Title:
BATH AND SHOWER ASSIST MEANS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Assist means to aid users of bath and shower facilities; said means having installation independent of the typical screw type wall fasteners. Assist means comprising a horizontal grip bar having longitudinal, lateral, and vertical restraints. The longitudinal restraints consist of compressible means rotatively attaching to each extremity of the grip bar. Said lateral restraints comprise tensile means, suction cups, or like means, securing the grip bar to an enclosure wall parallel to the bar. During installation the grip bar is rotated about its longitudinal axis, causing the compressible means at each extremity to forcefully engage an enclosure wall. The vertical restraints connect to the grip bar and to lower compressible means that secure said restraints to the rim of a bathtub. A tub entry-exit bar and lift bar attaching to said grip bar provide safe assistance for the user.



Inventors:
Grant, Willie T. (Birmingham, AL, US)
Application Number:
11/684661
Publication Date:
09/18/2008
Filing Date:
03/12/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47K3/024
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CRANE, LAUREN ASHLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
WILLIE T. GRANT (BIRMINGHAM, AL, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. Bath and shower assist means to aid users and thereby prevent slips and falls in the shower and bathtub; said assist means comprising grip means, vertical support means, fitting means, release means, holding means, retaining means, entry means, and lift means selectively merged into a composite installation to meet the needs of the user. a) said vertical support means comprising tubular sections connecting to grip means and lift means through fitting means, and engaging the rim of a bathtub through retaining means; b) said fitting means comprising fittings geometrically shaped and directionally oriented, compatible with tubular means connecting tensile means grip means, lift means to grip means and vertical support means, entry means to said grip means, and grip means to said vertical support means said fitting means having release means decoupling said lift means and entry means from said fitting means; c) said entry means comprising a tubular section having a horizontal arm transitioning to a vertical leg; said horizontal arm removably coupling to grip means and spanning the width of the bathtub; said vertical leg engaging the bathtub rim through rim bracket; said entry means having mobility along tubular section of grip means; d) said lift means comprising a tubular section having a horizontal arm transitioning to a vertical leg; said horizontal arm removably coupling to said vertical support means; said vertical leg removably coupling to said tubular section of grip means.; e) said holding means comprising tensile means and rim bracket; said tensile means connecting to said rim bracket and engaging surface of said bathtub; said rim bracket engaging bathtub rim and having a vertical projection receiving said tubular section of said entry means extending downward; said vertical projection securing said tubular section on bathtub rim along with said tensile means; f) said tensile means comprising suction means as suction cups, vacuum cups, or like means capable of expelling air trapped between face of said tensile means and a surface parallel to the face of said tensile means when a compressive force, traversing the longitudinal axis of said tensile means, causes said tensile means to grip said parallel surface; g) said retaining means comprising said retaining cover and said tensile means engaging bathtub rim; said retaining cover having a vertical projection receiving tubular section of said vertical support means and securing said vertical support means on bathtub rim jointly with said tensile means; h) said release means comprising operable mechanism mounting in said fittings to couple and decouple tubular sections from said fittings.

2. The grip means set forth in claim 1 comprising first compressible means, grip bar section, tensile means, fitting means, revolution counter, second compressible means, covering means, and sealing means, integrated for installation in bath and shower facilities; a) said first compressible means having first threaded means fixedly attaching to said first compressible means; said first threaded means projecting from first face of said first compressible means; second face of said first compressible means engaging a wall surface upon experiencing an axial force traversing the longitudinal axis of said first compressible means; b) said grip bar section comprising a tubular section, extending along common longitudinal axis between said first and second compressible means and passing through a circular opening in a component of said fitting means; said grip bar section having a first insert with second threaded means fixedly attaching in first extremity of said section and a second insert having second engaging means fixedly attaching in opposite extremity of said grip bar section; said first and second inserts mating with said first threaded means of said first compressible means and with said first engaging means of said second compressible means respectively; mating of said threaded and engaging means of said compressible means with said inserts of said grip bar section giving said grip bar section rotatability during installation and removal; c) said second compressible means having first engaging means fixedly attaching to said second compressible means and projecting from first face of second compressible means along a longitudinal axis common to said first and second compressible means; longitudinal axis of said compressible means being coincident with longitudinal axes of said first engaging means and said first threaded means; the second face of said second compressible means engaging a wall surface when experiencing said axial force traversing said common longitudinal axis. d) said tensile means comprising a plurality of suction cups, vacuum cups, or like means; each unit of said tensile means connecting to tensile bracket means and engaging a parallel wall surface; said bracket having an opening encircling the outer circumference of said grip bar section; said tensile brackets having mobility along said grip bar section and being removable therefrom; e) said revolution counter comprising a circular segment bracket engaging the circumference of said grip bar section to monitor the number of revolutions applied to said section during installation; said circular segment bracket having an indicator; said indicator aiding in tracking the number of revolutions of said grip bar section. f) said covering means and sealing means comprising an escutcheon encircling said tubular means, enclosing said compressible and tensile means, having a pliable seal attaching to the circumferential periphery of said escutcheon; said seal providing a moisture barrier engaging a wall parallel to said covering means.

