Title:
LIFTING DEVICE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for lifting a person from a supine position into a raised supine position or sitting posture. The device comprises at least one U-shaped inflatable structure which defines a hollow and a flexible membrane which is attachable to the device. The membrane is extendable over at least a portion of the hollow to provide a support surface for the person.



Inventors:
Garman, David Edmond Talbot (Presteigne, GB)
Application Number:
12/191996
Publication Date:
03/12/2009
Filing Date:
08/14/2008
Assignee:
Mangar International Limited (Presteigne, GB)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/706, 5/715
International Classes:
A47C27/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LIU, JONATHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KILPATRICK TOWNSEND & STOCKTON LLP (Atlanta, GA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A device for lifting a person from a supine position into a raised supine position or sitting posture, said device comprising at least one U-shaped inflatable structure defining a hollow and a flexible membrane attachable to the device, wherein said membrane is extendable over at least a portion of the hollow to provide a support surface for the person.

2. A device as claimed in claim 1, in which the device is provided with at least one U-shaped rigid frame.

3. A device as claimed in claim 2, wherein an uppermost surface of the inflatable structure is provided with a U-shaped frame.

4. A device as claimed in claim 2, wherein the U-shaped frame lies in the same plane as the uppermost surface of the inflatable structure when inflated.

5. A device as claimed in claim 2, wherein the frame is releasably attached to the inflatable structure.

6. A device as claimed in claim 2, wherein the flexible membrane is releasably attached to the frame.

7. A device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the flexible membrane is provided with an aperture so that a bedpan placed under the device may be used by a person on the device.

8. A device as claimed in claim 2, wherein the device further comprises a rigid element which is releasably attachable to the open end of the U-shaped frame to enable a rectangular frame to be configured.

9. A device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the at least one U-shaped inflatable structure is cylindrical in cross section when inflated.

10. A device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the at least one U-shaped inflatable structure is provided internally with one or more membranes extending vertically between upper and lower wall portions.

11. A device as claimed in claim 10, wherein the at least one U-shaped inflatable structure is generally oval in cross section when fully inflated.

12. A device as claimed in claim 1, wherein the device comprises a stack of two or more U-shaped inflatable structures, positioned one on top of each other.

13. A device as claimed in claim 12, wherein adjacent inflatable structures in the stack are welded to each other.

14. A device as claimed in claim 12, wherein the frame is mounted to an upper surface of the uppermost structure in the stack.

15. A device as claimed in claim 1, further comprising a collapsible back support which can be erected to provide additional support to the patient seated in a sitting posture in the device.

16. A device as claimed in claim 1 wherein a U-shaped frame is attached to a base of the device.

Description:

BACKGROUND

This invention relates to apparatus for raising and lowering persons. More specifically the invention relates to a device for raising a person from a supine position into a supine or sitting posture. Further, the invention relates to a device for raising a person from a supine position in a bed into a sitting position.

This invention has been devised primarily for use for assisting disabled, injured or infirm persons who need to be raised in bed into a sitting or supine posture.

Such persons may be manually lifted from a supine position in a bed by nurses and/or helpers, however this often requires more than one nurse/helper. The nurses/helpers face significant risk of injury in lifting a patient, particularly if the patient is heavy.

It is known to use hydraulic or actuator powered hoists alongside a bed to lift such persons, however this equipment is not always available and can be cumbersome and heavy to use, particularly in domiciliary surroundings.

It is also known to use pneumatic cushions to ease bed patients into a sitting posture, however these are difficult to place under a patient and preclude the use of a bedpan.

BRIEF SUMMARY

It is an object of the present invention to provide a device for raising a person from a supine position into a raised supine position, or sitting posture which overcomes, or at least obviates the problems associated with the known methods and devices.

According to the invention there is a provided a device for lifting a person from a supine position into a raised supine position or sitting posture, said device comprising at least one U-shaped inflatable structure having a hollow and a flexible membrane attachable to the device, wherein said membrane is extendable over at least a portion of the hollow to provide a support surface for the person.

Preferably, the device is provided with at least one U-shaped frame. More preferably an uppermost surface of the inflatable structure is provided with a U-shaped frame. The U-shaped frame lies in the same plane as the uppermost surface of the inflatable structure when inflated.

The frame may be releasably attached to the inflatable structure.

The flexible membrane is preferably releasably attached to the frame. More preferably, the flexible membrane is provided with an aperture so that a bedpan placed under the device may be used by a person on the device. Additionally, a U-shaped frame may be attached to the base of the device to give the device extra stability.

