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Publication numberUS20020124313 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/804,312
Publication dateSep 12, 2002
Filing dateMar 12, 2001
Priority dateMar 12, 2001
Publication number09804312, 804312, US 2002/0124313 A1, US 2002/124313 A1, US 20020124313 A1, US 20020124313A1, US 2002124313 A1, US 2002124313A1, US-A1-20020124313, US-A1-2002124313, US2002/0124313A1, US2002/124313A1, US20020124313 A1, US20020124313A1, US2002124313 A1, US2002124313A1
InventorsStephen Cook, Earle Sherrod, Donald Sanders
Original AssigneeKimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Absorbent article holder and method for making and using same
US 20020124313 A1
Abstract
The present invention provides a holder for securing an absorbent article comprising a flexible sheet having less than four pouches designed to secure at least one edge of an outer perimeter of the absorbent article. In one embodiment, there are two pouches substantially parallel to each other and extending transversely across the flexible sheet, the two pouches designed to secure opposing edges of an outer perimeter of the absorbent article. In one embodiment, the absorbent article is a bed pad, chair pad, or the like, made from a liner, absorbent and film. Use of less than four pouches, such as pouch pairs, provides an easy method for keeping absorbent articles in their intended locations, which in turn reduces wrinkles and slippage. As a result, the likelihood of a patient developing bed sores is reduced and the effectiveness of the absorbent article is increased, thus improving patient comfort.
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Claims(43)
What is claimed is:
1. A holder for securing an absorbent article comprising:
a flexible sheet having less than four pouches designed to secure at least one edge of an outer perimeter of the absorbent article.
2. The holder of claim 1 wherein there are two pouches substantially parallel to each other and extending transversely across the flexible sheet, the two pouches designed to secure opposing edges of an outer perimeter of the absorbent article.
3. The holder of claim 1 wherein there are two pouches substantially parallel to each other and extending longitudinally along edges of the flexible sheet, the two pouches designed to secure opposing edges of an outer perimeter of the absorbent article.
4. The holder of claim 1 wherein there are multiple pairs of pouches, each pair substantially parallel to each other and designed to secure opposing edges of an outer perimeter of a different absorbent article.
5. The holder of claim 4 wherein there are two or three pairs of pouches.
6. The holder of claim 1 wherein there is one pouch in combination with additional securing means on the absorbent article or flexible sheet.
7. The holder of claim 1 wherein the absorbent article is a bed pad.
8. The holder of claim 2 wherein the flexible sheet is comprised of a center section and two end sections located on either side of the center section, further wherein each pouch has an outer edge contiguous with the outer edge of the center section.
9. The holder of claim 1 wherein the holder is reusable.
10. The holder of claim 9 wherein the holder is disposable after a period of time.
11. The holder of claim 10 wherein the holder is made from a film selected from the group consisting of polyethylene, polypropylene and a polyethylene/polypropylene combination.
12. The holder of claim 1 wherein the flexible sheet is less than the width and length of a mattress.
13. An absorbent article holder comprising:
a flexible sheet having a top surface;
at least one pair of pouches contiguous with the flexible sheet, the at least one pair of pouches designed to releasably secure an absorbent article located on the top surface of the flexible sheet.
14. The holder of claim 13 wherein the flexible sheet has one or more side wings.
15. The holder of claim 14 wherein the one or more side wings include extensions of the at least one pair of pouches.
16. The holder of claim 13 further including one or more end wings.
17. The holder of claim 13 further including one or more end wings and one or more side wings.
18. The holder of claim 14 wherein the at least one pair of pouches each have lips, further comprising additional securing means located on the underside of each lip.
19. The holder of claim 18 wherein the additional securing means is selected from the group consisting of releasable adhesive, adhesive tabs, hook material, loop material, and any combination thereof.
20. The holder of claim 13 wherein the absorbent article is a chair pad.
21. The holder of claim 20 wherein the absorbent article holder has side wings secured to the underside of a seat.
22. The holder of claim 13 further comprising at least one absorbent article selected from the group consisting of chair pads and bed pads.