3. The first and second compressible means set forth in claim 2 comprising disks, covered with or constructed of compressible material, suction cups, or like means capable of expelling air trapped between face of said compressible means and a parallel surface when said axial compressive force acts along the longitudinal axis common to said compressible means and said section.

4. The grip bar section set forth in claim 2, having a multiplicity of said tensile means and said bracket means connecting to said grip bar section; said bracket means having mobility along longitudinal axis of said grip bar section; said bracket means, coupling to said tensile means, being movable from a first fixed position to a second fixed position on said bar, said grip bar section being a tubular bar formed of material having structural strength and rigidity.

5. The first and second threaded means set forth in claim 2 comprising studs and tubular inserts having mating threads for mutual engagement and rotation of aforesaid grip bar section; said first and second threaded means converting rotational energy applied to said grip bar section into an axial compressive force traversing the longitudinal axis of said grip bar section.

6. The tensile means set forth in claim 2 comprising suction means as suction cups, vacuum cups, or like means capable of expelling air trapped between face of said tensile means and a surface parallel to face of said tensile means when a compressive force, traversing the longitudinal axis of said tensile means, causes said tensile means to grip said external surface.

7. The first and second engaging means set forth in claim 2 comprising studs and tubular inserts respectively; each means having a smooth mating surface for mutually engaging and thereby accommodating the rotation of said grip bar section.

