Title:
Universal bed bath envelope system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bed bath system having a mattress with a bed surface and mattress wall periphery about the bed surface; a support member having an inner wall sized and configured to contact and encircle the mattress wall periphery; a fluid impermeable sheet having a first side disposable on the mattress and an opposing second side, the sheet disposable in the support member to form an envelope on the second side, the envelope having a floor coplanar with the bed surface, a lateral wall coplanar with the support member inner wall, and a bath space interior to the lateral wall and the floor; an infusion reservoir with a dispensing port to dispense a bathing fluid; a nozzle in fluid communication with the dispensing port operative to emit bathing fluid into the envelope; and a drainage port positioned to drain waste fluid from the envelope.



Inventors:
Cordero, William R. (Diamond Bar, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/894575
Publication Date:
02/28/2008
Filing Date:
08/21/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C27/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BOECKMANN, JASON J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WILLIAM R. CORDERO (DIAMOND BAR, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bed bath system for use by a bather with a bed, the bed having a mattress defining a generally planar bed surface and a mattress wall periphery about the bed surface, the system comprising: a support member having a support member inner wall, the support member inner wall being sized and configured to be in contact with and encircled substantially about the mattress wall periphery; a substantially fluid impermeable sheet defining a longitudinal axis and a lateral axis disposed perpendicular to the longitudinal axis, the sheet having a first side being disposable on the mattress and a second side opposite the first side, the sheet being disposable in the support member to form an envelope on the second side with the envelope having a floor generally coplanar with the bed surface, a lateral wall being generally coplanar with the support member inner wall, and a bath space interior to the lateral wall and the floor; an infusion reservoir holding a bathing fluid, the infusion reservoir having a dispensing port sized and configured for dispensing the bathing fluid; a nozzle in fluid communication with the dispensing port having a distal end operative to emit the bathing fluid into the envelope, and a drainage port disposed through the sheet and positioned at the floor with the sheet disposed in the support member to form the envelope, the drainage port being operative to drain waste fluid from the envelope.

2. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the sheet is substantially rectangular.

3. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the sheet is constructed from polyethylene plastic.

4. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the sheet is constructed from rubber.

5. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the support member inner wall is in contact with the entire mattress wall periphery.

6. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the support member inner wall is encircled about the entire mattress wall periphery.

7. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the support member is a belt.

8. The system as claimed in claim 7, wherein the support member is constructed from corrugated cardboard.

9. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the support member is constructed from rubber.

10. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the support member is constructed from polyethylene plastic.

11. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the envelope further comprises a first flap about the top of the bather.

12. The system as claimed in claim 11, wherein the envelope further comprises a second flap, the second flap being connectible to the first flap.

13. The system as claimed in claim 12, wherein the envelope further comprises a closure device mountable on the first flap and the second flap operative to close the envelope.

14. The system as claimed in claim 1, where the infusion reservoir is constructed from polyethylene plastic.

15. The system as claimed in claim 1 further comprises an infusion line disposed in the infusion reservoir, the infusion line being operative to transport the bathing fluid from the infusion reservoir.

16. The system as claimed in claim 15 further comprises a pump disposed in the infusion reservoir, the pump being mountable to the infusion line and operative to force the bathing fluid through the infusion line.

17. The system as claimed in claim 16 further comprises a bathing arm having an infusion channel connectible to and in fluid communication with the infusion line at a first end, the bathing arm further being connectible to and in fluid communication with the nozzle at a second end.

18. The system as claimed in claim 14, wherein the nozzle is a showerhead having a switch in communication with and operative to activate the pump, the showerhead further having an aperture line connectible to and in fluid communication with the infusion channel, the showerhead further having an aperture connectible to and in fluid communication with the aperture line operative to release bathing fluid into the envelope.

19. The system as claimed in claim 18 further comprises a plurality of infusion reservoirs, each infusion reservoir holding a bathing fluid, each infusion reservoir having an infusion line disposed therein operative to transport each bathing fluid through the bathing arm to the showerhead, the bathing arm having a plurality of infusion channels connectible to and in fluid communication with each corresponding infusion line at the first end of the bathing arm, each of the infusion channels connectible to and in fluid communication with the showerhead at the second end of the bathing arm.

20. The system as claimed in claim 19, wherein a pump is disposed in each of the plurality of infusion reservoirs, each pump being mountable to the corresponding infusion line in each infusion reservoir, the showerhead having a plurality of switches in communication with and operative to activate each pump in each infusion reservoir, the showerhead further having a plurality of aperture lines connectible to each corresponding infusion channel, the showerhead further having a plurality of apertures connectible to each aperture line operative to release each bathing fluid.

21. The system as claimed in claim 19 further comprises a console holding the plurality of infusion reservoirs, the console having a top portion, a peripheral wall, and a bottom portion, the console further having a console opening in the top portion for the passage of each infusion line into the corresponding infusion reservoir.

22. The system as claimed in claim 21, wherein a plurality of collector lips are disposed on the top portion of the console, each collector lip having a collector lip opening aligned with the corresponding console opening, each collector lip being sized and configured for the mounting of each corresponding infusion reservoir thereto.

23. The system as claimed in claim 1 further comprises an effusion line mountable to the drainage port operative to divert waste fluid from the envelope.

24. The system as claimed in claim 23 further comprises an effusion reservoir, the effusion line being disposed in the effusion reservoir and operative to transport waste fluid to the effusion reservoir.

25. The system as claimed in claim 24 further comprises a waste fluid pump disposed in the effusion reservoir operative to force waste fluid out of the effusion reservoir and into a waste fluid receptacle.

26. The system as claimed in claim 25 further comprises a debris filter mountable to the waste fluid pump operative to filter solids collected from the waste fluid diverted from the envelope.

27. The system as claimed in claim 21 further comprises an effusion line mountable to the drainage port operative to divert waste fluid from the envelope.

28. The system as claimed in claim 27 further comprises an effusion reservoir, the effusion line being disposed in the effusion reservoir and being operative to transport waste fluid to the effusion reservoir.

29. The system as claimed in claim 28 further comprises a pump disposed in the effusion reservoir operative to force waste fluid out of the effusion reservoir and into a waste fluid receptacle.

30. The system as claimed in claim 29 wherein the top portion of the console has an additional collector lip to be mountable by the effusion reservoir and an additional console opening for the passage of the effusion line.

31. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bathing fluid is water.

32. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bathing fluid is a shampoo.

33. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bathing fluid is a conditioner.

34. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bathing fluid is a soap.

35. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bathing fluid is a medication.

36. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the bathing fluid is an oil.

37. The system as claimed in claim 1 further comprises a drainage plug mountable to the drainage port operative to block the drainage of waste fluid from the envelope.

