Title:
DISPOSABLE HOSPITAL CURTAIN SYSTEM WITH SLIDING CURTAIN CARRIERS FOR SNAP-IN INSTALLATION ON EXISTING CEILING TRACKS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An improved disposable privacy curtain system for use in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities is disclosed. The disposable privacy curtain system includes a disposable curtain packaged and sold with novel pre-attached sliding carriers affixed to the top edge thereof that are adapted for rapid, snap-in engagement with existing ceiling tracks thereby allowing for rapid removal and replacement of the curtain system. A disposable hospital curtain in accordance with the present invention comprises sheet-like material formed as a generally rectangular panel with vertical fold lines that permit the panel to be drawn between to a compact stowed configuration wherein the curtain is disposed in a pleated and/or folded configuration, and an extended deployed configuration wherein the curtain is extended. In a preferred embodiment, the disposable hospital curtain is fabricated from non-woven polypropylene treated with an antimicrobial agent and a flame retardant.



Inventors:
Robledo, Susana (Hialeah, FL, US)
Application Number:
12/843477
Publication Date:
01/26/2012
Filing Date:
07/26/2010
Assignee:
ROBLEDO SUSANA
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47H3/06
View Patent Images:
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Foreign References:
DE3707133A11988-09-15
DE3108832A11982-10-14
CH657511A51986-09-15
Primary Examiner:
JOHNSON, BLAIR M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Malin Haley DiMaggio & Bowen, P.A. (FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A disposable privacy curtain system for attachment to an existing track, said disposable privacy curtain comprising: a disposable privacy curtain having an upper edge; a plurality of sliding curtain carriers connected in spaced relation along said upper edge; each of said plurality of sliding curtain carrier including a generally V-shaped top portion, a mid-portion forming clip integrally formed with said top portion, and a hook connected to said clip and in swiveling relation therewith; said V-shaped top portion including a pair of opposing resilient arms, each arm defining an inward notch and having an upper end portion defining an outwardly projecting flange; each flange having a bottom surface defining front and rear beveled bottom edges.

2. A disposable privacy curtain system according to claim 1, wherein said hook includes a generally cylindrical neck and a generally spherical head connected to said neck, said neck in rotatable engagement with said clip.

3. A disposable privacy curtain system for use with an existing track, said curtain system comprising: a disposable curtain having an upper edge; a plurality of sliding curtain carriers connected in spaced relation along said upper edge; each carrier includes a generally V-shaped top portion, a mid-portion forming clip integrally formed with said top portion, and a hook connected to said clip and in swiveling relation therewith; said V-shaped top portion including a pair of opposing resilient arms, each having an upper end portion defining an inwardly recessed notch and an outwardly projecting flange having a bottom surface, said bottom surface having front and rear beveled ends; said opposing resilient arms configurable from a normal configuration to a closely spaced configuration upon application of a compressive force; said hook including a generally cylindrical neck and a generally spherical head connected to said neck, said neck in rotatable engagement with said clip; each of said plurality of sliding curtain carriers adapted for insertion into the track upon application of a compressive force to position said opposing resilient arms in the closely spaced configuration whereby removal of said compressive force allows said opposing resilient arms to return to the normal configuration whereby said outwardly projecting flanges become slidably supported by the track.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

N/A

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

N/A

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

A portion of the disclosure of this patent document contains material that is subject to copyright protection. The copyright owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by anyone of the patent document or patent disclosure as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records, but otherwise reserves all copyrights rights whatsoever.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates primarily to hanging curtain systems, and more particularly to a disposable hospital curtain system including pre-attached sliding carriers adapted for quick snap-in installation on existing ceiling tracks.

2. Description of Related Art

A hospital curtain or cubical curtain is a dividing cloth used in medical environments to provide a private enclosure for one or more patients. Most hospital cubical curtains are constructed of flexible fabric sections that are suspended from ceiling tracks by slidable carriers. Examples of hospital curtains are seen in U.S. Pat. No. 4,377,195 (ventilating curtain), and published application US 2007/0261803 (detachable hospital curtain). Since the maintenance of sanitary conditions in hospital environments is critical, disposable curtains have been developed. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 7,523,778, issued to Roberts et al. discloses a disposable curtain system including a washable mesh upper curtain and a disposable curtain located in the installation bag; and a plurality of connectors to removably suspend the disposable curtain from the upper curtain.

