Title:
Flexible Spout for a Portable Urinal
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A urinal includes a urine receiving reservoir and a spout extending therefrom for receiving urine. In a preferred embodiment, the spout may be composed of a bendable resilient material and the reservoir may be composed of the same resilient material. A method of modifying a standard portable urinal by replacing the supplied cap with a flexible extender spout is also disclosed.



Inventors:
Davis, Zandra A. (Milwaukee, WI, US)
Young, Nicole D. (Milwaukee, WI, US)
Dickinson, Venus V. (Milwaukee, WI, US)
Riley, Narda N. (Milwaukee, WI, US)
Application Number:
12/135755
Publication Date:
01/15/2009
Filing Date:
06/09/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
4/144.1
International Classes:
A47K11/12
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
CRANE, LAUREN ASHLEY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JOSEPH S. HEINO, ESQ. (MILWAUKEE, WI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A flexible supplemental spout, for use with a portable urinal, comprising: a spout body made of a flexible material; a position holding device interfacing the spout body, wherein the position holding device temporarily holds the spout body in a fixed position, allowing a user to select a desired use position for the flexible supplemental spout.

2. The flexible supplemental spout of claim 1, wherein the position holding device includes flexible ridges, facilitating positioning of the spout body at a selected angle.

3. The flexible supplemental spout of claim 1, wherein the flexible supplemental spout can self-support in multiple selected angles, defining multiple use positions that can be selected by a user.

4. The flexible supplemental spout of claim 3, wherein a first end of the supplemental spout is removably attached to an integral spout provided on the portable urinal.

5. The flexible supplemental spout of claim 4, wherein the first end of the supplemental spout threadedly attaches to the integral spout of the portable urinal.

6. The flexible supplemental spout of claim 5, wherein a second end of the supplemental spout includes threads for receiving a cap thereon.

7. The flexible supplemental spout of claim 1, wherein the portable urinal includes a body portion with multiple flat surfaces and the flexible supplemental spout can be adjusted to multiple desired use positions that accommodate supporting the portable urinal by different ones of the multiple flat surfaces without spilling contents of the portable urinal.

8. The flexible supplemental spout of claim 1, wherein the flexible supplemental spout is removably attached to an integral spout provided on the portable urinal with a collar that concentrically holds a first end of the supplemental spout.

9. A urinal comprising: a urinal body portion defining a reservoir therein and a length thereof; a flexible spout connected to the urinal body portion and defining a spout length, wherein the spout length is variable between a first relatively shorter length and a second relatively longer length.

10. The urinal of claim 9, wherein the flexible spout is formed of a resilient material and includes flexible ridges such that the spout may be positioned at a selected angle.

11. The urinal of claim 10, wherein the flexible spout is self supporting at the selected angle.

12. The urinal of claim 11, wherein the flexible spout is integrally formed with the urinal body portion.

13. The urinal of claim 10, wherein the urinal body portion is formed of the same material as the flexible spout.

14. The urinal of claim 10, wherein when the flexible spout defines the first relatively shorter length, the first relatively shorter length is less than about two-thirds of the length of the urinal body portion.

15. The urinal of claim 10, wherein when the flexible spout defines the second relatively longer length, the second relatively longer length is greater than about two-thirds of the length of the urinal body portion.

16. The urinal of claim 10, wherein when the flexible spout defines the first relatively shorter length, the first relatively shorter length is less than about one-half of the length of the urinal body portion.

17. The urinal of claim 10, wherein when the flexible spout defines the second relatively longer length, the second relatively longer length is greater than about one-half of the length of the urinal body portion.

18. A urinal comprising: a urinal body defining a reservoir therein; a flexible spout connected to the urinal body, wherein the flexible spout is angularly adjustable and self-supporting in multiple transverse directions with respect to a longitudinal axis of the flexible spout.

19. The urinal of claim 18, wherein the flexible spout is longitudinally adjustable, defining a variable length.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/942,512, filed on Jun. 7, 2007, the entity of which is expressly incorporated by reference herein in its entirety for all purposes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates in general to urinary devices and more particularly to an improved personal urinal for collecting and storing the urine of a non-ambulatory or otherwise immobile patient.

2. Discussion of the Related Art

Portable male urinals for use by bed-ridden patients or people who otherwise have a need for a urinal are well known in the art. One such commonly used style of urinal includes a urine receiving reservoir for holding and/or storing urine and a spout extending from or located a distance away from the reservoir. The spout includes an inlet through which the urine is received. A cap may or may not be provided with the urinal.