38. A bed bath system for use by a bather with a bed, the bed having a mattress defining a generally planar bed surface and a mattress wall periphery about the bed surface, the system comprising: a substantially fluid impermeable bath envelope defining a longitudinal axis and a lateral axis disposed perpendicular to the longitudinal axis, the bath envelope defined by a first side and an opposing second side, the first side having a closure weld operative to seal the first side and provide support to the bath envelope, the second side having a closure weld operative to seal the second side and provide support to the bath envelope, the bath envelope having a first lateral wall and an opposing second lateral wall, the first lateral wall having a first lateral wall flap extending from the first lateral wall, the second wall having a second lateral wall flap extending from the second lateral wall, the first and second lateral wall flaps secured to each other at least along a portion of their respective lengths by a closure weld, the bath envelope having a floor generally coplanar with the bed surface and a bath space interior to the first lateral wall, the second lateral wall, and the floor; an infusion reservoir holding a bathing fluid, the infusion reservoir having a dispensing port sized and configured for dispensing the bathing fluid; a nozzle in fluid communication with the dispensing port having a distal end operative to emit the bathing fluid into the bath envelope, and a drainage port disposed through the bath envelope and positioned at the floor operative to drain waste fluid from the bath envelope.

39. The system as claimed in claim 38 further comprises a pump disposed in the infusion reservoir operative to force the bathing fluid through the nozzle.

40. The system as claimed in claim 38 further comprises an effusion line mountable to the drainage port operative to divert waste fluid from the bath envelope.

41. The system as claimed in claim 40 further comprises an effusion reservoir, the effusion line being disposed in the effusion reservoir and operative to transport waste fluid to the effusion reservoir.

42. The system as claimed in claim 41 further comprises a waste fluid pump disposed in the effusion reservoir and operative to force waste fluid out of the effusion reservoir and into a waste fluid receptacle.

43. The system as claimed in claim 41 further comprises a debris filter mountable to the waste fluid pump operative to filter solids collected from the waste fluid diverted from the bath envelope.

44. A method of bathing a bather upon a bed, the bed having a mattress defining a generally planar bed surface and a mattress wall periphery about the bed surface, the method comprising the steps of: a) placing the bather on a bed surface; b) placing a support member having a support member inner wall about a mattress wall periphery; c) placing a substantially fluid impermeable sheet having a first side on the bed surface and a second side opposite the first side in the support member and under the bather to form an envelope on the second side; d) filling up each of a plurality of infusion reservoirs with a bathing fluid; e) attaching a drainage port through the sheet positioned at the floor of the envelope; f) attaching a nozzle in fluid communication with the infusion reservoir; g) attaching an effusion reservoir in fluid communication with the drainage port; h) operating the nozzle for washing the bather lying in the envelope.

45. The method of bathing as claimed in claim 44 further including a step of monitoring the temperature of the bathing fluid in each infusion reservoir using a thermometer.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefits of U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 60/839,955, entitled “Bed Bath Envelope” filed Aug. 23, 2006, the entire contents of which is expressly incorporated herein by reference.

STATEMENT RE: FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH/DEVELOPMENT

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND

The present invention relates generally to a disposable bath envelope system for use on most beds by a bather.

The challenges associated with the bathing of individuals with limited or no mobility are well known, both to caregivers and patients alike. Traditionally, patients suffering from the debilitating effects of Alzheimer's disease, paralysis, burn victims, and a host of other medical conditions are confined due to their immobility to their beds for extended periods of time, if not indefinitely. Caregivers assigned to such patients are responsible for providing the basic necessities of life, including washing and basic hygiene.

Traditionally, nurses, nurse's assistants, and caregivers have endured the back-breaking process of lifting patients confined to their beds and moving them to washing or showering facilities in order to clean these patients. Despite the shortage of caregivers in the medical profession and the myriad of demands placed on them, the responsibility of providing this critical service in the care of patients has been left to these overstretched staff. As a result, caregivers providing in-home care as well as nurses and nurse's assistants in hospital settings providing long-term care regularly experience back pain and muscle fatigue amongst other maladies from the repeated process of lifting and moving immobilized patients during the bathing process. This has inevitably led to forced time off and/or worker's compensation claims by some caregivers, thereby further straining an already overburdened health care system. In some instances, patients have even been dropped by their caregivers. In the case of some larger patients, more than one caregiver may be needed to assist in lifting and moving them for washing. In such circumstances, an already limited staff of caregivers is again further depleted, perhaps preventing them from tending to the critical needs of other patients. In some instances, these patients may not be getting washed regularly. Ultimately, it is the quality of care provided to these patients which suffers as a result of the toll taken on the caregivers during the process of washing immobilized patients.

Needless to say, the physical and emotional toll taken on the immobilized long-term care patient during the washing process can be significant. A bed-ridden patient who previously had no difficulty cleaning themselves may understandably feel helplessly dependent upon another for taking care of this basic need. Patients with limited or no mobility may lack the adequate strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility necessary to be able to wash themselves. No doubt, some patients may have a fear of falling or being dropped by the caregiver when being lifted and moved to a washing facility. Some patients, particularly those with arthritis or osteoporosis, may feel substantial pain when being lifted and physically moved. Having experienced such pain or even sustained bone fractures while being washed on prior occasions, or having been dropped by a caregiver, some of these patients may experience anxiety about the washing process. Some patients may even feel discomfort or pain from the spraying of water or its temperature in the washing facility. Other patients may experience anxiety or confusion in having the highly personal act of bathing take place in full view of others or in an unfamiliar place in the presence of unfamiliar faces. In short, the negative physical and emotional experience some patients have during what should be the refreshing process of washing impacts the quality of care received by these patients and ultimately their prognosis for recovery.

Likewise, those bathers not bed-ridden or otherwise impaired in their ability to move may also wish to experience a refreshing bathing experience comparable to that which they may experience in a spa treatment, in the comfort of their own home and bed.

There are a number of bathing systems used in conjunction with a bed to enable those who may be immobilized or non-ambulatory to be washed in the comfort of their own bed. For instance, U.S. Patent Publication No. US2006/0282944 A1 is understood to disclose a cart housing, a section hose, a clean water supply, a rinsing hose, and a bathing sheet supported by the attachment of a series of hooks onto the bed frame. The bathing sheet appears to have openings located along each side that correspond to where hooks that may attach to the bed bath frame. These hooks appear to be sized and configured for use only with a bed frame that can accommodate them. The support system appears susceptible to spillage if the openings to which the hooks attaching to the bathing sheet are enlarged by tearing due to excessive weight, for example. Nor does the system appear to enclose the bather for protection from exposure to colder temperatures. It is understood that U.S. Pat. No. 6,088,848 discloses a modular shower with a liner and a bulky modular frame positioned on the top of the mattress with support legs positioned on the floor that rest against a side of the mattress. The modular support frame appears to be susceptible to movement on the bed surface, thereby potentially causing the bather to fall out of the modular frame and off the bed. This system also appears to fail to protect the bather from exposure to outside cooler temperatures. It is understood that U.S. Pat. No. 3,800,336 discloses a folding solid frame placed on top of the mattress with legs positioned on the floor, a sheet, and a showerhead, amongst others. This system appears cumbersome and bulky in its design, particularly with respect to the support frame used to hold the bathing sheet. This bed bath system also appears to necessitate the lifting and movement of the bather into the solid frame, thereby risking injury to both the bather and caregiver. It is understood that U.S. Pat. No. 1,451,437 discloses a bathing apparatus having a sheet attachable to a support frame by a complicated series of hooks and clamps attached to the bed frame. The structure of the bed frame appears to fail to adequately support the bathing sheet, particularly if the bather moves around inside the envelope formed, thereby causing possible tearing of the envelope at the location of the point of attachment to the hooks. This lack of support again calls into question the stability of the patient while positioned in this apparatus.