23. A method for securing an absorbent article in a holder comprising:
raising an outer edge of a first pouch located in the holder; and
slipping an outer perimeter of a first edge of an absorbent article into the pouch;
raising an outer edge of a second pouch; and
slipping an outer perimeter of a second edge of the absorbent article into the second pouch.
24. The method of claim 23 further comprising smoothing a top surface of the absorbent article.
25. The method of claim 24 further comprising applying pressure to the first and second pouches to more firmly secure the absorbent article with releasable securing means located on inner surfaces of the first and second pouches.
26. The method of claim 25 wherein the releasable securing means is selected from the group consisting of releasable adhesive, adhesive tabs, hook material, loop material, and any combination thereof.
27. The method of claim 23 further comprising:
raising an outer edge of a third pouch; and
slipping an outer perimeter of a third edge of the absorbent article into the third pouch.
28. A method for securing an absorbent article in a holder comprising:
raising an outer edge of a single pouch located in the holder;
slipping an outer perimeter of a first edge of an absorbent article into the single pouch; and
applying pressure to the single pouch to more firmly secure the absorbent article with releasable securing means located on at least one inner surface of the single pouch.
29. The method of claim 28 further comprising applying pressure to an outer perimeter of a second edge of the absorbent article to more firmly secure the absorbent article with releasable securing means located on the holder or the absorbent article.
30. A method of making an absorbent article holder comprising:
providing sheet material having side edges;
transversely folding the sheet material in two or more places to create pouches having pouch edges;
securing the pouch edges to the side edges to produce a series of absorbent article holders; and
separating the series of absorbent article holders into individual absorbent article holders.
31. The method of claim 30 further comprising:
unwinding side wing material; and
joining the side wing material to individual holders.
32. The method of claim 31 further comprising:
unwinding end wing material; and
joining the end wing material to individual holders.
33. A product made according to the process of claim 30.
34. A method of making an absorbent article holder comprising:
unwinding pouch and sheet material;
joining pouch and sheet material together to form a plurality of holders;
with heating means, sealing the pouch edges with the sheet edges; and
separating the plurality of holders into individual holders.
35. The method of claim 34 further comprising:
unwinding side wing material; and
joining the side wing material to individual holders.
36. The method of claim 35 further comprising:
unwinding end wing material; and
joining the end wing material to individual holders.
37. A product made according to the process of claim 34.
38. A kit, comprising:
at least one absorbent article;
an absorbent article holder having a flexible sheet with less than four pouches, the less than four pouches designed to secure at least one edge of an outer perimeter of the at least one absorbent article; and
instructions for securing the at least one absorbent article in the absorbent article holder, the instructions located on a container designed to contain the at least one absorbent article and absorbent article holder.
39. The kit of claim 38 wherein the instructions are placed on a separate piece of paper inside the container.
40. The kit of claim 38 wherein there are two pouches substantially parallel to each other and extending transversely across the flexible sheet, the two pouches designed to secure opposing edges of an outer perimeter of the absorbent article.
41. The kit of claim 39 further comprising a plurality of absorbent articles.
42. The kit of claim 41 further comprising a plurality of absorbent article holders.
43. The kit of claim 41 wherein there are multiple pairs of pouches, each pair substantially parallel to each other and designed to secure opposing edges of an outer perimeter of a different absorbent article.
Description
    FIELD
  • [0001]
    This invention relates generally to absorbent articles, and in particular, the present invention relates to absorbent article holders.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0002]
    Absorbent articles, such as bed pads, are commonly used in hospitals, long term care facilities, private homes, and the like, to protect bedding, cushions, and so forth, from being soiled by the patient. Oftentimes, however, these articles bunch, twist, wrinkle and slide as the person moves about, particularly when in bed. This not only renders the absorbent articles ineffective, they also become uncomfortable to lay or sit on and can cause degradation of compromised or fragile skin. As a result, there have been several attempts to devise means for securing such articles in place.