A long recognized problem associated with portable male urinals is undesirable spillage of the urine following use of the urinal due to, for example, mishandling of the urinal. Backflow or spillage can result in the urine coming into contact with the patient or the bed, which in turn can cause unsanitary health conditions and result in the increased risk for further medical problems, such as infections. In addition, the workload of caretakers is increased due to the need for cleaning the patient and changing the bedding following any such spillage of urine. Bedridden patients have also been known to leave the urinal on the bed following use and then inadvertently contact it and cause it to spill.

Accordingly, numerous attempts have been made at improving portable male urinals to overcome such problems. The below-referenced U.S. patents disclose embodiments of various such urinals. The disclosures of these United States patents are hereby incorporated by reference into the present application for purposes including, but not limited to, indicating the background of the present invention and illustrating the state of the art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 2,358,850 discloses a male urinal having a tubular trap inserted therein and connected to the urinal container by screw threads so as to minimize leakage of liquid from the container. The tubular trap must be removed before use and then reinserted following each use. Both U.S. Pat. Nos. 703,131 and 4,164,795 disclose a rotating nozzle arrangement for an inlet tube which is inserted into a urine container or collector. In both patents, rotation of the nozzle elements aids in resisting the undesired discharge of the contents of the container or collector. Backflow or spillage can still occur when attempting to place the urinal into its closed position. Spillage can also occur if the urinal is not closed after use.

In a different type of arrangement, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,592,699 and 6,021,529 disclose devices for use in association with a urinal. These devices include a non-return valve to insure that urine can only pass in one direction, i.e., from the funnel (female urinal) or spout (male urinal) area of the device into a urine reservoir, but not out of the reservoir. The addition of a one-way valve to a urinal may appear to be a solution to the problem. However, such valves have been known to fail which, in a worst case scenario, would cause the entire reservoir contents to spill on or near the unsuspecting caregiver and/or patient. Further, the addition of a one-way valve increases the cost of the urinal, which may directly affect the decision to purchase the urinals.

Other potentially relevant patents include U.S. Pat. No. Re. 28,278, which discloses a simple disposable plastic urinal formed by a blow molding operation for use by bed-ridden patients in a hospital or the like, and U.S. Pat. No. 6,021,529 which discloses a disposable plastic urinal with a flexible extender spout and integral urine-receiving reservoir formed of blow molded plastic.

SUMMARY AND OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is intended to meet the above-identified needs not met by the prior art. Specifically, one aspect of the present invention provides a portable, optionally disposable, male urinal that will resist and reduce undesirable spillage of urine, particularly following use of the urinal by a patient confined to a bed.

In one aspect, according to a preferred embodiment, a portable disposable male urinal includes a urine receiving reservoir, within a urinal body, for receiving and temporarily holding the urine. The reservoir includes a handle and a removable spout extension, e.g., a supplemental flexible spout attachment extending therefrom, wherein the spout has a first end with an inlet for receiving the urine and a second end designed to be secured to the reservoir by friction fit, snap fit, or by threading the attachment to the spout or other suitable means. Preferably, the spout extends upwardly at an incline from the reservoir to facilitate gravitational flow into the urinal. In one embodiment, the supplemental flexible spout is formed of a flexible bellows-type material such that the spout may be adjusted to provide a better conforming spout.

Preferably, the urinal body and the supplemental flexible spout attachment extending therefrom are formed from a plastic material. The use of a plastic material to form the urinal body and supplemental flexible spout allow for the urinal to be produced at a low cost, potentially low enough to allow the urinal to be disposable. The plastic material is preferably transparent to allow visual inspection of the quantity, clarity, and color of the urine contained in the reservoir. The urinal body may further include a drain for emptying the reservoir or withdrawing a urine specimen from the urinal. Handle means may also be provided on the urinal body to aid in the handling and transporting of the urinal.

The supplemental flexible spout attachment is preferably formed from a bendable resilient material to allow the supplemental flexible spout to be fixedly positioned at various angles. This enables the urinal of the present invention to be used more easily by a patient confined to bed while providing an increased level of protection against accidental spillage. This additional protection is provided by virtue of the supplemental flexible spout attachment providing a relatively higher and narrower opening as is provided by conventional urinals. The supplemental flexible spout attachment also helps ensure a user will not be able to confine the urine discharge to the urinal when using it.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a supplemental flexible spout attachment can be used with a typical disposable urinal already in use. This permits a caregiver to provide an increase in protection against spilled urine to address recurring problems with the same patient. Because the supplemental flexible spout attachments in some embodiments are not integrally formed with the urinal, the attachment(s) can be used or not, as personal preference dictates. This will enable hospitals and nursing homes to continue purchasing and using the disposable urinals they are most familiar with.