Accordingly, there appears to be a need in the art for a new bed bath system for use by non-ambulatory and ambulatory bathers alike.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to an aspect of the present invention there is provided a bed bath system for use by a bather with a bed, the bed having a mattress with a bed surface and a mattress wall periphery about the bed surface. The bed bath system includes a support member having a support member inner wall. The support member inner wall may be sized and configured to be in contact with and encircle substantially the mattress wall periphery. The bed bath system also includes a substantially fluid impermeable sheet defining a longitudinal axis and a lateral axis disposed perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. The sheet has a first side that may be disposable on the mattress and a second side opposite the first side. The sheet is also disposable in the support member to form an envelope on the second side. The envelope has a floor generally coplanar with the bed surface, a lateral wall that is generally coplanar with the support member inner wall, and a bath space interior to the lateral wall and the floor. The bed bath system further includes an infusion reservoir with a dispensing port sized and configured to dispense a bathing fluid. The bed bath system also includes a nozzle which is in fluid communication with the dispensing port of the infusion reservoir. The nozzle has a distal end that is operative to emit the bathing fluid into the envelope. The bed bath system further includes a drainage port disposed through the sheet and positioned at the floor with the sheet disposed in the support member to form the envelope. The drainage port is operative to drain waste fluid from the envelope while the bather is being washed.

In the case of a bather who is bed-ridden, the bed bath system is innovative in that the configuration of the envelope formed by the sheet inside the support member in contact with and encircling substantially the mattress wall periphery may facilitate a quicker and more efficient installation process by a single caregiver, while the patient remains in the bed. Accordingly, other caregivers may be freed up to tend to patients with more pressing medical issues. As virtually all beds have a mattress with a mattress wall periphery capable of being encircled substantially by a support member, the bed bath system is further innovative in that it may be sized and configured to form the envelope for bathing on most beds. Furthermore, the use of the support member with the sheet to form the envelope directly on the bed surface may serve to mitigate the need for additional parts that are cumbersome and bulky. This feature may likewise reduce the amount of time and effort necessary for a caregiver to devote to the installation and transportation of the bed bath system. The absence of cumbersome and bulky parts may also serve to prevent injuries sustained by either the caregiver or the bather in tripping over the bed bath system. The bather may be much less likely to fall out of the bed bath system because the envelope is disposed directly on the bed surface with the bather lying thereon, as opposed to the bather being placed in a frame or envelope suspended above the bed surface. Accordingly, a bed-ridden patient would not need to be lifted and moved from their beds in order to be washed, thereby reducing the physical toll taken on caregivers, while also serving to reduce the risk of physical injury and pain to patients along with their anxiety in being washed in an open and unfamiliar place. As a result, the bed bath system may improve both the quality and frequency of the bathing experience received by a patient, thereby improving the overall quality of medical care, and their prognosis for recovery. These same innovative benefits may also be enjoyed by ambulatory bathers desiring a convenient spa treatment using the universal bed bath envelope system in the comfort of their own home. Also, bed bath system may find application in the bathing of a small child or an infant while they are lying within their confines of their crib.

None of the prior art bed bath systems appear to utilize a support member that encircles substantially and is in contact with the mattress wall periphery for support of a bather on a bath envelope placed directly onto the bed surface of the mattress. The prior art bed bath systems appear to be difficult to install, due to their apparent use of bulky and/or cumbersome parts. These qualities may prevent the prior art bed bath systems from being user friendly and practical for use by caregivers having limited time to wash their patients. The prior art bed bath systems also appear to subject the bather to a greater risk of fall and injury and therefore appear to fail to provide adequate support to the bather, due to their reliance on a combination of frames and/or sheet and hook configurations that require the bather to be at least partially elevated off of the bed surface.

According to other embodiments, the bed bath system may be substantially rectangular. The sheet may be constructed from any substantially fluid impermeable material, such as polyethylene plastic or some types of rubber, for example.

Accordingly, the bed bath system is further innovative in that the use of such materials enables the envelope to be disposable after a single use by a bather. In a hospital or other medical care facility, this feature is particularly significant given the high priority placed on maintaining a clean environment. By using a disposable envelope, the bed bath system may promote a sanitary washing environment for each successive bather, thereby preventing the spread of viruses, bacteria, and other disease-causing pathogens. The lightweight quality of plastic may also facilitate the quick and efficient installation of the envelope, thereby making the bed-bath system user friendly and practical for caregivers, as well as making it portable and compact. The flexibility of plastic may allow the bather to be washed in the envelope while their bed is in an upright position, such as in the case of patients with respiratory disorders. Likewise, bathers whose lower extremities must be elevated may be similarly accommodated. Also, the use of such materials may be cost-effective, thereby making the bed bath system economical for mass production. Finally, the absence of stiffness in the sheet used to form the envelope allows the bather to lie comfortably in the envelope while being washed.

In another embodiment, the support member inner wall may be in contact with the entire mattress wall periphery. The support member inner wall may also be encircled about the entire mattress wall periphery.

In yet further embodiments, the support member may be a belt encircled substantially about and in contact with the mattress wall periphery. In addition, the belt may be constructed of any material, including but not limited to corrugated cardboard, polyethylene plastic, or rubber, for example. Likewise, in another embodiment, the infusion reservoir may also be constructed from any material, such as polyethylene plastic, for example. As discussed above, the use of such materials in the bed bath system may promote a sanitary wash environment for each successive bather that may be efficiently installed and economically produced. Furthermore, the use of plastic material enables the infusion reservoir to have a flexible quality and assume different shape configurations when containing bathing fluid. Discussed in further detail below, this feature uniquely allows the infusion reservoir to be maintained in a compact, portable space. Materials such as plastic whose surface may be soft to the touch are also well adapted for use with patients lying in the bed bath system, in that the bathers are less likely to receive skin bruises from coming into contact with these component parts.

According to another embodiment of the present invention, the envelope may further comprise a first flap about the top of the bather. The envelope may also comprise a second flap connectible to the first flap. The envelope may further comprise a closure device mountable on the first flap and the second flap operative to close the envelope, thereby covering the bather. As discussed above, the characteristics of the plastic material from which the envelope is made enables the first flap and the second flap to lie comfortably on the bather.

In this regard, the bed bath system is further innovative in that it may maintain the temperature of the bathing fluid and the bath space in the envelope within a comfortable range so as to prevent the bather from being chilled and perhaps getting sick. This feature may be especially well suited for use in a hospital or other medical facility, where central air cooling systems may reduce the ambient temperature of the room in which the bather is bathing, and where the bather may already be subject to elevated levels of pathogens in the environment. The prior art bed bath systems do not appear to disclose the use of flaps as a way to protect the bather from exposure to the effects of colder temperatures in the bather's room.