8. Bath and shower assist means to aid users and thereby prevent slips and falls in the shower and bathtub; said assist means comprising, first compressible means, grip bar section, tensile means, revolution counter, second compressible means, and covering means and sealing means, vertical support means, fitting means, release means, holding means, retaining means, entry means, and lift means integrated into a composite installation to meet the needs of the user; a) said first compressible means having first threaded means fixedly attaching to said first compressible means; said first threaded means projecting from first face of said first compressible means; second face of said first compressible means engaging a wall surface upon experiencing an axial force traversing the longitudinal axis of said first compressible means; b) said grip bar section comprising a tubular section, extending along common longitudinal axis between said first and second compressible means and passing through a circular opening in a component of said fitting means; said grip bar section having a first insert with second threaded means fixedly attaching in first extremity of said section and a second insert having second engaging means fixedly attaching in opposite extremity of said grip bar section; said first and second inserts mating with said first threaded means of said first compressible means and with said first engaging means of said second compressible means respectively; mating of said threaded and engaging means of said compressible means with said inserts of said grip bar section giving said grip bar section rotatability during installation and removal; c) said second compressible means having first engaging means fixedly attaching to said second compressible means and projecting from first face of second compressible means along a longitudinal axis common to said first and second compressible means; longitudinal axis of said compressible means being coincident with longitudinal axes of said first engaging means and said first threaded means; the second face of said second compressible means engaging a wall surface when experiencing said axial force traversing said common longitudinal axis. d) said tensile means comprising a plurality of suction cups, vacuum cups, or like means; each unit of said tensile means connecting to tensile bracket means and engaging a parallel wall surface; said bracket having an opening encircling the outer circumference of said grip bar section; said tensile brackets having mobility along said grip bar section and being removable therefrom; e) said revolution counter comprising a circular segment bracket engaging the circumference of said grip bar section to monitor the number of revolutions applied to said section during installation; said circular segment bracket having an indicator; said indicator aiding in tracking the number of revolutions of said grip bar section; f) said covering means and sealing means comprising an escutcheon encircling said tubular means, enclosing said compressible and tensile means, having a pliable seal engaging the circumference of said escutcheon; said seal providing a moisture barrier engaging a wall parallel to said covering means; g) said vertical support means comprising tubular sections connecting to grip means and lift means through fitting means, and engaging the rim of a bathtub through retaining means; h) said fitting means comprising fittings geometrically shaped and directionally oriented with longitudinal axis of tubular means, connecting tensile means to grip means, lift means to grip means and vertical support means, entry means to said grip means, and grip means to said vertical support means; said fitting means having release means decoupling said lift means and entry means from said fitting means; i) said entry means comprising a tubular section having a horizontal arm transitioning to a vertical leg; said horizontal arm removably coupling to grip means and spanning the width of the bathtub; said vertical leg engaging the bathtub rim through rim bracket; said entry means having mobility along tubular section of grip means; j) said lift means comprising a tubular section having a horizontal arm transitioning to a vertical leg; said horizontal arm removably coupling to said vertical support means; said vertical leg removably coupling to said tubular section of grip means; k) said holding means comprising tensile means and rim bracket; said tensile means connecting to said rim bracket and engaging surface of said bathtub; said rim bracket engaging bathtub rim and having a vertical projection receiving said tubular section of said entry means extending downward; said vertical projection securing said tubular section on bathtub rim along with said tensile means; l) said tensile means comprising suction means as suction cups, vacuum cups, or like means capable of expelling air trapped between face of said tensile means and a surface parallel to the face of said tensile means when a compressive force, traversing the longitudinal axis of said tensile means, causes said tensile means to grip said parallel surface; m) said retaining means comprising said retaining cover and said tensile means engaging bathtub rim; said retaining cover having a vertical projection receiving tubular section of said vertical support means and securing said vertical support means on bathtub rim jointly with said tensile means; n) said release means comprising operable mechanism mounting in said fittings to couple and decouple tubular sections from said fittings

9. The first and second compressible means set forth in claim 8 comprising disks, covered with or constructed of compressible material, suction cups, or like means capable of expelling air trapped between face of said compressible means and a parallel surface when axial force traverses the longitudinal axis common to said compressible means and said grip bar section.

10. The first and second threaded means set forth in claim 8 comprising studs and tubular inserts having mating threads for mutual engagement and rotation of aforesaid grip bar section; said first and second threaded means converting rotational energy applied to said grip bar section into said axial force traversing the longitudinal axis of said grip bar section.

11. The tensile means set forth in claim 8 comprising suction means as suction cups, vacuum cups, or like means capable of expelling air trapped between face of said tensile means and surface parallel to face of said tensile means when a compressive force, traversing the longitudinal axis of said tensile means, causes said tensile means to grip said parallel surface.

12. The first and second engaging means set forth in claim 8 comprising studs and tubular inserts respectively; each engaging means having a smooth surface for mutually engaging and aiding the rotation of aforesaid grip bar section.