There are a number of carrier structures in use hanging curtains from ceiling tracks. U.S. Pat. No. 4,229,857, issued to Toder, discloses a dual wheel carrier for use in conjunction with a curtain track. U.S. Pat. No. 4,729,148, issued to Levy, discloses a wheeled track-mounted carrier for suspending shower curtains. U.S. Pat. No. 5,555,603, issued to Chester, discloses a sliding curtain clip and guide track made of resilient plastic material. The clip includes a hook at the lower end, and three upwardly projecting arms that are sized and shaped for sliding engagement with a specially configured ceiling track. U.S. Pat. No. 6,925,681, issued to Lin, discloses a vehicle curtain lock wherein a generally spherical sliding body is received within a U-shaped track. U.S. Pat. No. 5,609,197, issued to Liao, discloses an apparatus for hanging curtains including a track having a side groove, and a plurality of carrier slides each having a projecting block slidably inserted in the sliding groove. Hooks are fastened to round holes in the slides for supporting a curtain. U.S. Pat. No. 6,409,415, issued to Toder, discloses a hanger clip adapted to connect a ceiling grid strip with a curtain track. The clip is capable of selective rotation with respect to the grid strip of 90° without becoming disengaged.

The hospital curtain systems present in the art are burdened by a number of significant limitations and disadvantages. One such limitation involves the use of complex and inefficient curtain carrier and ceiling track systems that have proven unreliable. Another disadvantage, involves the use of curtain carriers that are difficult to replace upon failure. Accordingly, there exists a need in the art for improvements in the field of hospital privacy curtain technology.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention overcomes the limitations and disadvantages present in the art by providing an improved disposable privacy curtain system for use in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. A disposable privacy curtain system in accordance with the present invention includes a disposable curtain packaged and sold with novel pre-attached sliding carriers affixed to the top edge thereof and adapted for rapid, snap-in engagement with existing ceiling tracks thereby allowing for rapid removal and replacement of curtain systems. A disposable hospital curtain in accordance with the present invention comprises sheet-like material formed as a generally rectangular panel with vertical fold lines that permit the panel to be drawn between to a compact stowed configuration, wherein the curtain is disposed in a pleated and/or folded configuration, and an extended deployed configuration wherein the curtain is extended for maximum coverage. In a preferred embodiment, the disposable hospital curtain is fabricated from non-woven polypropylene treated with an antimicrobial agent and a flame retardant.

A sliding curtain carrier in accordance with the present invention includes a top portion forming an arrow-head shape with a generally V-shaped portion and a hook suspendedly connected to the top portion via a swivel connection. The top portion includes opposing first and second resilient arms forming a V-shape and/or arrow-head shape. The top portion preferably includes an uppermost portion defining inwardly recessed notches including outwardly projecting flanges sized and shaped for engaging portions of an existing ceiling track. The flanges include beveled surfaces that allow the carrier to be quickly installed by simply pushing the carrier into the track whereby the user and/or the track causes the arms to move toward one another until the notches are fully engaged with the track whereafter the resilient arms spring back to a normally spaced configuration wherein the maintain connectivity with the track is slidably engaged. The carriers may also be installed by squeezing the first and second resilient arms together such that the flanges may be inserted into a ceiling track and the notches engage the track upon returning to the normally spaced configuration. The hook has an end resiliently biased to engage the main hook body so as to maintain the curtain securely by preventing unintended dislodgement of the curtain.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an improved disposable hospital curtain system.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a disposable hospital curtain system including an improved quick connect curtain carrier adapted for use with existing ceiling tracks.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a hospital curtain system having a disposable curtain.

These and other objects are met by the present invention which will become more apparent from the accompanying drawing and the following detailed description of the drawings and preferred embodiments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a partial perspective view of a disposable hospital curtain with quick connect curtain carriers in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a quick connect curtain carrier in accordance with the present invention installed to a ceiling track (depicted in phantom);

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a quick connect curtain carrier;

FIG. 4 is a front view thereof;

FIG. 5 is a rear view thereof;

FIG. 6 is a side view thereof, and

FIGS. 7 and 8 illustrate attachment of a curtain carrier of the present invention to a ceiling track.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

With reference now to the drawings, FIGS. 1-8 depict a preferred embodiment of a disposable privacy curtain and carrier system, generally referenced as 1, in accordance with the present invention. A disposable privacy curtain system in accordance with the present invention is particularly suitable for use in hospital and healthcare environments. In accordance with a preferred embodiment, the present invention contemplates providing a disposable hospital curtain 3, having a mesh upper section 4, and top edge 6 adapted with apertures 8 for receiving a pre-attached sliding curtain carriers, generally referenced as 10. Curtain carriers 10 function, upon attachment, to suspend the disposable curtain 3 from a ceiling mounted track 2 in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities. Accordingly, a privacy curtain system in accordance with the present invention includes a disposable curtain packaged and sold with novel pre-attached sliding carriers that are adapted for rapid, snap-in engagement with existing ceiling tracks thereby allowing for rapid removal and replacement of the curtain system. A disposable privacy curtain is further provided for removable attachment to carrier 10. The disposable hospital curtain is fabricated from non-woven polypropylene treated with an antimicrobial agent and a flame retardant.

