Title:
LIFT PANTS FOR A PATIENT LIFT SYSTEM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Lift pants for improved patient ambulation while the patient is supported by a lift system. The lift pants include a left pant leg and a right pant leg. A lower left leg tightening strap and a lower right leg tightening strap are connected to the pant legs and are utilized to tighten the lift pants around the patient's feet. A connection means is utilized to connect the lift pants to a lift system. The lift pants have sections that expose the patient's anal area and genitals so that the patient is able to use a toilet without removing the lift pants. The lift pants are configured so the patient is lifted primarily from his feet. In a preferred embodiment, lift shoes are also included that allow the patient to utilize the system while wearing his favorite shoes or his most comfortable slippers, or while wearing just his socks or while barefoot.



Inventors:
Dyson, Donald J. (Escondido, CA, US)
Application Number:
13/293497
Publication Date:
05/16/2013
Filing Date:
11/10/2011
Assignee:
DYSON DONALD J.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A41D1/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
QUINN, RICHALE LEE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROSS PATENT LAW OFFICE (DEL MAR, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. Lift pants for improved patient ambulation while a patient is supported by a lift system, comprising: A) a left pant leg for receiving a patient's left leg, B) a right pant leg for receiving a patient's right leg, C) two shoes with each having at least one boot strap connection, D) at least one lower left leg tightening strap for tightening said left pant leg to one of the boot strap connectors, E) at least one lower right leg tightening strap for tightening said right pant leg to one of the boot strap connectors, F) a connection means for connecting said lift pants to said lift system, wherein said lift pants define sections exposing the patient's anal area and genitals thereby allowing the patient to use a toilet without removing said lift pants, and wherein the patient is lifted primarily from his feet.

2. The lift pants as in claim 1 wherein said left pant leg and said right pant leg each comprise an outer support strap extending along the length of the pant leg and designed to provide additional tension support to the pant legs.

3. The lift pants as in claim 1, wherein said left pant leg and said right pant leg each comprise an inner vertical strap extending vertically along the length of the inside of the pant leg.

4. The lift pants as in claim 1 wherein said at least one lower left leg tightening strap is a lower left leg inner tightening strap and a lower left leg outer tightening strap.

5. The lift pants as in claim 4, wherein said lower left leg inner tightening strap and said lower left leg outer tightening strap are connected to a patient's left footwear and tightened.

6. The lift pants as in claim 1 wherein said at least one lower right leg tightening strap is a lower right leg inner tightening strap and a lower right leg outer tightening strap.

7. The lift pants as in claim 6, wherein said lower right leg inner tightening strap and said lower right leg outer tightening strap are connected to a patient's right footwear and tightened.

8. The lift pants as in claim 1, further comprising: A) a right frontal tightening strap for further tightening said right pant leg, and B) a left frontal tightening strap for further tightening said left pant leg.

9. lift pants as in claim 1, wherein said connection means comprises: A) a right frontal loop, B) a left frontal loop, C) a right rear loop, D) a left rear loop, wherein said right and left frontal loops and said right and left rear loops are located at or near the waist area of said lift pants.

10. The lift pants as in claim 1, wherein said lift pants are worn by a patient and connected to a lift system, said lift system comprising: A) a lift motor for raising and lowering said lift system, B) lift system bars connected to said lift motor, C) lift system straps attached to said lift system bars and to said connection means.

11. The lift pants as in claim 10, wherein said lift system is connected to a track connection means extending downward from a switchless track.

12. The lift pants as in claim 11, wherein said switchless track comprises: A) a platform, B) a plurality of castors attached to the bottom of said platform and rolling on said track, C) a track slot, D) a hook extending downward from said platform and through said slot, wherein said lift motor is connected to said hook.

13. The lift pants as in claim 1, further comprising lift shoes wherein said lower left leg tightening strap and said lower right leg tightening strap are connected to said lift shoes.

14. The lift pants as in claim 13, wherein the patient's left foot and the patient's right feet are inserted into said lift shoes.