  • [0003]
    Large bed pads are available that are designed to tuck under a mattress or fit snugly around the comers of the mattress. However, these types of pads are not considered cost effective and are a waste raw materials since the extra material used to help secure the bed pad in place is thrown away each time the pad is soiled. Other devices include the use of safety pins, adhesives, lubricants, and the like. In some instances, the adhesive is designed to secure to the patient's body. Such devices are not only uncomfortable for the patient, but can cause skin damage as well. In many instances, these devices are unnecessarily complicated and often do not work as intended.
  • [0004]
    For the reasons stated above, and for other reasons stated below which will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading and understanding the present specification, there is a need in the art for an absorbent article holder that functions as intended, yet is economical and practical.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0005]
    The present invention provides a holder for securing an absorbent article comprising a flexible sheet having less than four pouches designed to secure at least one edge of an outer perimeter of the absorbent article. In one embodiment, there are two pouches substantially parallel to each other and extending transversely across the flexible sheet, the two pouches designed to secure opposing edges of an outer perimeter of the absorbent article. In one embodiment, the absorbent article is a bed pad, chair pad, or the like, made from a liner, absorbent and film.
  • [0006]
    In another embodiment, a series of pouches is used, which allows the user to place absorbent articles of varying sizes in more than one location, thus providing added protection and flexibility. Embodiments having multiple pouches allow the user to replace only those absorbent articles that need to be changed, without the need to adjust or change absorbent articles which do not yet need replacing.
  • [0007]
    In an alternative embodiment, the holder has wings or tuck flaps extending past the holder edges and wrapping around the mattress or chair cushion to secure the holder in place. The wings or tuck flaps can be side wings and/or end wings. Such embodiments can be used where additional holding strength is needed. In some embodiments, additional securing means, such as adhesives, hook and loop material, and the like, can also be used.
  • [0008]
    The present invention also provides simple and convenient methods of releasably securing an absorbent article in the absorbent article holder. The present invention further provides a method of making an absorbent article holder comprising providing sheet material having side edges; transversely folding the sheet material in two or more places to create pouches having pouch edges; securing the pouch edges to the side edges to produce a series of absorbent article holders; and separating the series of absorbent article holders into individual absorbent article holders. End wings and/or side wings can optionally be added.
  • [0009]
    In another embodiment, the absorbent article holder is made by unwinding pouch and sheet material; joining the pouch and sheet material together to form a plurality of holders; with heating means, sealing the pouch edges with the sheet edges; and separating the plurality of holders into individual holders. As with the above method, end wings and/or side wings can optionally be added.
  • [0010]
    The present invention further comprises a kit having at least one absorbent article; an absorbent article holder having a flexible sheet with less than four pouches, the less than four pouches designed to secure at least one edge of an outer perimeter of the at least one absorbent article; and instructions for securing the at least one absorbent article in the less than four pouches, the instructions located on a container designed to contain the at least one absorbent article and absorbent article holder. In one embodiment, the instructions are placed on a separate piece of paper inside the container. In another embodiment there is a plurality of absorbent articles and/or a plurality of absorbent article holders.
  • [0011]
    The absorbent article holder of the present invention provides a practical and economical means for securing an absorbent article in place on virtually any location a person may lie or sit, including, a bed, sofa, floor, sleeping bag, car seat, wheelchair, and so forth. Use of less than four pouches, such as pouch pairs, provides a convenient and economical method for keeping absorbent articles in their intended locations. The resulting reduction of wrinkles or pressure points in the absorbent articles, which can cause bed sores, also helps to improve patient comfort. Furthermore, the elimination of pad slippage reduces the chances of bodily fluids missing the intended absorbent area, also improving patient comfort.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0012]
    [0012]FIG. 1 is a simplified perspective view of an absorbent article holder having a pair of pouches that is securing an absorbent article on a mattress surface in one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0013]
    [0013]FIG. 2 is a simplified perspective view of an absorbent article holder having side wings and a pair of pouches that is securing an absorbent article on a mattress surface in one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0014]
    [0014]FIG. 3 is a plan view of an absorbent article holder having a pair of pouches and alternative side wings in one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0015]
    [0015]FIG. 4 is a simplified perspective view of an absorbent article holder having multiple pairs of pouches, which are each securing an absorbent article on a mattress surface in one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0016]
    [0016]FIG. 5 is a simplified perspective view of the absorbent article in FIG. 4 having end wings in one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0017]
    [0017]FIG. 6 is a simplified perspective view of an absorbent article holder having side wings and a pair of pouches that is securing an absorbent article on a wheelchair seat in one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 7A is a block diagram showing a method for making the absorbent article in one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 7B is a partial simplified side view of sheet material being folded according to the method shown in FIG. 7A in one embodiment of the present invention.