In yet a further embodiment, the bed bath system may further include an infusion line disposed in the infusion reservoir to transport bathing fluid from the infusion reservoir. The bed bath system may also comprise a pump disposed in the infusion reservoir that is mountable to the infusion line and operative to force the bathing fluid through the infusion line. The bed bath system may further include a bathing arm having an infusion channel connectible to and in fluid communication with the infusion line at a first end. The bathing arm may also be connectible to and in fluid communication with the nozzle at a second end. The bathing arm may be made of a flexible soft-coated material, such as rubber, which enables the bathing arm to be stretched for the bather's ease of access as well as reduce the bather's risk of injury should they be accidentally struck by the bathing arm. As is discussed in further detail below, these features of the bed bath system are innovative in that they enable the continuous and controlled movement of fluid from the infusion reservoir to the nozzle, thereby emitting a steady focused stream of bathing fluid onto the bather while they comfortably lie inside the envelope on their bed.

In a further embodiment, the nozzle may be a showerhead having a switch in communication with and operative to activate the pump in the infusion reservoir. The showerhead may further have an aperture line connectible to and in fluid communication with the infusion channel. The showerhead may further have an aperture connectible to and in fluid communication with the aperture line. Bathing fluid may be released from the aperture of the showerhead. The showerhead may also be made of soft-coated materials, such as rubber, which may prevent the bather from hurting themselves should they be accidentally struck by the showerhead.

This feature uniquely enables the bather able to use their own hands to control the timing and flow of bathing fluid released into the envelope from the comfort of their bed. In the case of bedridden and immobilized bathers, the ability to use their hands in exercising control over their bathing experience may increase their sense of independence and self-confidence.

According to other embodiments, the bed bath system may further include a plurality of infusion reservoirs, each holding a bathing fluid. An infusion line may be disposed in each infusion reservoir to transport the bathing fluid through the bathing arm to the showerhead. The bathing arm may have a plurality of infusion channels connectible to and in fluid communication with each corresponding infusion line at the first end of the bathing arm. The bathing arm may also have a plurality of infusion channels connectible to and in fluid communication with the showerhead at the second end of the bathing arm. A pump may be disposed in each of the infusion reservoirs and mountable to the infusion line in each infusion reservoir. The showerhead may have a plurality of switches in communication with and operative to activate each pump in each infusion reservoir. The showerhead may further have a plurality of aperture lines connectible to each corresponding infusion channel in the bathing arm. The showerhead may further have a plurality of apertures connectible to each aperture line operative to separately release each bathing fluid. The bathing fluid may be any liquid, including but not limited to water, soap, shampoo, conditioner, medication, body oil, or lotion, for example.

These features of the bed bath system are innovative in that they uniquely enable the bather, whether ambulatory or not, to experience a bathing experience comparable to that offered by a bath tub or shower facility in the comfort and convenience of their bed. The showerhead uniquely enables the bather to simultaneously and/or separately release different bathing fluids from each aperture, thereby giving the bather full control over what bathing fluids they wish to use and when, with precision. Alternatively, a non-ambulatory bather, such as a burn victim, may be able to apply medication using the bed bath system. Topical antibiotics, for example, may be administered to a localized area on the bather. The bather seeking a spa-like treatment may be able to administer oils or similar products from the convenience and comfort of their own bed, in their own home. The separation in the bed bath system of the plurality of infusion reservoirs, infusion lines, infusion channels, and apertures used for each bathing fluid prevents cross-contamination resulting from the residue left inside the bed bath system by the bathing fluids. The prior art systems appear to fail to disclose a showerhead capable of simultaneously and separately discharging a steady focused stream of different bathing fluids from each aperture.

According to other embodiments, a console may hold the plurality of infusion reservoirs. The console may have a top portion, a peripheral wall, and a bottom portion. The console may further have a console opening located in the top portion to enable the passage of each infusion line into each infusion reservoir. This feature uniquely allows the plurality of infusion reservoirs to be maintained in a compact, portable space, thereby not cluttering the bather's room which in the case of a hospital room may be small in size. The use of a console also enables the caregiver ease of access to the infusion reservoirs to refill them with bathing fluid or monitor their temperature. Because the bed bath system is lightweight, the console may be transported by the caregiver to each successive bather without much difficulty.

The console may further include a plurality of collector lips disposed on the top portion. Each collector lip may have a collector lip aligned with the console opening. Each collector lip may be sized and configured for the mounting of each infusion reservoir thereto. This feature of the bed bath system may uniquely enable the facilitation of the quick and efficient mounting of each infusion reservoir to the console. As discussed above, this user-friendly feature may be well received by caregivers and bathers alike.

In yet further embodiments, the bed bath system may further include an effusion line mountable to the drainage port operative to divert waste fluid from the envelope. An effusion reservoir may receive the waste fluid from the effusion line. A pump may be disposed in the effusion reservoir operative to force the waste fluid out of the effusion reservoir and into a remote receptacle, such as a toilet. In another embodiment, the bath system may further include a debris filter mountable to the waste fluid pump operative to filter solids collected from the waste fluid diverted from the envelope. This configuration uniquely prevents the blockage of the drainage port from debris and enables the efficient disposal of waste fluid from the envelope.

In another embodiment, the effusion line mountable to the drainage port may be operative to divert the waste fluid from the envelope to an effusion reservoir located inside the console also holding the plurality of effusion reservoirs. The console may have an additional collector lip mountable by the effusion reservoir and an additional console opening for the passage of the effusion line into the effusion reservoir.

This feature of the bed bath system is further innovative in that it uniquely enables a bather to maintain the bathing fluids and waste fluids in a single location for ease of access and portability.

In a further embodiment of the present invention, the bed bath system may further include a drainage plug mountable to the drainage port operative to block the drainage of waste fluid from the envelope.

This feature of the bed bath system uniquely allows a bather to soak themselves in the bath space of the envelope, thereby recreating a refreshing bathing experience comparable to what they might experience in a bathtub.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a substantially fluid impermeable bath envelope defining a longitudinal axis and a lateral axis disposed perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. The bath envelope has a first side that may be disposable on the mattress and a second side opposite the first side. The first side has a closure weld operative to seal the first side and provide support to the bath envelope. The second side also has a closure weld operative to seal the second side and provide support to the bath envelope. Furthermore, the bath envelope has a first lateral wall with a first lateral wall flap extending therefrom. The bath envelope also has a second lateral wall opposing the first lateral wall, with a second lateral wall flap extending from the second lateral wall. The first and second lateral wall flaps are secured to each other at least along a portion of their respective lengths by a closure weld. The bath envelope has a floor generally coplanar with the bed surface and a bath space interior to the first lateral wall, the second lateral wall, and the floor. The bed bath system further includes an infusion reservoir with a dispensing port sized and configured to dispense a bathing fluid. The bed bath system also includes a nozzle which is in fluid communication with the dispensing port of the infusion reservoir. The nozzle has a distal end that is operative to emit a bathing fluid into the bath envelope. The bed bath system further includes a drainage port disposed through the bath envelope and positioned at the floor operative to drain waste fluid from the bath envelope while the bather is being washed.

In another embodiment, the bed bath system may also comprise a pump disposed in the infusion reservoir operative to force the bathing fluid through the nozzle.

In other embodiments, the bed bath system may further include an effusion line mountable to the drainage port operative to divert waste fluid from the bath envelope. An effusion reservoir may receive the waste fluid from the effusion line. A waste fluid pump may be disposed in the effusion reservoir operative to force the waste fluid out of the effusion reservoir and into a remote receptacle, such as a toilet. A debris filter may be mountable to the waste fluid pump operative to filter solids collected from the waste fluid diverted from the envelope.