13. The assist means set forth in claim 8 comprising compressible means, grip bar section, tensile means, revolution counter, and covering means and sealing means, vertical support means, fitting means, release means, holding means, retaining means, entry means, and lift means constructed for installation on a free-standing bathtub; a) said first compressible means having first threaded means fixedly attaching to said first compressible means; said first threaded means projecting from first face of said first compressible means; second face of said first compressible means engaging a wall surface upon experiencing an axial force traversing the longitudinal axis of said first compressible means; b) said grip bar section comprising a tubular section, extending along common longitudinal axis between said first and second compressible means and passing through a circular opening in a component of said fitting means; said grip bar section having a first insert with second threaded means fixedly attaching in first extremity of said section and a second insert having second engaging means fixedly attaching in opposite extremity of said grip bar section; said first and second inserts mating with said first threaded means of said first compressible means and with said first engaging means of said second compressible means respectively; mating of said threaded and engaging means of said compressible means with said inserts of said grip bar section giving said grip bar section rotatability during installation and removal; c) said grip bar section, comprising a tubular section, spanning between said parallel vertical support means; said grip bar section removably coupling to said support means through fitting means; d) said revolution counter comprising a circular segment bracket engaging the circumference of said grip bar section to monitor the number of revolutions applied to said section during installation; said circular segment bracket having an indicator; said indicator aiding in tracking the number of revolutions of said grip bar section; e) said holding means comprising tensile means and rim bracket; said tensile means connecting to said rim bracket and engaging surface of said bathtub; said rim bracket engaging bathtub rim and having a vertical projection receiving said tubular section of said entry means extending downward; said vertical projection securing said tubular section on bathtub rim along with said tensile means; f) said entry means comprising a tubular section having a horizontal arm transitioning to a vertical leg; said horizontal arm removably coupling to grip means and spanning the width of the bathtub; said vertical leg engaging the bathtub rim through rim bracket; said entry means having mobility along tubular section of grip means; g) said lift means comprising a tubular section having a horizontal arm transitioning to a vertical leg; said horizontal arm removably coupling to said vertical support means; said vertical leg removably coupling to said tubular section of grip means; h) said covering means and sealing means comprising an escutcheon encircling said tubular means, enclosing said compressible and tensile means, having a pliable seal engaging the circumference of said escutcheon; said seal providing a moisture barrier engaging a wall parallel to said covering means.

14. The compressible means set forth in claim 13 comprising disks, covered with or constructed of compressible material, suction cups, or like means capable of expelling air trapped between face of said compressible means and ceiling surface when said compressive force acts along longitudinal axis common to said compressible means and said vertical support means.

15. The first and second threaded means set forth in claim 13 comprising studs and tubular inserts having mating threads for mutual engagement and rotation of aforesaid grip bar section; said first and second threaded means converting rotational energy applied to said grip bar section into an axial compressive force traversing the longitudinal axis of said grip bar section.

16. The tensile means set forth in claim 13 comprising suction means as suction cups, vacuum cups, or like means capable of expelling air trapped between face of said tensile means and a tub surface parallel to the face of said tensile means when a compressive force, traversing the longitudinal axis of said tensile means, causes said tensile means to grip said parallel surface.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is well recognized by those who are safety conscious that falls in the home, particularly in the bathroom, are a serious problem that impacts many households. Especially are the elderly and physically disadvantaged susceptible; although the physically normal and able-bodied are also vulnerable. The American Disability Act (ADA) mandates the installation and use of grab bars in facilities that serve the physically disadvantaged. However, grab bars are also readily available to the general public for installation in private residences as an assist and fall preventive measure when bathing or showering

As practical as it is to install fixed grab bars as a deterrent to falls in bathtubs and showers, testing by an independent agency has shown that their effectiveness can be greatly reduced if improperly connected to supporting walls. In a New York State laboratory test performed by the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association (EPVA) in April 2002, only two of five types of fixed-end connectors for grab bar installations were able to sustain the minimum loading required by state codes. Although portable grab bars are available, they are really assist bars only for they cannot meet the prescribed minimum safety loadings of state codes.

Regardless of the present method used to install fixed grab bars on existing walls having face tiles, holes for the fasteners must be drilled through the tiled surface. Special tools and skill are required to achieve a neat, successful installation. Having achieved such an installation, the homeowner will be committed to the location of the bar. To move or remove the grab bar in the future would require replacing or repairing and refurbishing the tiles in order that all signs of the original installation were removed

There are also circumstances that may require the use of a grab bar for a limited period of time. Such may be the case when an individual experiences an accident or undergoes surgery. During the recovery period, the person may require a means of support in the bathtub or shower. After full recovery has been achieved, the user may then choose to have the bar relocated or removed altogether. The process accompanying this decision can result in a noticeable expense for the limited time the fixed bar was in service.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention overcomes these shortcomings and other limitations by providing assist means that do not require mechanical fasteners for installation in shower and tub/shower facilities. Therefore, the assist means are easily installed, removed or transferred from one location to another without involving mechanical fasteners in the process. The grip means part of the invention is a horizontal, rotatable grip bar extending from a first wall of a shower or tub/shower enclosure to a second wall that is opposite and generally parallel to the first wall. The grip bar parallels a third wall of the enclosure. Compressible means having significant gripping power attaches to each end of the horizontal bar and engages the first and second walls when the horizontal grip bar is rotated about its longitudinal axis. This causes the compressible means to experience a compressive axial force substantially clamping the bar between the walls engaging the compressible means. Suction means such as suction cups or vacuum cups attached to brackets encircling the grip bar are mounted perpendicular to the bar and the parallel wall. The suction cups develop tensile forces that secure the grip bar to the wall, thereby providing lateral stability to the bar when the user showers in either a shower enclosure or in a tub/shower facility.

