable. One embodiment of the extension means comprises one or more shower curtains and a shower curtain support structure attached to the side wall structure 120. The extension means are useful to add privacy to a person capable of administering a shower to him- or herself, while it can be lowered or removed where a caregiver is needed to administer the shower.

The exterior surface 130 of the cabinet 100 may be of any suitable material, including thermoformed plastic, acrylic, fiberglass, rigid foam, epoxy, gel-coat, or wood. The exterior surface 130 should be scuff and dent resistant. In the preferred embodiment the cabinet 100 comprises at least one grab bar 184 located on the exterior surface 130, suitably adapted to be gripped by a person to assist that person in moving the cabinet 100. In the most preferred embodiment the cabinet 100 comprises several grab bars 184 located about the exterior surface 130. In another embodiment the cabinet 100 further comprises at least one storage compartment located on the exterior surface 130 of the cabinet 100. This storage compartment may contain items of use to the showering process, such as soap, shampoo, wash cloths, and the like, or may contain various components of the fluid inflow means 200 when the portable shower device 1 is not being used. In yet another embodiment multiple storage compartments may be located on the exterior surface 130 of the cabinet 100.

The cabinet 100 must have an access means 150 suitably adapted to allow a person to enter into the interior 122 of the cabinet 100. The access means 150 is integrated with the side wall structure 120 of the cabinet 100, and comprises at least an aperture 152 and a means for covering and uncovering the aperture 152. The aperture 152 may be of any suitable shape, but in the preferred embodiment is substantially rectangular. In one embodiment the access means 150 utilizes a hinged door to cover and uncover the aperture 152. The door is attached to the side wall structure 120 and suitably adapted to be positionable between an open position and a closed position, whereby when in the open position the door uncovers the aperture 152 sufficiently to allow a person to pass through the aperture 152 and enter into the interior 122 of the cabinet 100, and when in the closed position the door substantially covers the aperture 152 and prevents the escape of fluids from the interior 122 of the cabinet 100 through the aperture 152. In another embodiment the access means 150 utilizes a drop-in panel to cover and uncover the aperture 152. The panel is removably attachable to the side wall structure 120 by inserting it into or removing it from grooves integrated into the lateral sides of the aperture 152. In the preferred embodiment the access means 150 utilizes a shower curtain 154 to cover and uncover the aperture 152. See FIG. 4. The shower curtain 154 may be supported across the aperture 152 by a fixed curtain rod, with the rod removably attached to the side wall structure 120, or the shower curtain 154 may be suspended from a flexible support cord removably attached to the side wall structure 120. In either embodiment, either the curtain rod or the support cord may be non-removably attached to the side wall structure 120 at one end and removably attached at the other end, such that the shower curtain 154 may swing away from the aperture 152 to uncover it and permit a person to enter the interior 122 of the cabinet 100.

The cabinet 100 must comprise a seat 140, located within the interior 122 of the cabinet 100. See FIGS. 1 and 2. The seat 140 must be suitably adapted to support the weight of a person. In the preferred embodiment the seat 140 is fixedly attached to the cabinet 100 to prevent its movement therein, thus providing stability and safety to the person sitting within the cabinet 100. The seat 140 may be integrated with the side wall structure 120 and the floor 110. The seat 140 may also comprise a non-skid surface.

In the preferred embodiment, the cabinet 100 comprises a liner 160. See FIG. 2. The liner 160 must be substantially water-tight and is situated within the interior 122 of the cabinet 100. The liner 160 defines the floor 10 and side wall structure 120 of the cabinet 100. The seat 140 may be integrated into the liner 160. The cabinet 100 may have at least one storage compartment integrated into the liner 160, used for holding items of use to the showering process, such as soap, shampoo, wash cloths, and the like.

In one embodiment, the liner 160 is a monolithic unit constructed of thermoformed plastic, acrylic, fiberglass, rigid foam, epoxy, or gel-coat. In the preferred embodiment the liner 160 is constructed of thermoformed acrylic. This embodiment allows for ease of manufacture and water-tight construction. When so configured, the liner 160 may be sufficiently rigid to comprise the entire structure of the cabinet 100. In an alternative embodiment, the liner 160 may be supported and reinforced by a frame 170. See FIG. 3. The frame 170 may be made of any light weight, rigid material. In the preferred embodiment the frame 170 is aluminum. In another embodiment the cabinet 100 may comprise an exterior shell 180. See FIG. 2. The exterior shell 180 is attached to and substantially encloses the liner 160, thereby finishing off the liner 160 and providing structural support to the cabinet 100. Where a frame 170 is used to support and reinforce the liner 160, the frame 170 is located under the liner 160 and internal to the exterior shell 180. Where an exterior shell 180 is used, the exterior surface 130 of the cabinet 100 is the exterior of the exterior shell 180. In another embodiment, the liner 160 may be a multi-piece unit. Each of the pieces of the liner 160 are joined together and sealed so as to render the liner 160 substantially water tight.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the cabinet 100 comprises at least one grab rail 182 located within the interior 122 of the cabinet 100. See FIG. 1. The grab rail 182 is suitably adapted to be gripped by a person to assist that person in moving within the interior 122 of the cabinet 100. The grab rail 182 may be made of any suitably durable material, such as stainless steel, brass, or plastic. In the preferred embodiment several grab rails 182 are located within the interior 122 of the cabinet 100.