In some implementations, the urinal body includes multiple flat surfaces and the generous adjustability and self supporting functionality of the flexible supplemental spout allow for (i) supporting the urinal body on any of its multiple flat surfaces, and (ii) adjusting the flexible supplemental spout, based on the particular downwardly facing flat surface of the urinal body, to mitigate the likelihood of spillage while the urinal body rests on that particular surface.

In some implementations, the flexible supplemental spout is angularly adjustable and also can be longitudinally extended or contracted, whereby it is also lengthwise adjustable. The particular length of the flexible supplemental spout is selected based on a variety of factors, depending on the desired overall configuration of the urinal. For example, when the flexible supplemental spout is in a longitudinally contracted configuration, its length can be less than about two-thirds, one-half, or other fraction, of a length of the urinal body. Furthermore, when the flexible supplemental spout is in a longitudinally extended configuration, its length can be greater than about two-thirds, one-half, or other fraction, of a length of the urinal body.

These and other aspects and objects of the present invention will be better appreciated and understood when considered in conjunction with the following description and the accompanying drawings. It should be understood, however, that the following description, while indicating preferred embodiments of the present invention, is given by way of illustration and not of limitation. Many changes and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention without departing from the spirit thereof, and the invention includes all such modifications.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A clear conception of the advantages and features constituting the present invention, and of the construction and operation of typical mechanisms provided with the present invention, will become more readily apparent by referring to the exemplary, and therefore non-limiting, embodiments illustrated in the drawings accompanying and forming a part of this specification, wherein like reference numerals designate the same elements in the several views, and in which:

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a conventional disposable urinal appropriately labeled “PRIOR ART.”

FIG. 2 is an isometric view of a first embodiment of a portable urinal with a flexible extender spout constructed in accordance with one aspect of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is another isometric view of the portable urinal with a flexible extender spout of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 4 is another isometric view of the urinal of FIG. 2.

In describing the embodiment of the invention which is illustrated in the drawings, specific terminology will be resorted to for the sake of clarity. However, it is not intended that the invention be limited to the specific terms so selected and it is to be understood that each specific term includes all technical equivalents which operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose. For example, the word connected, attached, or terms similar thereto are often used. They are not limited to direct connection but include connection through other elements where such connection is recognized as being equivalent by those skilled in the art.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention and the various features and advantageous details thereof are explained more fully with reference to the non-limiting embodiments described in detail in the following description.

Specific embodiments of the present invention will now be further described by the following, non-limiting examples which will serve to illustrate various features of significance. The examples are intended merely to facilitate an understanding of ways in which the present invention may be practiced and to further enable those of skill in the art to practice the present invention. Accordingly, the examples should not be construed as limiting the scope of the present invention.

FIG. 1 discloses a prior art disposable urinal. This urinal is described in more detail in U.S. Pat. No. Re. 28,278 to Borse. In FIG. 1, a disposable urinal 10 includes a main body, or reservoir, 16, a neck, or spout, 17 extending from the upper part of the reservoir 16 and terminating in an inlet, or opening, 18 and a handle 19. A cap 20 is lockable onto the handle 19 by means of a loop 21 attached to the cap 20. The loop 21 is designed such that the handle 19 is inserted through the loop 21 prior to placing the cap 20 on the spout 18. When the cap 20 is removed from the spout 17, the cap 20 remains attached to the handle 19 via the loop 21.

The urinal 10 has a flat bottom 22 for sitting the urinal 10 in an upright position such as on a table or bed. The back side 24 of the urinal 10 is also preferably flat for the same reasons. The spout 17 preferably extends upwardly at an incline from the reservoir 16 to provide for gravitational flow of the urine from the inlet 18 into the reservoir 16.

While the prior art urinal design is widely used for male patients in hospitals and nursing homes, it does have its drawbacks. Most notable is the undesirable spillage of urine due to the mishandling of the urinal 10 or by a patient missing the urinal altogether when attempting to use the urinal 10. Mishandling of the urinal 10 may be a result of a bedridden patient leaving the urinal 10 on the bed following use and then inadvertently bumping or tipping the urinal 10 such that the patient's urine is spilled onto the patient, the bed, or even a healthcare worker. Urine spillage could result in unsanitary health conditions and the increased risk for further medical problems, such as infections. Furthermore, if urine is spilled, the bed linens need to be changed further burdening scarce healthcare resources.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, FIGS. 2-4 disclose a preferred embodiment of a portable, optionally disposable, urinal 110. Similar to the prior art urinal, the portable urinal 110 generally includes a main body portion 116 having a reservoir therein, spout 117, an opening 118, and a handle 119. The body portion 116 and associated features are commonly used in hospitals and nursing homes and are available for purchase from common medical supply companies.