Where the user has tub/shower accommodations but predominately bathes, the present invention includes vertical supports attached to the horizontal grip bar. The vertical supports strengthen the grip bar permitting the user to pull up from a sitting to a standing position using a lift bar attached to the grip bar and a vertical support. The vertical supports also transform the grip bar into a means capable of withstanding the safety loading prescribed by state codes for ADA compliance. Further, to aid in entering and exiting a bathtub, an entry bar attaches to the horizontal grip bar spanning across the tub and descending vertically to engage the opposite rim of the bathtub by means of a bracket.

For the user having a free-standing bathtub in an area without adjacent walls; the vertical supports extend from the rim of the bathtub to the ceiling terminating with compressible means. The horizontal grip bar connects to the vertical supports. The user also has the entry bar and the lift bar available as previously described. Thus the present invention provides users of shower and bath facilities secure means of support and assistance on entering and exiting each facility.

One of the principal objectives of the present invention is to provide assist means that can be easily assembled, installed, and removed without the use of mechanical fasteners.

Another objective is to provide user lift and support means in a tub/shower facility that meets the load requirements of state codes without the use of mechanical fasteners for attachment to supporting walls.

Another objective is to provide assist means that can be easily adjusted vertically within the enclosure.

Another objective is to provide grip means with calibrated means making the installation of the grip means independent of the varying strength of the installers.

Another objective is to provide assist means that maintain a stable support system under all required conditions.

These and other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent after considering the following detailed specification and accompanying drawings which cover a preferred embodiment wherein:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the grip means.

FIG. 2 is an elevation view of the assist means installation in a tub/shower enclosure.

FIG. 3 is an elevation view of assist means installation between the ceiling and rim of a free-standing bathtub.

FIG. 4 is a sectional view of compressible means having threaded means taken along line 4-4 in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a sectional view of compressible means having non-threaded means taken along line 5-5 in FIG. 2.

FIG. 6 is a sectional view showing a count-indicator located on tubular means.

FIG. 7 is a sectional view taken along line 7-7 in FIG. 2 showing the connection between the vertical support means and the grip bar.

FIG. 8 is a sectional view taken along line 8-8 in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 showing assembly components release means.

FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken along line 9-9 in FIG. 2 showing retaining means and partial vertical support means.

FIG. 10 is a sectional view taken along line 10-10 in FIG. 2 showing tensile means with covering means and sealing means connecting to grip bar.

FIG. 11 is a sectional view taken along lines 11-11 in FIG. 2 and FIG. 3 showing the entry bar over the bathtub.

FIG. 12 is a sectional view of holding means taken along line 12-12 in FIG. 3.

FIG. 13 is a sectional view taken along line 13-13 in FIG. 3 showing the connection between vertical support means and the horizontal grip bar.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to the views specifically, FIG. 1 shows grip means 50 constructed according to the present invention for installation in a shower enclosure and tub/shower enclosure having walls defined by numbers 19, 36, and 37 and ceiling 34 of FIG. 2. Included also in FIG. 2 is bathtub 35, with shower head 38, faucet 39, and spout 40. The grip means comprises grip bar 20 rotatively connecting to compressible means 21 shown in FIG. 2 and, more distinctly, in FIGS. 4 and 5. As shown in FIG. 4, grip bar 20 seats insert 21B; said insert having internal threads 21C to engage external threads of stud 21A; said stud being fixedly embedded in compressible means 21. Said compressible means comprises suction cups, disks, covered with or constructed of compressible material, or like means; each capable of expelling air trapped between face of said compressible means and a parallel surface and forcefully gripping said surface under the influence of an externally applied compressive force. FIGS. 1, 2 and 5 show the opposite end of grip bar 20 engaging compressible means 21 through a smooth hole 21F of insert 21E and smooth stud 21G; said inserts 21B and 21E being fixedly attached to the interior of grip bar 20 by welds or other means compatible with the material used.