In order to facilitate the goal of portability, the cabinet 100 comprises a movement means. The movement means is located on the underside of the cabinet 100 and suitably adapted to ease movement of the portable shower device 1 over floors or the ground. The movement means may be wheels 190, see FIG. 1, casters 192, see FIG. 6, or skids. When the movement means comprises wheels 190, it is preferred that at least two wheels 190, situated along a common axis, be utilized. In the most preferred embodiment four wheels 190 are utilized, one substantially under each corner of the cabinet 100. There should be at least one locking device 196 associated with at least one wheel 190, suitably adapted to prevent movement of that wheel 190. See FIG. 1. Preferably multiple wheels 190 will have locking devices 196. When the locking devices 196 are engaged the portable shower device 1 cannot be easily moved, thereby increasing stability and safety for the user. When the locking devices 196 are disengaged the portable shower device 1 can be easily moved to a new location. Locking devices 196 may also be used with casters 192. Skids are preferred when the portable shower device 1 is intended to be used primarily on carpeting.

The fluid inflow means 200 may comprise the following subcomponents: an inflow conduit means 210, a connection means 220, and a fluid delivery means 230. See FIG. 6. The inflow conduit means 210 is suitably adapted to convey fluids from a water source to the portable shower device 1. The connection means 220 is suitably adapted to removably connect the inflow conduit means 210 to the water source. The fluid delivery means 230 is suitably adapted to deliver fluid 410 into the interior 122 of the cabinet 100.

In the preferred embodiment the inflow conduit means 210 is a single flexible hose 212. The flexible hose 212 may be removably connected to a standard sink faucet 450, whereby the temperature and volume of water to be used for showering is controlled by using the faucet controls. See FIG. 1.

In an alternative embodiment the inflow conduit means 210 comprises a first flexible hose 214 and a second flexible hose 216. See FIG. 5. In this embodiment, the first flexible hose 214 is suitably adapted to be removably connected to a hot water source by a first connection device 224, and the second flexible hose 216 is suitably adapted to be removably connected to a cold water source by a second connection device 226. See FIG. 5. In addition, the fluid delivery means 230 may comprise a mixing device 232, with the first flexible hose 214 and the second flexible hose 216 connected to the mixing device 232. See FIG. 5. The mixing device 232 is suitably adapted to combine hot and cold water into a desired temperature. The mixing device 232 may include a separate control means 234 suitably adapted to control the amount of hot and cold water being combined within it, in order to achieve a desired temperature and volume of the water. See FIG. 5. The mixing device 232 may be a mixing valve. A delivery hose 236 is connected to the mixing device 232 and is suitably adapted to deliver water having a desired temperature into the interior 122 of the cabinet 100. This configuration may be used, for example, with a typical two-spigot washing machine hookup.

In the preferred embodiment, the connection means 220 for removably connecting the fluid inflow means 200 to a water source comprises a quick connect coupling 222 suitably adapted to be removably attached to a standard sink faucet 450. Such quick connect couplings 222 are well-known in the art and are typically utilized with portable dishwashing machines. Two quick connect couplings 222 may be used, one for each flexible hose 214,216, when the dual water source configuration described above is employed.

The fluid delivery means 230 of the fluid inflow means 200 may comprise a delivery hose 236. The delivery hose 236 is connected to the inflow conduit means 210 and is suitably adapted to deliver fluid 410 from the inflow conduit means 210 into the interior 122 of the cabinet 100. The delivery hose 236 may be connected to the inflow conduit means 210 by a coupler located within the side wall structure 120 of the cabinet 100. In this embodiment the inflow conduit means 210 attaches to the coupler from the exterior of the cabinet 100, and the delivery hose 236 attaches to the coupler from the interior 122 of the cabinet 100. In another embodiment the delivery hose 236 attaches to the coupler within an exterior storage compartment of the cabinet 100, where it may be stored when not in use. This configuration minimizes the overall length of the free moving portion of the fluid delivery means 230, limiting it to the delivery hose 236. That is, in this configuration the inflow conduit means 210 is fixed to the cabinet 100 and thus need not be manipulated by the user while administering a shower, thereby making use of the portable shower device 1 more convenient. In one embodiment, the fluid inflow means 200 may comprise a pressure reducing device. The pressure reducing device is suitably adapted to reduce the pressure of the fluid delivered to the delivery hose 236 by the inflow conduit means 210. This is to prevent excess water pressure from a water source from causing discomfort or even harm to the person receiving the shower. The pressure reducing device may be located in-line the coupler. An on/off controller 234 suitably adapted to be operated by a human hand and suitably adapted to either permit the flow of fluid 410 through the delivery hose 236 or to prevent the flow of fluid 410 through the delivery hose 236 may be integrated into the cabinet 100 side wall structure 120.