According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method for bathing a bather upon a bed with the bed having a mattress defining a generally planar bed surface and a mattress wall periphery about the bed surface. The method comprises the steps of placing the bather on a bed surface, placing a support member having a support member inner wall about a mattress wall periphery, placing a substantially fluid impermeable sheet having a first side on the bed surface and a second side opposite the first side in the support member and under the bather to form an envelope on the second side having a floor generally coplanar with the bed surface, a lateral wall being generally coplanar with the support member inner wall, and a bath space interior to the lateral wall and the floor, filling up each of a plurality of infusion reservoirs with a bathing fluid, attaching a drainage port through a sheet positioned at the floor of the envelope, attaching a nozzle in fluid communication with the infusion reservoir, attaching an effusion reservoir in fluid communication with the drainage port, and operating the nozzle for washing the patient lying in the envelope. In a further embodiment of the present invention, the method for bathing may further include a step of monitoring the temperature of the bathing fluid in each infusion reservoir using a thermometer.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features and advantages of the various embodiments disclosed herein will be better understood with respect to the following description and drawings, in which like numbers refer to like parts throughout, and in which:

FIG. 1 is an exploded top view of an embodiment of a bed bath system with a bather lying on the floor of an envelope formed by the insertion of a substantially fluid impermeable sheet into a support member in contact with and encircled substantially about a mattress wall periphery, with a drainage port depicted on the floor of the envelope;

FIG. 2 is an exploded perspective view of an embodiment of the bed bath system with the bather lying on the floor of the envelope formed by the insertion of a substantially fluid impermeable sheet into the support member in contact with and encircled substantially about the mattress wall periphery, with the drainage port depicted on the floor of the envelope;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of an embodiment of the bed bath system with the drainage port disposed through the sheet sized and configured to form the envelope, with an effusion line attached thereto;

FIG. 4 is an exploded view of an embodiment of the bed bath system with a drainage cap and effusion line forming the drainage port;

FIG. 5 is an exploded view of an embodiment of the bed bath system with a plurality of infusion reservoirs and an infusion line disposed in each infusion reservoir, a pump forcing the bathing fluid from the infusion reservoir through the infusion line, as well as a thermometer and a power source for each pump;

FIG. 6 is an exploded view of an embodiment of the bed bath system depicting a showerhead attached to the bathing arm, the bathing arm having a plurality of infusion channels connected to a plurality of infusion lines at a first end and a plurality of infusion channels connected to a plurality of aperture lines at a second end;

FIG. 7a is an exploded view of a caregiver transporting the bed bath system in a portable console;

FIG. 7b is a perspective view of an embodiment of the bed bath system with the bather in the envelope being washed by a caregiver depicting the support member in contact with and encircled substantially about the mattress wall periphery, the envelope formed by the insertion of the sheet into the support member, a plurality of infusion reservoirs and an effusion reservoir held in the console, and the operation of the bathing arm and the showerhead to emit bathing fluids onto the bather;

FIG. 7c is an exploded view of a caregiver discarding the disposable components of the bed bath system;

FIG. 8 is an exploded top view of an embodiment of the bed bath system depicting a bather in a bath envelope with a closure operative to seal a first and second side, provide support to the bath envelope, and secure a first and second lateral wall flap;

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the bed bath system depicting a bather in a bath envelope with a closure operative to seal a first and second side, provide support to the bath envelope, and secure a first and second lateral wall flap; and

FIG. 10 is a flow diagram of a method for bathing a bather upon the bed.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The drawings referred to herein are for the purposes of illustrating the preferred embodiments of the present invention and not for the purposes of limiting the same.

FIGS. 1 and 2 are an embodiment of a bed bath system 5 depicting a bather 32 lying in a substantially fluid impermeable envelope 22 formed on top of a bed 14 when a sheet 10 is disposed in a support member 16. The envelope 22 may be defined by a longitudinal axis and a lateral axis disposed perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. The bed 14 may have a mattress 12 defined by a bed surface 130 and a mattress wall periphery 132 about the bed surface 130. The sheet 10 may have a first side 18 and a second side 20 opposite the first side 18. The first side 18 may come into contact with and be generally coplanar to the bed surface 130 when placed on the mattress 12. The support member 16 may have a support member inner wall 28 that is sized and configured to be in contact with and encircled substantially about the mattress wall periphery 132. The support member 16 may be a belt 128. The envelope 22 may be formed on the second side 20 when the sheet 10 is disposed in the belt 128. The envelope 22 may have a floor 24 generally coplanar with the bed surface 130, a lateral wall 26 being generally coplanar with the support member inner wall 28, and a bath space 30 interior to the lateral wall 26 and the floor 24.

The configuration of the support member 16 being in contact with and encircling substantially the mattress wall periphery 132 is innovative and may be particularly well adapted to facilitating the quick and efficient installation of the bed bath system 5 by a caregiver 118 treating non-ambulatory patients. This allows other caregivers 118 to tend to other patients potentially requiring urgent care. The bed bath system 5 may be universally adaptable to most beds 14, as the envelope 22 and support member 16 may be sized and configured to be adaptable to a bed 14 of any size and shape. For example, the typical bed 14 in a hospital is rectangular and approximately 38 inches×76 inches. Accordingly, in one embodiment, the sheet 10 when unfolded may be substantially rectangular and have dimensions of approximately 80″×100″ inches, for example. The use of the support member 16 with the sheet 10 to form the envelope 22 may serve to mitigate the need for additional parts that are bulky or cumbersome. Therefore, the bed bath system 5 may be particularly well adapted to facilitate a quick and efficient installation as well as being readily portable between different bathers 32 by a caregiver 118. The absence of bulky or cumbersome parts comprising the envelope 22 and support member 16 may also serve to prevent injuries to either the bather 32 or the caregiver 118 from falling over the bed bath system 5. The bather 32 is also less likely to fall out of the bed bath system 5 because the envelope 22 may be disposed directly onto the bed surface 130 with the bather 32 lying thereon. This may be distinguished from the bather 32 being placed in a device whose support system causes the bather 32 to be at least partially suspended above the bed surface 130, as is understood to be disclosed in prior art systems.

As is further discussed below, due to the materials from which it is constructed, the envelope 22 may be single use and disposable following the washing of a bather 32. In one embodiment of the present invention, the sheet 10 may be placed into the support member 16 to form an envelope 22, and the bather 32 may be placed in the envelope 22 without having to be lifted out of the bed 14 and physically moved to a different location for washing. This may eliminate a risk of injury to both the bather 32 and the caregiver 118 due to back strain or droppage. The bather 32 may be placed on one edge of the bed surface 130 while the sheet 10 is unfolded along its longitudinal axis and placed along the edge of a portion of the second side 20 of the bed surface 130. The bather 32 may then be rolled onto the unfolded portion of the sheet 10 on the second side 20, with the remaining portion of the sheet 10 then unfolded to cover the rest of the second side 20. This folding process has been referred to by some caregivers 118 as a “nurse's fold.” This is innovative in that a second caregiver 118 may not be necessary to assist in installing the envelope 22, thereby freeing up other caregivers 118 to tend to more pressing matters. A support member 16, such as a belt 128, with the support member inner wall 28 contacting and encircling substantially the mattress wall periphery 132 enables the sheet 10 to form an envelope 22 that is generally coplanar with the bed surface 130. This configuration allows the bather 32 to be washed while lying in the comfort and familiar surroundings of their own bed 14. The fluid impermeable quality of the sheet 10 used to form the envelope 22, along with the configuration of the floor 24 that is generally coplanar with the bed surface 130, the lateral wall 26 that is generally coplanar with the support member inner wall 28, and the bath space 30 interior to the lateral wall 26 and the floor 24 may facilitate to prevent the leakage of a bathing fluid 40 or a waste fluid 48 outside of the envelope 22 and onto the bed surface 130. Also, the bather 32 may be much less likely to fall out of the envelope 22, which is disposed directly on the bed surface 130 with the bather 32 lying thereon.