The urinal 110 of the preferred embodiment further includes an ancillary or supplemental spout 130 that extends from the integral reservoir spout 117, providing a flexible columnar extension therefrom. The supplemental spout 130 is designed to be placed on the integral reservoir spout 117 forming a watertight seal between the body portion 116 and supplemental spout 130. In one embodiment of the present invention, the extender spout assembly 130 is sold and marketed as an improved replacement cap for standard urinals. In another embodiment, the urinal 110 comes pre-packaged as a kit with the extender spout assembly 130.

Supplemental spout 130 is preferably formed of a bendable resilient material, for example, various suitable polymeric and/or elastomeric materials, and has a spout body portion and at least one position holding device cooperating therewith.

The position holding device(s) include a variety of structures that are capable of temporarily fixing the spout body portion in a desired use position, for example, one that is selected by the user. Exemplary of suitable holding devices for use with supplemental spout 130 include, but are not limited to, metallic, certain polymeric, or any of a variety of resilient materials that can be manipulated by a user and then hold such manipulated position or orientation for a desired use time. Such materials can be incorporated into the spout body itself, or can sleeve the outside or inside of the spout body, or otherwise axially or radially interface the spout body to facilitate its temporary fixation in a desired, self supporting position.

In some implementations, the holding devices allow for longitudinal adjustment, e.g., provide the supplemental spout 130 with a variable length dimension. Some implementations also allow for angular adjustability, e.g., transversely with respect to a longitudinal axis of the supplemental spout 130. Such embodiments that facilitate both longitudinal and transverse adjustability of the spout 130 are seen in FIGS. 2-4.

Still referring to FIGS. 2-4, the holding devices can be implemented as, e.g., flexible ridges or bellows, 132. Each fold or segment of the ridges 132 defines a segment which can be partially or totally extended or compressed, e.g., at least partially longitudinally. In this configuration, the highly adjustable segments of ridges 132, provide continuously or infinitely variable positional adjustability to the supplemental spout 130.

In use, the flexible ridges 132 allow the supplemental spout 130 to be positioned at various angles in order to better accommodate use of the urinal 110 based upon the patient's particular needs. The ridges 132 may be formed on the exterior and/or interior of the supplemental spout 130, but preferably are formed on the exterior only with the interior remaining smooth. The smooth interior wall does not disrupt the flow of urine into the body portion 116 and thus, permits a male patient to urinate in the urinal 110 and supplemental spout 130 more comfortably. Furthermore, the supplemental spout 130 is easily grasped, further facilitating the use of the urinal 110 by a patient.

The body portion 116 and supplemental spout 130 are preferably formed of low-cost plastic material to provide for an inexpensively produced urinal 110. The preferred material also provides a flexible, yet slightly rigid structure to the body portion 116 and supplemental spout 130 so as to prevent crushing or distortion of the body portion 116 and allowing the supplemental spout 130 to remain positioned angularly for subsequent use. Preferably, the urinal 110 is transparent to provide a visual indication of the amount of urine contained within the body portion 116.

Once the urine is received in the body portion 116, the flexible extender supplemental spout 130 helps prevent the urine from flowing out of the new opening 134. One reason for this is that the extender supplemental spout 130 effectively raises the height of the opening 134. If the urinal 110 is accidentally bumped causing the urine to splash inside, the urine inside would not have enough energy to rise to the height of the opening 134. Furthermore, an easily opened cap (not shown) could be provided to be placed over the opening 134 of the supplemental spout 130. This increases the effective capacity of the standard urinal body portion 116, thereby requiring less frequent emptying. Once the body portion 116 is filled with urine, a caretaker can pour the urine out through the raised opening 134, rinse out the urinal 110, and return it to the patient.

Although referred to as “supplemental,” it is noted that the supplemental spout 130 can actually be an integral component of the urinal 110, for example, an integral extension of, optionally in lieu of, the integral reservoir spout 117. In other words, in some embodiments of the present invention, the flexible extender supplemental spout 130 is integrally formed with the body portion 116 such that the supplemental spout 130 may not be removed from the body portion 116. The urinal of this embodiment is used in the same manner as the standard disposable urinal. When the body portion 116 has been filled with urine, a caretaker empties the urinal in a toilet through the supplemental spout 130. The urinal can then be rinsed out and returned to the patient or disposed of, at the caretaker's discretion.

Although the best mode contemplated by the inventors of carrying out the present invention is disclosed above, practice of the present invention is not limited thereto. It will be manifest that various additions, modifications, and rearrangements of the features of the present invention may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the underlying inventive concept. In addition, the individual components need not be fabricated from the disclosed materials, but could be fabricated from virtually any suitable materials.

It is intended that the appended claims cover all such additions, modifications, and rearrangements. Expedient embodiments of the present invention are differentiated by the appended claims.