The fluid delivery means 230 of the fluid inflow means 200 may also comprise a shower head 240 attached to the end of a delivery hose 236. See FIGS. 1 and 6. The shower head 240 is suitably adapted to be held by a human hand and positionable to direct fluid 410 as desired. In one embodiment, a mounting bracket 242 is-fixedly attached to the side wall structure 120 of the cabinet 100 and is suitably adapted to retain the shower head 240. See FIG. 6. In another embodiment the shower head 240 comprises an on/off controller 244 suitably adapted to be operated by a human hand and suitably adapted to either permit the flow of fluid 410 through the shower head 240 or to prevent the flow of fluid 410 through the shower head 240. See FIG. 6. In yet another embodiment the shower head 240 is suitably adapted to discharge fluid 410 in a variety of conditions, including as a spray, a stream, or a pulse. Any or all of these embodiments of the shower head 240 may be combined in the present invention.

The waste fluid handling means 300 may comprise the following subcomponents: a drain 310 and a conduit means 330 connected to the drain 310. See FIG. 6. The drain 310 is integrated into the lowest point of the floor 110 of the cabinet 100. The conduit means 330 is connected to the drain 310, and is suitably adapted to carry fluids from the interior 122 of the cabinet 100 and out the drain 310. In one embodiment the conduit means 330 is a flexible hose.

In the preferred embodiment the waste fluid handling means 300 comprises a pump 340. See FIG. 6. The pump 340 is in direct connection with the conduit means 330 and suitably adapted to move fluids out of the conduit means 330 in opposition to the forces of gravity. The pump 340 may be electrically powered. If the pump 340 is run from electricity from a standard wall outlet, it must have a power supply 342 suitably adapted to convert alternating current from the standard wall outlet to direct current having between 12 and 24 volts. A fuse and a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) will also be used. This combination of components is required to eliminate the risk of electrocution and ensure the safety of users of the portable shower device 1. In the alternative, the pump 340 may be powered by direct current by means of a battery. This embodiment may also include a battery charger within the cabinet.

In another embodiment, the waste fluid handling means 300 may comprise the following subcomponents: a drain 310, a holding tank 320, and a conduit means 330 connecting the drain 310 to the holding tank 320. See FIG. 6. The drain 310 is integrated into the lowest point of the floor 110 of the cabinet 100. The holding tank 320 is at least partially located beneath the drain 310 and is suitably adapted to contain fluid. The conduit means 330 is suitably adapted to carry fluids from the interior portion 122 of the cabinet 100 out the drain 310 to the holding tank 320. In this embodiment the conduit means 330 may be a flexible hose. In this embodiment the holding tank 320 may be vented 322. In another embodiment the conduit means 330 may be detachably connected to the holding tank 320, allowing the holding tank 320 to be removable from the cabinet 100. These embodiments permit the temporary collection of waste fluids when the portable shower device 1 is used where no outside drain source is present, such as in a bedroom. The waste fluids are then disposed of after the showering is completed.

In another embodiment there is an outflow conduit 350 connected to the holding tank 320. See FIG. 6. The outflow conduit 350 is suitably adapted to carry fluids from the holding tank 320 to the exterior of the cabinet 100. The outflow conduit 350 may be a flexible hose. In this configuration a pump 340 is employed, suitably adapted to move fluids out of the holding tank 320 and through the outflow conduit 350 in opposition to the forces of gravity. The pump 340 may be electrically powered, as described above. The pump 340 may also be located within the holding tank 320. Operation of the pump 340 may be controlled by a float switch 344 situated within the holding tank 320. This configuration improves upon the tankless embodiment in that the pump 340 need not be operational the entire time a shower is being administered, but only when a sufficient amount of waste fluid collects in the holding tank 320. In yet another embodiment the pump 340 may further comprise a manual override switch to control operation of the pump 340 independently of the float switch 344.

Modifications and variations can be made to the disclosed embodiments of the invention without departing from the subject or spirit of the invention.