Description:

The present invention relates to patient lift systems, and in particular to patient garments used in conjunction with patient lift systems.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

A significant portion of the population of the world has great difficulty in walking. A huge number cannot walk at all. These groups are forced to rely on attendants or mechanical devices such as crutches or wheelchairs for their ambulation. Included are those with ambulation problems due to recent hip and knee replacement surgery and amputees (such as combat veterans, for example) with limbs missing.

When a person is not able to walk for a period of several weeks or months, his leg muscles tend to degenerate unless physical therapy is provided. If the leg muscles degenerate, extensive physical therapy may be required to enable him to regain his ability to walk. Many people never walk again after an extensive period of relying on devices such as a wheel chair for transportation.

The prior art includes overhead support systems. These typically include an overhead track with some type of cart riding on the track with a load (which could be a person) suspended from the cart through a suspension tether. Many such systems exist in automated factories. A typical prior art overhead transport system is found by reference to U.S. Pat. No. 5,404,992. This reference discloses a suspension conveyor system comprising a conveyor device that rolls along a track rail. A major disadvantage of this design, and others like it, is that when tracks intersect, the patient must select which track to take by a switching means. The switching means tends to be complicated, costly and subject to failure. Some exemplary switchless prior art overhead support systems are shown in patents awarded to Applicant, U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,996,823; 6,079,578; and 6,315,138 (each of which is incorporated by reference herein).

Automatic tensioning assemblies are commonly found in prior art overhead transportation systems. Generally, a tensioning assembly will maintain a set load under tension based on the load cell read-out from the torque on the tensioning assembly's drive motor. Usually, a hand held remote is used to set the load, and raise and lower the object being carried by the transportation system.

In the prior art, the harnessing system utilized to suspend and support the patient is often cumbersome, uncomfortable and difficult for the patient to manage. For example, patients are unable to adequately use a toilet while connected to the overhead support system.

What is needed is a better overhead support system including garments that properly support and suspend the patient and allow the patient to comfortably and effectively live his life with dignity.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides lift pants for improved patient ambulation while the patient is supported by a lift system. The lift pants include a left pant leg and a right pant leg. A lower left leg tightening strap and a lower right leg tightening strap are connected to the pant legs and are utilized to tighten the lift pants around the patient's feet. A connection means is utilized to connect the lift pants to a lift system. The lift pants have sections that expose the patient's anal area and genitals so that the patient is able to use a toilet without removing the lift pants. The lift pants are configured so the patient is lifted primarily from his feet. In a preferred embodiment, lift shoes are also included that allow the patient to utilize the system while wearing his favorite shoes or his most comfortable slippers, or while wearing just his socks or while barefoot.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 shows a pair of lift pants lying face up on a floor.

FIG. 3 shows a pair of lift pants lying face down on a floor.

FIGS. 4-6 show preferred lift pants worn by a patient.

FIGS. 7-8 show a preferred switchless track.

FIGS. 9-11 show a patient utilizing a preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIGS. 12-14 show another preferred embodiment of the present invention using lift shoes.

FIGS. 15-17 show the utilization of the present invention with a prosthetic leg.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

FIG. 1 shows a preferred embodiment of the present invention. Support system 1 is attached to overhead hook 2 via strap 3. Lift motor 4 is controllable by the person having ambulatory disabilities (also referred to as the “patient”) via handheld control device 5. In a preferred embodiment lift motor 4 is capable of lifting over 400 pounds and is the BHM VOYAGER® Portable Overhead Patient Lifter available from the BHM Corporation in New Brunswick, Canada. Handheld control device 5 is attached to lift motor 4 via cord 6. Support bars 7 and 8 are rigidly attached to motor 4 via bars 9. Straps 10-13 extend downward from support bars 7 and 8 and are utilized to connect the patient to support system 1. The length of straps 10-13 is adjustable by utilization of clips 14. Strap 10-13 connect to hooks 15-18 by utilization of hooks 19. See also FIGS. 2-6.