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 8 is a block diagram showing an alternative method for making the absorbent article in one embodiment of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0021]
    In the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments, reference is made to the accompanying drawings which form a part hereof, and in which is shown by way of illustration specific preferred embodiments in which the inventions may be practiced. These embodiments are described in sufficient detail to enable those skilled in the art to practice the invention, and it is to be understood that other embodiments may be utilized and that chemical, mechanical, procedural and other changes may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the present inventions. The following detailed description is, therefore, not to be taken in a limiting sense, and the scope of the present invention is defined only by the appended claims, along with the full scope of equivalents to which such claims are entitled.
  • [0022]
    An absorbent article holder having one or more pouches or sets of pouches is described. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, an absorbent article holder 100 (hereinafter “holder”) is shown in place on a bed 102 having a mattress 103. In this embodiment, the holder 100 comprises a flexible sheet 104 having a center section 106, two end sections 108, and a single pair of pockets or pouches 110 (hereinafter “pouch pair”) that also defines two opposing outer edges of the center section 106. Each pouch in the pouch pair 110 further has an upper portion, i.e., lip 115. In this embodiment, the pouch pair 110 removably secures the outer perimeter of two opposing sides of any conventional type of absorbent article 112, although the invention is not so limited. In some embodiments, only one side of the absorbent article 112 is removably secured in a single pouch. In other embodiments, three sides are secured in a set of three pouches, and so forth. In other embodiments, the absorbent article 112 has one or more curved edges, or is circular, oblong or any other shape, and is secured along all or a portion of its edges. In all embodiments, most or all of the functional portion of the absorbent article 112 remains exposed and rests on top of the center section 106. Such articles include conventional disposable bed pads, chair pads, and the like.
  • [0023]
    Referring again to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the holder 100 can be any suitable size as long as each pouch pair 110 is large enough to adequately secure the outer perimeter of two opposing sides of the absorbent article 112. In other embodiments, there are multiple pouch pairs 110 to accommodate an equal number of absorbent articles 112 (See FIG. 4). In other embodiments there can be single pouches, multiple single pouches, pouch sets of three, multiple pouch sets of three, multiple pouch sets of varying numbers, and so forth. In the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the holder 100 has one pouch pair 110 that is narrower than the width of the bed 102 and shorter than the length of the bed 102, although the invention is not so limited. In another embodiment, the holder 100 is about the same width and length as the mattress 103. The mattress 103 can be any size, such as a crib, junior, single, double, full, queen or king-sized mattress. In one embodiment, the mattress can be a conventional box spring mattress or any size of air mattress that is placed on the floor, such as in a building, tent, and so forth. In other embodiments, the holder 100 is only wide enough to accommodate the absorbent article (or articles) 112, which, in some instances, may be significantly narrower than the width of the mattress 103. In yet other embodiments, described below, the holder 100 can be any size and have additional wings or flaps that tuck under the mattress 103 on the sides and/or one or more ends.