In FIG. 1, intermediate between compressible means 21 on grip bar 20, and in FIG. 10; tensile brackets 22D encircle said grip bar and connect tensile means 22 to grip bar 20 by means of internal threads 22B located in said bracket means and threaded stud 22A fixedly embedded in tensile means 22. In FIG.19 tensile means 22 comprise suction means such as suction cups, vacuum cups, or like means capable of expelling air trapped between face of said tensile means and wall surface 19 and forcefully gripping wall surface 19 when said cups are pressed forcibly against said wall.

In the process of installing grip means 50 of FIG. 1, tensile means 22 of FIG. 10 are positioned and forced to engage said wall surface 19 thereby developing the tensile capacity of said suction cups. Said tensile means are movable along grip bar 20 by means of tensile brackets 22D; said brackets being secured to grip bar 20 by means of fasteners 22E after desired placement.

Following installation of tensile means 22; grip bar 20 is rotated about its longitudinal axis such that threads 21C of insert 21B in FIG. 4 securely engage said threads of stud 21A; whereas in FIG. 5, hole 21F permits insert 21E to simultaneously rotate freely on stud 21G. The rotational energy applied to grip bar 20 is converted to an axial compressive force by the threaded means of stud 21A and insert 21B; said force traversing the longitudinal axis of grip means 50. Count-indicator 26 in FIGS. 1, 2, 3 and 6, in combination with threaded stud 21A and threaded hole 21C in FIG. 4, cooperate as a mechanism assisting in numbering the revolutions of grip bar 20. The number of revolutions of said bar determines the magnitude of the axial compressive force said bar applies to compressible means 21. The value of said force is essential to forming a rigid and safe support system between said walls 36 and 37 in FIG. 2 and grip bar 20. An established relationship between the number of revolutions of grip bar 20 and the axial force applied to walls 36 and 37 in 50 in FIG. 1 relieves the installer of the responsibility of determining the number of revolutions that will consistently provide a strong and safe installation. Covering means 21D and 22C in FIGS. 4 and 10, each having sealing means 33, are placed over aforesaid compressive and tensile means completing the installation. Said covering means consists of an escutcheon having sealing means in the form of a rubber ring or similar material encircling the periphery of said escutcheon.

FIG. 2 shows the components of grip means 50 incorporated into assist means 55. Assist means 55 comprises a portion of the invention providing the means whereby a bather sitting in a tub can lift up to a standing position and exit the tub safely using means to be described. Comprising assist means 55 are said grip means 50, lift means having lift bar 32, entry means with entry bar 31, and vertical support means 27, connected through fittings, and engaging tub 35 as shown and hereafter defined.

Vertical tube 27 connects to grip bar 20 through eye fitting 23 and engages bathtub 35 through retaining means; said retaining means comprising tensile means 28 and retaining cover 29. The upper extremity of vertical tube 27 extends into a vertical section of eye fitting 23; said fitting also having an upper segment encircling the circumference and retaining grip bar 20 as shown in FIG. 7. Tensile means 28, shown generally in FIG. 2 and in greater detail in FIG. 9, being located at the lower extremity of said vertical tube 27 functions similarly to tensile means 22 in FIG. 10 to engage tub 35. Referring to FIG. 9, tensile means 28 of said retaining means engages retaining cover 29 through the external threads of stud 28A mating with internal threads of hole 29A. Tensile means 28 and retaining cover 29 of said retaining means provide vertical and lateral stability to vertical support 27 atop bathtub 35.

Lift means shown in FIG. 2 comprises lift bar 32 and tee fittings 25; said fittings connect said lift bar to horizontal grip bar 20 and vertical support means 27. As shown in FIG. 8, tee fitting 25 secures buttons 25A, locking lift bar 32 to grip bar 20. The operation of spring 25C in combination with push buttons 25A and retainers 25B releases said lift bar. When buttons 25A are pushed into the cavity of lift bar 32, said lift bar becomes separated from tee fitting 25 and removable from assist means 55. Aforesaid components, buttons 25A, retainers 25B, and spring 25C of FIG. 8 define the release means providing coupling and decoupling means for the preferred embodiment.