More preferably the frame is provided with a rigid element to enable a rectangular frame to be configured. The element may be added to the frame once the person is seated in the device to provide a safety bar across the person. Preferably, the inflatable structure comprises a stack of U-shaped structures welded to each other.

More preferably the at least one U shaped inflatable structure is cylindrical or oval with the addition of one or more vertical membranes in cross section.

Additionally, the device may be provided with a collapsible back support which can be erected to provide additional support to the patient seated in a sitting posture in the device.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The device will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the following drawings in which:

FIGS. 1a to 1d show perspective and cross sectional views of the device according to the invention,

FIGS. 2a and 2b show perspective views of the uppermost surface of the device,

FIGS. 3a to 3f show the device in use on a bed, and

FIGS. 4a to 4c show the device lifting a person into a sitting posture.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1a to 1c show a lifting device 1 comprising a stack of four inflatable U-shaped tubular structures 2 and a flexible support membrane 3. FIGS. 1a to 1c show perspective views and cross sectional views of the device 1 along the line XX. The inflatable structures 2 may be made of a plastics material and are welded, or otherwise attached together. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1a to 1c, the inflatable structures 2 are circular in cross section. FIG. 1d shows an alternative construction giving a flatter profile to the tubular structure. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1d, each inflatable structure has a membrane 2a extending vertically between the upper and lower wall surfaces at the mid-point so as to give the structure a generally oval, almost figure of 8 profile in cross section.

The device 1 is provided with a U-shaped frame work 4 which is releasably attached to the uppermost inflatable structure 2. The frame work 4 comprises three rigid elements which are connected together to form a U shaped framework. The frame work 4 is releasably attached to the uppermost inflatable structure 2 by sliding the elements between cuffs 5 provided on the structure 2.

The flexible support membrane 3 is attached to two opposing elements of the frame work 4 so that it hangs in the hollow of the structures when the device 1 is fully inflated. The membrane 3 is provided with an aperture 6 so that when a person is supported on the device 1 a bedpan can be placed under the person.

FIGS. 2a and 2b show the U-shaped frame work 4 attached by a series of cuffs 5 to the uppermost inflatable structure 2. A fourth element 6 is shown being attached to the frame work 4 to form a rectangular frame work 7. When the device 1 is inflated and a person is seated in the device 1, element 6 can provide a safety bar to prevent the person falling from the device.

FIGS. 3a to 3f show use of the device 1 for raising a person 8 in a supine position on a bed 9. The membrane 3 may be removed from the frame work 4 as shown in FIG. 3b and placed under the person 8. The device 1 is pulled, open end first from the feet of the person so that the membrane can be attached to the frame work 4. When the device is under the person as shown in FIG. 3c, the inflatable structures 2 may be inflated one by one until the desired height is reached. In FIG. 3e, the frame work 4 is moved relative to the inflatable structure 2 to provide a greater support surface area for supporting the person 8 in the supine position. The person can then be returned to the supine position on the bed by deflating the device 1 and removing the device 1 from the bed.

If the device 1 is slid, open end first from the head towards the feet of a person, the device can be used to lift a person from a supine position to a sitting position. As shown in FIGS. 4a to 4c, the membrane 3 is detached and placed under the person 8. The device 1 is then slid from the head of the person 8 towards the membrane 3. After attaching the membrane 3 to the frame work 4 the inflatable structures 2 are sequentially inflated until the desired height is required. Since the person 8 is seated in the hollow of the device 1, the person is lifted into a sitting posture as the device is inflated and supported by the inflatable structures 2. If further back support is required as shown in FIGS. 4b and 4c, a back rest comprising a rigid support structure 12 may be attached to the frame work 4. Rigid element 6 can then be added to the frame work 4 to provide a safety bar across the person 8.

To return the person to a supine position, the device 1 may be slowly deflated and the rigid element 6 removed.

The device described herein can be compacted and folded easily for storage. It also has the advantage that it is very light to carry, can be made ready for use very quickly and can be used in confined spaces inaccessible to conventional lifting apparatus.

While the invention has been described by way of example and in terms of the various embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the disclosed embodiments. To the contrary, it is intended to cover various modifications and similar arrangements as would be apparent to those skilled in the art. Therefore, the scope of the appended claims should be accorded the broadest interpretation so as to encompass all such modifications and similar arrangements.