As used herein, the term “envelope” 22 should not be construed narrowly, but rather broadly to mean any sheet 10 having a first side 18 that has been disposed on the bed surface 130 of the mattress 12 and in a support member 16 whose support member inner wall 28 is in contact with and encircles substantially the mattress wall periphery, thereby forming on the second side 20 a floor 24 generally coplanar with the bed surface 130, a lateral wall 26 being generally coplanar with the support member inner wall 28, and a bath space 30 interior to the lateral wall 26 and floor 24.

As used herein, the term “lateral wall” 26 should not be construed narrowly, but rather broadly to mean a lateral wall 26 having an angle formed with the floor 24 that may be greater than 0 degrees and up to 90 degrees when a bather 32 is placed in the envelope 22. The lateral wall 26 need not be perpendicular with the floor 24, and the angle between the lateral wall 26 and the floor 24 may alternate with the shifting of the weight of the bather 32 in the envelope 22.

As used herein, the term “sheet” 10 should not be construed narrowly, but rather broadly to mean a layer of lightweight material that is thin in comparison to its length and breadth. While the sheet 10 may be any shape, because most beds 14 are rectangular or square, it is anticipated that the sheet 10 may also be generally rectangular or square. In one embodiment of the bed bath system 5, depicted in FIGS. 1, 2, and 7b, the sheet 10 is rectangular. It is contemplated that the sheet 10 may also be circular or oval in shape, again depending on the configuration of the bed 14. The sheet 10 need not have a uniform thickness, texture, or density. While it is contemplated that the sheet 10 may be made of a homogenous material, various portions of the sheet may also be reinforced by the use of different materials or by constructing portions having a non-uniform thickness so as to strengthen for example the floor 24 or lateral wall 26 of the envelope 22, once it has been placed into the support member 16. In one embodiment of the bed bath system 5, depicted in FIGS. 1, 2, and 7b, the sheet 10 is shown to be made of a homogenous material having a uniform thickness, texture, and density. The sheet 10 may be any size, depending on the dimensions of the bed 14.

As used herein, the term “substantially fluid impermeable sheet” 10 should not be construed narrowly, but rather broadly to mean a sheet 10 made of any material capable of mitigating the leakage of bathing fluid 40 or waste fluid 48 onto the bed surface 130 as compared to a standard cotton fiber sheet, so as not to evidence puddling or dampness upon touching the bed surface 130 during and upon the conclusion of the period of time spent by the bather 32 bathing in the envelope 22 formed from the sheet 10. The term “substantially fluid impermeable sheet” 10 may also include a sheet 10 made of materials that have been treated with water proofing chemicals that tend to mitigate the wicking of bathing fluid 40 or waste fluid 48 on the envelope 22. Examples of sheets 10 made of substantially fluid impermeable material are those constructed from polyethylene plastic and certain types of rubber.

As used herein, the term “mattress wall periphery” 132 should not be construed narrowly, but rather broadly to mean the external portion of the mattress 12 between the bed surface 130 and the side opposite the bed surface 130, when viewed from the side. When viewing from above the bed surface 130 of the bed 14, the “mattress wall periphery” 132 may be the outermost extent of the mattress 12 that is generally perpendicular to the bed surface 130 on which the bather 32 lies.

As used herein, the term “encircled substantially” should be defined to mean that the support member inner wall 28 of the support member 16 is encircled about at least a majority of the mattress wall periphery 132. In one embodiment of the invention, as depicted in FIGS. 1, 2, and 7b, the support member inner wall 28 may encircle the entire mattress wall periphery 132. It is contemplated that in other embodiments, for example, a headboard or other accessory may prevent the support member inner wall 28 from encircling the entire mattress wall periphery 132.

As used herein, the term “in contact with” should be defined to mean that the mattress wall periphery 132 is touched by the support member inner wall 28 of the support member 16 at various locations. In one embodiment of the invention, as depicted in FIGS. 1, 2, and 7b, the support member inner wall 28 touches the mattress wall periphery 132 around the entire periphery of the bed 14. It is contemplated that in other embodiments, the support member inner wall 28 may only touch the mattress wall periphery 132 at the corners of a bed 14 that is rectangular in shape, where for example, the support member 14 is circular in shape.

Referring now to FIGS. 2, 5, and 7b, an embodiment of the bed bath system 5 may further include an infusion reservoir 38 holding a bathing fluid 40, such as for example water 112, shampoo 114, soap 116, conditioner 122, a medication 124, or a body oil 126 or lotion. The infusion reservoir 38 may have a dispensing port 42 sized and configured for dispensing this variety of bathing fluids 40. The infusion reservoir 38 may be any size, but a suitable capacity may be 12 liters for example. The infusion reservoir 38 may be constructed from any material, including but not limited to polyethylene plastic, a low-cost material wall adapted to making the infusion reservoir 38 disposable. Also, the use of plastic in the construction of the infusion reservoir 38 may give it a flexible quality, allowing the infusion reservoir 38 to assume different configurations and to be maintained in a compact, portable space. As discussed below with respect to the sheet 10 and support member 16, the infusion reservoir 38 likewise may be adapted for a single-use purpose following each bath by a bather 32, thereby promoting the sanitary quality of the bed bath system 5.

In another embodiment, a nozzle 44 may be in fluid communication with the dispensing port 42. The nozzle 44 may have a distal end 46 operative to emit the bathing fluid 40 into the envelope 22. FIG. 2 depicts the dispensation of the bathing fluid 40 contained in the infusion reservoir 38 through the nozzle 44 by a caregiver 118 onto a bather 32 situated in the envelope 22.

Referring again to FIG. 1, the bed bath system 5 may have a drainage port 34 disposed through the sheet 10 and positioned at the floor 24 of the envelope 22 with the sheet 10 disposed in the support member 16. A bed wedge 120 may be inserted under the bed 14 to facilitate the down slope movement of waste fluid 48 toward the drainage port 34. The drainage port 34 may drain waste fluid 48 from the envelope 22.

Although the sheet 10 inserted into the support member 16 of the bed bath system 5 may be any shape, another embodiment of the bed bath system 5 may use a sheet 10 which is of substantially rectangular shape, as depicted in FIGS. 1, 2, and 7b.