For a user needing assistance entering and exiting bathtub 35; entry means shown in FIGS. 2, 3 and 11, including entry bar 31, tee fitting 25, tensile means 28, and rim bracket 30, comprise a segment of the present invention for that purpose. FIG. 11 shows the horizontal section of entry bar 31 engaging tee fitting 25 and being secured by buttons 25A of release means shown in FIG. 8 and described previously. As shown in FIG. 12 the lower extremity of said bar 31 enters into and bears on rim bracket 30 and tensile means 28; said rim bracket in FIG. 11 grasps the rim of bathtub 35 to provide stability in concert with tensile means 28; said tensile means engaging the rim of tub 35 in the manner of a suction cup thereby providing vertical and longitudinal stability to entry bar 31. Rim bracket 30 connects with tensile means 28 through threaded stud 28A embedded in tensile means 28; external threads of said stud mating with internal threads of hole 30A of rim bracket 30 in FIG. 12. Rim bracket 30 and tensile means 28, in combination, designated as holding means.

Assist means 60 in FIG. 3 is constructed according to the present invention and configured for vertical support 43 to engage ceiling 34 and bathtub 35. Said bathtub, being free-standing, does not permit grip bar 20 to engage walls as in FIG. 2. Assist means 60 comprises vertical supports 43, having compressible means 21, as in FIGS. 3 and 4, attaching to upper extremity of said members 43 and engaging ceiling 34. FIG. 12 shows the lower extremity of vertical support 43 residing in and bearing on rim bracket 30 and tensile means 28. Said rim bracket engages the rim of bathtub 35, as shown in FIG. 3, to provide lateral stability in conjunction with tensile means 28; said tensile means providing vertical and longitudinal stability to vertical support 43, in particular, and to assist means 60, in general. FIG. 12 shows the relationship between rim bracket 30 and tensile means 28. Said rim bracket connects with tensile means 28 through external threads of stud 28A embedded in said tensile means and engages internal threads of hole 30A of rim bracket 30 as heretofore described.

FIG. 13 shows the connectivity between grip bar 20 and vertical support 43, by means of tee fitting 25. Said vertical support passes continuously through the vertically open segment of tee fitting 25 while said grip bar terminates in the open horizontal segment of said fitting means. Tee fitting 25 permits decoupling of grip bar 20 and support means 43 through pin assembly components 25A through 25C in FIG. 8, as heretofore described. Grip bar 20, shown in FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 comprises a tubular section formed from metallic or plastic material having structural rigidity and strength.

During the installation process vertical support 43, having compressive means 21 attaching to its upper extremity, is rotated about its vertical axis such that internal threads 21C of insert 21B, shown in FIG. 4, rotatively engage external threads of stud 21A; whereas FIG. 12 shows the lower extremity of said vertical support simultaneously rotating freely inside the smooth vertical component of rim bracket 30. Count-indicator 26 in FIGS. 1, 2, 3, and 6, threaded stud 21A, and threaded hole 21C in FIG. 4, cooperate to assist in tracking the number of revolutions of vertical support 43. Controlling the number of revolutions assures the proper axial compressive force in vertical support 43. The relationship between the number of revolutions of said vertical support 43 and the axial force developed between tensile means 28 and compressive means 21 relieves the installer from the sole responsibility of determining what is a strong and safe installation. Covering means 21D in FIG. 4 and FIG. 5, having sealing means 33, is placed over compressive means 21 when the installation of assist means 60 is complete. Said sealing means 33, being of flexible composition, seals off the contact surface inside of cover 21D from moisture.

Entry means having bar 31, and lift means having bar 32, in assist means 60 are identical in construction and performance to said entry means and said lift means heretofore described in assist means 55.

It is preferred that the materials of construction for the preferred embodiment be rust and corrosion proof such as galvanized steel, stainless steel, plastic and rubber; each capable of providing the required characteristics for the specific use.

Thus there has been shown and described assist means which fulfills all the objects and advantages sought after. Many changes modifications, variations and other uses and applications of the invention will, however, become apparent to those skilled in the art after considering this specification and accompanying drawings. All such changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention are deemed to be covered by the invention which is limited only by the claims which follow.