Lift Pants

Before utilizing support system 1, the patient must put on lift pants 20. FIGS. 2 and 3 show lift pants 20 placed on a floor prior to being worn. FIG. 2 shows lift pants 20 placed so that they are facing upwards. FIG. 3 shows lift pants 20 so that they are placed facing downwards. FIGS. 4-6 show a rear view, side view and front view of lift pants 20 after the patient has donned them. Outer right leg strap 22 extends down the outside of the right leg as shown. Outer left side leg strap 23 extends down the outside of the left leg as shown. Outer right leg tightening strap 24 is sewn to strap 22 as shown. Outer left leg tightening strap 25 is sewn to strap 23 as shown. Inner right leg strap 26 extends down the inside of the right leg as shown. Inner left leg strap 27 extends down the inside of the left leg as shown. Inner right leg tightening strap 28 is sewn to strap 26 as shown. Inner left leg strap 29 is sewn to strap 27 as shown. Upper straps 30 and 32 are attached as shown. They both extend around the buttocks of the patient and then around towards the front of the pants. Diagonal upper straps 36 and 38 extend upward diagonally from outer right leg strap 22 as shown. Diagonal upper straps 37 and 39 extend upward diagonally from outer left strap 23 as shown. Loop 15 is attached to strap 36, loop 16 is attached to strap 37, loop 17 is attached to strap 39 and loop 18 is attached to strap 38. Tightening clips 40 and 41 are sewn onto lift pants 20 as shown (FIG. 2).

In a preferred embodiment, lift pants 20 are fabricated from easily washable material (such as cotton) so that the lift pants can be washed easily in a home washing machine. The material is chosen to ensure that cleanliness can be easily maintained and so that the material is kept free of body wastes and bacteria. Straps may be made from a variety of strong flexible material. One preferred material for the strap is vinyl.

Donning the Lift Pants

FIGS. 4-6 show a patient wearing lift pants 20. After putting on lift pants 20 the patient also puts on boots 45 and 46. Boots 45 and 46 include tightening clips 50-53 sewn onto the sides of the boots as shown. After putting on lift pants 20 and boots 45 and 46 the patient connects the tightening straps to the boots. For example strap 25 is connected to clip 53, strap 24 is connected to clip 50, strap 28 is connected to clip 51, strap 29 is connected to clip 52. The straps are tightened so that there is only little slack in straps 22, 23, 26 and 27. Loops 15-18 are connected to straps 10-13 of lift system 1, as explained above. Loops 15-18 are located at the waist area of lift pants 20. Right frontal tightening strap 30 is pulled upward through clip 41 and tightened. Left frontal tightening strap 32 is pulled upward through clip 42 and tightened. Clips 41 and 42 are located at the waist area of lift pants 20. From the front of the patient straps 30 and 32 are sewn around the inside of the patient's legs and approximately half way up the patient's buttocks (FIG. 4). The front portion of straps 30 and 32 are not sewn so that they can be attached clips 41 and 42.

Lifting Force from the Feet

As can be seen by reference to the figures, a majority of the lifting force is accomplished from the feet. Applicant has determined that this is the most comfortable and natural form of supporting the patient. This lies in contrast to prior art systems where the patient utilizes a harnessing system that supports the patient under the chest, under the arms or under the genital area. With lift pants 20 the anal area and genitals are uncovered by lift pants 20 and the patient is lifted primarily from the feet. The patient may put on a short skirt (not shown) to cover these regions for modesty.

Lift Shoes

FIGS. 12-14 show another preferred embodiment that includes the utilization of lift shoes 130. In the preferred embodiment shown in FIGS. 12-14 vertical leg strap 122 and diagonal upper straps 138 and 136 are sewn into lift pants 132 so that they are covered by the pants. This is visually more appealing to someone looking at the pants yet still it supplies the strength of the above described preferred embodiment. Tightening strap 135 extends outside of pants 132 and is available for connection to lift shoes or boots.