Curtain carrier 10 includes a generally V-shaped top portion 12, a mid-portion forming a hook receiving clip 14 integrally formed with top portion 12, and a hook 16 connected to clip 14 such that hook 16 is capable of swiveling relative to clip 14. The top portion 12 of carrier 10 includes a pair of opposing arms 18. Each arm 18 defines a recessed notch 19 and has an upper (distal) end portion with outwardly projecting flange 20 as best illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3. Each flange 20 preferably includes a bottom surface defining beveled front and rear ends, referenced as 21, that engage corresponding surfaces of track 2 and function to improve sliding movement within a ceiling track by providing a sloped surface. Recessed notches 19 are sized for mating slidable engagement with corresponding structure formed by track 2 as clearly illustrated in FIG. 2. Curtain carrier 10 further includes a hook 16 having a generally spherical head 22 connected to the main hook body by a generally cylindrical neck 24. Neck 24 of hook 16 is normally disposed in snap-fit engagement with clip 14 with the generally spherical head 22 received within an open area formed by the clip structure. Hook 16 further includes an end 16a that is resiliently biased to engage the main hook body so as to maintain the curtain securely by preventing unintended dislodgement thereof. As should be apparent, hook 16 is capable of 360-degree rotation or swiveling relative to clip 14. Curtain carrier 10 may be fabricated from any suitable material, such as injection molded plastic, polyethylene, polypropylene, nylon, or any other suitable material.

A significant aspect of the present invention involves providing curtain carrier adapted for rapid, snap-in engagement with existing ceiling tracks, and wherein the curtain carriers are pre-attached to a disposable hospital curtain as illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8. Curtain carrier 10 has arms 18 which are resilient such that they may be moved together (i.e. by application of a force) from the normally spaced configuration as illustrated in FIGS. 7 and 8 for quick and easy installation (or removal) in connection with a ceiling track. The present invention contemplates two primary means of inserted installation of carrier 10 into an existing track 2. In the preferred embodiment, arms 18 may be manually moved to the configuration shown in FIG. 7 by pincer pressure (e.g. finger squeezing) applied by the installer's fingers, whereafter the installer's release of pincer pressure allows arms 18 to spring back to a normally spaced configuration wherein portions of the existing ceiling track 2 are received within notches 19, as illustrated in FIG. 8. In this configuration the lower surface of flange 20, including beveled front and rear edges 21, engage the track 2. A significant aspect of the present invention is that the resilient arms 18 are ergonomically designed with increased leverage i.e. open space between the flanges, for ease of compressing arms 18 simultaneously. This is accomplished by providing the carrier with generally V-shaped arms 18 that terminate upwardly with inwardly recessed notches. By providing recessed notches 19 on arms 18 increases the effective spacing between arms 18 than would be present if arms 18 simply extended upwards terminating in flanges 21. This increased spacing between arms 18 makes it easier for the user to apply compressive force thereto, using his/her fingers, thereby easing installation. Accordingly, the user simply compresses arms 18 thereby allowing for notches 19 to be secured within and/or released from track 2.

In alternate embodiment wherein flanges 20 define downwardly sloping top surfaces (not shown), the carrier 12 may be quickly installed by simply pushing the carrier into the track slot, whereby engagement of the lower track structure against downwardly sloping top surfaces formed by flanges 20 cause opposing resilient arms 18 to move toward one another until flanges 20 are fully inserted into track 2.

A further significant aspect of the present invention involves combining quick connect curtain carriers pre-attached to a disposable hospital curtain such that the curtain may be rapidly installed on existing ceiling tracks. In a preferred embodiment, the disposable hospital curtain is fabricated from non-woven polypropene treated with an antimicrobial agent and a flame retardant. A suitable disposable curtain for use with the present invention is available from Wujiang City Jireh Green Technology Co., Ltd., No. 2, Westpeopel Road, Qidu Town, Wujiang City, Jiangsu Province, China. A suitable disposable curtain is disclosed in International Publication No. WO/2008/078061, published on Jul. 3, 2008.

The instant invention has been shown and described herein in what is considered to be the most practical and preferred embodiment. It is recognized, however, that departures may be made therefrom within the scope of the invention and that obvious modifications will occur to a person skilled in the art.





 
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