Furthermore, although the sheet 10 may be made of any material, another embodiment of the bed bath system 5 uses a sheet 10 constructed of any substantially fluid impermeable material, including for example polyethylene plastic or rubber. The use of polyethylene plastic is a low cost material that that enables the envelope 22 to be disposable following a single use by each bather 32, thereby promoting the sanitary quality of the bed bath system 5. The lightweight quality of plastic may allow the envelope 22 to be installed quickly and efficiently by one caregiver 118. Also, this feature uniquely enables the envelope 22 and other disposable components of the bed bath system 5 to be portable and stored in a compact area. The flexibility and texture of soft plastic may allow the bather 32 to be comfortably washed in the envelope 22 with the bed 14 in an upright position or when the bather's 32 legs are elevated.

A further embodiment of the support bracket 10 may be a belt 128 that contacts and encircles substantially the mattress wall periphery 132, with the lateral wall 26 of the envelope 22 being generally coplanar with the support member inner wall 28 of the belt 128. Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, and 7b, in another embodiment, the support member inner wall 28 of the support member 16 may be in contact with the entire mattress wall periphery 132. The support member wall 28 may also be encircled about the entire mattress wall periphery 132.

As discussed above, the use of a belt 128 as a support member 16 to form the envelope 22 uniquely enables the bed bath system 5 to be universally adopted to a bed surface 130 of virtually any dimension. The ease and speed with which the envelope 22 may be disposed on the bed surface 130 to form the floor 24, lateral wall 26, and bath space 36 may be due to the absence of many cumbersome parts. The simplicity of design is exemplified by how the support member 16 encircles substantially about and contacts the mattress wall periphery 132 such that the support member inner wall 28 may be coplanar to the lateral wall 26 of the envelope 22.

Although the support member 16 may be made of any material, another embodiment of the bed bath system 5 may include a belt 128 made of corrugated cardboard, rubber, or polyethylene plastic, for example. As discussed above, these lightweight materials may be well adapted for a single use by each successive bather 32, portability, and ease of storage. FIGS. 7a, 7b and 7c depict how the component parts of the bed bath system 5 may uniquely enable it to facilitate its portable transportation, quick and efficient installation, and sanitary disposal of used parts.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the bed bath system 5 may further comprise an envelope 22 having a first flap 50 about the top of the bather 32. The envelope 22 may also have a second flap 52 connectible to the first flap 50. A closure device 58 may be mountable on the first flap 50 and the second flap 52 to close the envelope 22. This closure device 58 uniquely enables the bather 32 to maintain the temperature inside the envelope 22 for a period of time and to slow the cooling of the bathing fluid 40 dispensed into the envelope 22.

Referring now to FIGS. 3-4, the drainage port 34 may be a drainage cap 56 used to penetrate the envelope 22 and be mountable to a drainage cap holder 136. A column 138 created by the combination of the drainage cap 56 and drainage cap holder 136 enables the drainage of waste fluid 48 from the envelope 22.

As depicted in FIGS. 1 and 7b, the drainage port 34 may also include a drainage plug 36 mountable to the drainage port 34 operative to block the drainage of waste fluid 48 from the envelope 22. The drainage plug 36 thereby enables the bather 32 to soak in the envelope 22, should they so desire. The drainage port 34 may be mounted by an effusion line 54 operative to divert waste fluid 48 from the envelope 22.

Referring now to FIGS. 5 and 7b, the bed bath system 5 may alternatively include an infusion line 60 disposed in the infusion reservoir 38. The infusion line 60 may enter the infusion reservoir 38 through the dispensing port 42. The infusion line 60 may be operative to transport the bathing fluid 40 from the infusion reservoir 38.

Another embodiment of the bed bath system 5 may include a pump 62 disposed in the infusion reservoir 38. The pump 62 may be mountable to the infusion line 60 and be operative to force the bathing fluid 40 through the infusion line 60. In another embodiment discussed in detail below, the pump 62 uniquely enables the bather 32 to control the flow of multiple bathing fluids 40 dispensed into the envelope 22 by the showerhead 78.

Referring now to FIG. 6, the bed bath system 5 may alternatively include a bathing arm 70 having an infusion channel 72 connectible to and in fluid communication with the infusion line 60 at a first end 74. The bathing arm 70 may also be connectible and in fluid communication with the nozzle 44 at a second end 76. The bathing arm 70 may be made of soft-coated materials, such as rubber, which may prevent injury to the bather 32 should they be accidentally struck by the bathing arm 70.

Still referring to FIG. 6, the nozzle 44 may be a showerhead 78 having a switch 80 in communication with and operative to activate the pump 62 in the infusion reservoir 38. The showerhead 78 may further have an aperture line 82 connectible to and in fluid communication with the infusion channel 72. The showerhead 78 may further have an aperture 84 connectible to and in fluid communication with the aperture line 82 operative to emit bathing fluid 40 into the envelope 22. The configuration of the showerhead 78 and the bathing arm 70 being in communication with the pump 62 may be particularly well adapted to enabling a patient to gain independence in washing themselves, perhaps without the assistance of a caregiver 118. The shower head 78 may be made of soft-coated materials, such as rubber, which may prevent injury to the bather 32 should they be accidentally struck by the shower head 78.

Referring again to FIGS. 5 and 7b, the bed bath system 5 may alternatively include a plurality of infusion reservoirs 38. Each infusion reservoir 38 may have an infusion line 60 disposed through the dispensing port 42 operative to transport a separate bathing fluid 40 through the bathing arm 70 and to the showerhead 78. In this embodiment, the bathing arm 70 may have a plurality of infusion channels 72 connectible to and in fluid communication with each corresponding infusion line 60 at the first end 74 of the bathing arm 70. In this embodiment, the bathing arm 70 may also have a plurality of infusion channels 72 connectible to and in fluid communication with the showerhead 78. A pump 62 may be disposed in each of the plurality of infusion reservoirs 38, with each pump 62 being mountable to the corresponding infusion line 60 in each infusion reservoir 38. The showerhead 78 may also have a plurality of switches 80 in communication with and operative to activate each pump 62 in each infusion reservoir 38. The showerhead 78 may further have a plurality of aperture lines 82 connectible to each corresponding infusion channel 72 in the bathing arm 70. Furthermore, the showerhead 78 may have a plurality of apertures 84 connectible to each aperture line 82 operative to release a separate bathing fluid 40. These features are innovative in that they uniquely enable the bather 32 to control the flow of bathing fluids 40 from each infusion reservoir 38 to the showerhead 78. The showerhead 78 being in communication with each of the infusion channels 72 in the bathing arm 70 and the pump 62 in each infusion reservoir 38 enables the bather 32 to simultaneously and/or separately release a different bathing fluid 20 from each aperture 84 with precision. The bathing fluid 40 may be varied in each infusion reservoir 38 to be, for example, water 112 for cleansing, shampoo 114, soap 116, or conditioner 122 for cleaning, a medication 124 for healing, or an oil 126 for moisturizing. A bather 32 who is bed ridden and typically dependent upon their caregivers 118 will take great satisfaction in being able to administer for themselves a bath system 5 comparable to a full bath or shower in the comfort of their bed 14. Likewise, a bather 32 who is not bed-ridden and has no impairment of their mobility may enjoy the convenience of a treatment comparable to that which they might receive in a spa in the comfort of their own bed 14.

The showerhead 78 may have a sanitary cover 140 operative to prevent the transmission of bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens between successive bathers 32 using the bed bath system 5. Character figurines depicting animals, cartoon characters, etc. may also be attached to the showerhead 78 to entertain the bather 32.