FIG. 13 shoes a side view of a preferred lift shoe 143. As shown in FIG. 12, the patient is wearing his favorite slippers 144. To don lift shoes 143, the patient slips his foot inside lift shoes 143 as shown in FIG. 14. Outer tightening strap 135 is inserted into clip 146 and tightened. Likewise, inner tightening strap is also connected and tightened. Consequently, lift shoe 143 functions as a stirrup allowing the patient to wear his favorite shoes, slippers or boots or even to go in sock covered feet or to be barefoot.

FIG. 16 shows a patient with a prosthetic leg. It is also possible for a patient with a prosthetic leg to use the present invention. For example, in FIG. 15 the patient utilizes lift pants 132 and lift shoes 143 in the same manner as described above in reference to FIG. 14.

FIG. 17 shows another manner in which a patient with a prosthetic leg can utilize the present invention. In this preferred embodiment tightening strap 159 connects to bone pin 157. Bone pin 157 is rigidly connected to the patient's bone. This allows the lifting force to act directly on the patient's bone as shown. The prosthetic leg hangs below also as shown.

Genitals and Anal Area Exposed

As clearly shown in the FIGS. 4 and 6, the genitals 207 and the anal area 206 of the patient are left uncovered by lift pants 20. This enables the patient to utilize a toilet while still wearing lift pants 20 and even while still connected to lift system 1. This is a tremendous improvement over the prior art. It gives great independence to the wearer of lift pants 20 and patient of lift system 1. It allows persons with ambulatory disabilities to wear the lift pants continuously for 24 hour per day, if need be, without taking the lift pants off to use the toilet, for example. As indicated above a short skirt can be used to cover these regions.

Utilization of the Lift System in Conjunction with the Lift Pants

By utilizing lift system 1 in conjunction with lift pants 20 (FIG. 1), a patient can lighten the force felt by his feet while standing or walking. Motor unit 4 can be adjusted so that the patient can feel a range of weight that extends from 0 pounds up to his full natural weight. In a preferred embodiment, all current testing has shown that the patient adjusts lift system 1 so that he weighs approximately 20 percent of his actual weight. For example a man who normally weighs 200 pounds would adjust lift system 1 so that his feet support a weight of 40 pounds instead.

Utilization of the Lift System for Sitting

FIGS. 9-11 show the utilization of lift system 1 for sitting. In FIG. 9, the patient has positioned himself in front of a chair. In FIG. 10, the patient has manipulated control unit device 5 so the motor unit 4 has lowered lift system 1 downwards. The patient is leaning backwards and allows himself to be lowered. In FIG. 11 lift system 1 has completely lowered the patient down into the chair. The patient can now relax and enjoy sitting on the chair. In a similar fashion, lift system 1 can be utilized to lower the patient onto a toilet so that he is appropriately sitting on the toilet.

The patient would then be able to use the toilet because his genitals and anal area are uncovered, as explained above.

Preferred Switchless Track

FIGS. 7 and 8 show a preferred switchless track 70. Track 70 is preferably mounted into the ceiling of the person's residence. Platform 80 includes multiple casters 82 mounted to its bottom as shown. Hook 2 extends downward from platform 80 through slot 75. Strap 3 of lift system 1 is connected to hook 2. In this fashion a patient is able to walk about the room underneath slot 75.

Although the above-preferred embodiments have been described with specificity, persons skilled in this art will recognize that many changes to the specific embodiments disclosed above could be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. For example, in addition to a private residence switchless track 70 could be mounted in a variety of locations, including a VA hospital, a rehab center, a hospital, or a nursing home. Also, while the above description continuously referred to the patient as being a male, it should be understood that the patient may also be female and that lift pants 20 may be worn by a female patient, allowing her to be lifted primarily from the feet and exposing her genitals and anal area. Therefore, the attached claims and their legal equivalents should determine the scope of the invention.