Still referring to FIGS. 5 and 7b, a thermometer 64 may be disposed in the bathing fluid 40 in each infusion reservoir 38 to monitor and maintain its temperature within a comfortable range. The pump 62 in each of a plurality of infusion reservoirs 38 may be connectible by a power source line 68 to any power source 66, such as a battery or electrical outlet.

The bed bath support system 5 may alternatively include a console 86 holding the plurality of infusion reservoirs 38. The console 86 may have a top portion 90, a peripheral wall 88, and a bottom portion 92. In this embodiment, the console 86 may further have a console opening 94 in the top portion 90 for the passage of each infusion line 60 into their corresponding infusion reservoir 38. In one embodiment, it is not anticipated that the weight of the console 86 and remaining components of the bed bath system 5 would exceed five pounds (5 lbs). As depicted in FIG. 7a, due to the lightweight and flexible exterior of the console 86, envelope 22, infusion reservoir 38, support member 16, and other parts comprising the bed bath system 5, the console 86 may be readily transported by the caregiver 118.

In another embodiment, the console 86 may have a plurality of collector lips 96 disposed on the top portion 90 of the console 86. Each collector lip 96 may have a collector lip opening 98 aligned with the corresponding console opening 94, with each collector lip 96 being sized and configured for the mounting of each corresponding infusion reservoir 38 thereto. As discussed above, these features may be particularly well adapted to enabling the plurality of infusion reservoirs 38 to be located in a single accessible area, thereby making the bed bath system 5 transportable between different bathers 32 and locations.

In another embodiment, the bed bath system 5 may also include an effusion reservoir 104 operative to receive waste fluid 48 from the effusion line 54. The bed bath system 5 may further have a waste fluid pump 106 disposed in the effusion reservoir 104 operative to force waste fluid 48 out of the effusion reservoir 104 and into a waste fluid receptacle 108, such as a remote toilet. The pump 62 in the effusion reservoir 104 may further have a debris filter 110 operative to filter solids collected from the waste fluid 48 in the envelope 22. The effusion reservoir 104 may also be held in the console 86 with the plurality of infusion reservoirs 38. The console 86 may have an additional collector lip 96 mountable by the effusion reservoir 104 with an additional console opening 94 for the passage of the effusion line 54.

Referring now to FIG. 8, a further embodiment of the bed bath system 5 may include a bather 32 lying in a substantially fluid impermeable bath envelope 142 formed on top of a bed 14 having a mattress 12 defined by a bed surface 130. The bath envelope 142 may be defined by a longitudinal axis and a lateral axis disposed perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. The bath envelope 142 may have a first side 144 and a second side 146 opposite the first side 144. The first side 144 may have a closure weld 148 operative to seal the first side 144 and provide support to the bath envelope 142. The second side 146 may have a closure weld 148 operative to seal the second side 146 and provide support to the bath envelope 142. The bath envelope 142 may have a first lateral wall 150 having a first lateral wall flap 152 extending from the first lateral wall 150. The bath envelope 142 may also have a second lateral wall 154 opposite the first lateral wall 150 having a second lateral wall flap 156 extending from the second lateral wall 154. The first lateral wall flap 152 and the second lateral wall flap 156 may be secured to each other at least along a portion of their respective lengths by a closure weld 154.

Referring to FIG. 9, the bath envelope 142 may have a floor 24 generally coplanar with the bed surface 130 and a bath space 30 interior to the first lateral wall 150, the second lateral wall 154, and the floor 24.

Referring again to FIG. 8, an embodiment of the bed bath system 5 may further include an infusion reservoir 38 holding a bathing fluid 40, such as for example water 112, shampoo 114, soap 1 16, conditioner 122, a medication 124, or a body oil 126 or lotion. A nozzle 44 may be in fluid communication with the infusion reservoir 38. The nozzle 44 may have a distal end 46 operative to emit the bathing fluid 40 into the bath envelope 142.

A drainage port 34 may be disposed through the bath envelope 142 and positioned at the floor 24 operative to drain waste fluid 48 from the bath envelope 142.

In another embodiment, the bed bath system 5 may further include a pump 62 disposed in the infusion reservoir 38 operative to force the bathing fluid 40 through the nozzle 44.

In another embodiment, the bed bath system 5 may include an effusion line 54 mountable to the drainage port 34 and operative to divert waste fluid 48 from the bath envelope 142. In another embodiment, the effusion line 54 may be disposed in an effusion reservoir 104. The effusion line 54 may be operative to transport waste fluid 48 from the bath envelope 142 to the effusion reservoir 104.

In another embodiment, the bed bath system 5 may include a waste fluid pump 106 disposed in the effusion reservoir 104 operative to force waste fluid 48 out of the effusion reservoir 104 and into a waste fluid receptacle.

In a further embodiment, the bed bath system 5 may include a debris filter 1 10 mountable to the waste fluid pump 106 operative to filter solids collected from the waste fluid 48 diverted from the bath envelope 142.

Referring now to FIG. 10, a flow diagram indicates the steps of a method for bathing a bather 32 upon a bed 14, with the bed 14 having a mattress 12 defining a generally planar bed surface 130 and a mattress wall periphery 132 about the bed surface 130. In this regard, this methodology is from the perspective of the caregiver 118. According to an aspect of the present invention, the method comprises step 200 of the caregiver 118 placing the bather 32 on a bed surface 130, step 210 of the caregiver 118 placing a support member 16 having a support member inner wall 28 about a mattress wall periphery 132, and step 220 of placing a substantially fluid impermeable sheet 10 having a first side 18 on the bed surface 130 and a second side 20 opposite the first side 18 in the support member 16 and under the bather 32 to form an envelope 22 on the second side 20. In an embodiment of step 220, the bather 32 may be placed on one edge of the bed surface 130 while the sheet 10 is unfolded along its longitudinal axis and placed along the edge of a portion of the second side 20 of the bed surface 130. The bather 32 may then be rolled onto the unfolded portion of the sheet 10 on the second side 20, with the remaining portion of the sheet 10 then unfolded to cover the rest of the second side 20. This folding step has been referred to by some caregivers 118 as a “nurse's fold.” The method for bathing a bather may further include step 230 of filling up each of a plurality of infusion reservoirs 38 with a bathing fluid 40, step 240 of attaching a drainage port 34 through the sheet 10 positioned at the floor 24 of the envelope 22, step 250 of attaching a nozzle 44 in fluid communication with the infusion reservoir 38, step 260 of attaching an effusion reservoir 104 in fluid communication with the drainage port 34, and step 270 of operating the nozzle 44 for washing the bather 32 lying in the envelope 22.

In another embodiment, the method for bathing a bather 32 may include a further step 280 of monitoring the temperature of the bathing fluid 40 in each infusion reservoir 38 using a thermometer 64.

The above description is given by way of example, and not limitation. Given the above disclosure, one skilled in the art could devise variations that are within the scope and spirit of the invention disclosed herein. Further, the various features of the embodiments disclosed herein can be used alone, or in varying combinations with each other and are not intended to be limited to the specific combination described herein. Thus, the scope of the claims is not to be limited by the illustrated embodiments.