  • [0024]
    The pouch pair 110 is designed to prevent the absorbent article 112 from bunching, twisting, sliding and wrinkling during use. As such, the lip 115 of each pouch needs to be wide enough to accommodate an adequate portion of the outer perimeter of the absorbent article 112 in order to secure it, but not so large as to cover up an excessive portion of the absorbent article 112. In one embodiment, each lip 115 is about 2.5 to ten (10) cm (about one (1) to four (4) in) in width. Regarding pouch (or lip 115) length, at a minimum each pouch needs to be at least the same dimension as the absorbent article 112 being used, and is preferably slightly longer. In other embodiments, each pouch extends only to the edge of the flexible sheet 104 in both directions, i.e., pouch length is substantially the same as the width of the flexible sheet 104 because each pouch is sealed together with the flexible sheet 104 along its outer edges. In another embodiment, each pouch is also sealed along it length. In yet another embodiment, each pouch is sealed only along its length. This embodiment allows for added flexibility in the variation in sizes of absorbent articles 112 that can be used, since there is no sealed outer edge on the pouch pair 110 to constrain the absorbent article 112 in that direction. In this way, oversized absorbent articles 112 can be used that may extend beyond the edges of the holder 110.
  • [0025]
    Although each pouch of the pouch pair 110 can be located any suitable distance apart, again the pouches should not be located so close together as to significantly reduce the exposed area of the absorbent article 112 or to cause the absorbent article 112 to be unable to lie flat when the two opposing edges are inserted under the lips 115 of the pouch pair 110. Similarly, the pouches should not be so far apart as to prevent an adequate amount of the outer perimeter of the absorbent article 112 to be contained within. In most embodiments, the portion of the outer perimeter of the absorbent article 112 that is contained under the lip 115 of each pouch consists primarily of the plastic border that is typically present on all sides of an absorbent article 112 (and is oftentimes integral with the backing layer). In one embodiment, about 1.25 to 7.5 cm (about 0.5 to three (3) in) of the outer perimeter of the absorbent article 112 is contained under each lip 115. Clearly, the specific distances and sizes are dependent on the size of the absorbent article 112 being used. In an exemplary embodiment, the absorbent article 112 is about 91 cm (about 36 in) by about 61 cm (about 24 in) with a plastic border of about four (4) cm (about 1.5 in) on each side. In this embodiment, as in other embodiments, the absorbent article 112 can be oriented either lengthwise or cross-wise across the width of the mattress 103, as desired. In one embodiment, the absorbent article 112 is oriented lengthwise across the width of the mattress 103 such that the two opposing longer edges (the 91 cm edges in this example) of the absorbent article 112 are secured under the pouch pair 110. In this exemplary embodiment, each pouch or lip 115 is about five (5) cm (two (2) in) wide and spaced about 56 cm (about 22 in) apart, such that the center section 106 (which contains the pouch pair 110) is about 66 cm (about 26 in) in length (i.e., distance 114 is about 66 cm).
  • [0026]
    Depending on how the holder 100 is constructed, the pouch pair 110 shown in FIG. 1 can take on any number of configurations. In most embodiments, the pouch pair 110 is oriented substantially perpendicular to the side edges of the flexible sheet 104 and mattress 103 as shown, although the invention is not so limited. However, by orienting the pouch pair 110 in this direction, the absorbent article 112 is likely to stay secure during use, even with active and/or heavy patients who change positions in bed by sliding down or “scooting up.” In other embodiments, the pouch pair 110 can be oriented substantially parallel to the side edges of the mattress 103. Such a configuration may be appropriate for the person who has limited mobility and/or would be more likely to notice and react negatively to the pouch pair 110 extending substantially perpendicular to the flexible sheet 104. However, since the pouch pair 110 essentially has a negligible thickness as discussed below, such sensitivity is not likely to occur often. In both configurations, the absorbent article 112 remains secure when a person rolls from side to side, either when they change position on their own or when a care giver rolls them over to tend to their needs. This is unlike prior art holders which consist of a frame on all four sides, thus increasing the cost and complexity of manufacturing, and increasing the time for installing and removing the absorbent article 112.
  • [0027]
    In yet another embodiment, the pouch pair 110 is oriented at any angle in relation to the flexible sheet 104, such as at a 45 degree angle, for example. In yet other embodiments, the lip 115 is curved or partially curved. In this embodiment, the absorbent article 112 can be any shape, such as square, rectangular, circular, oblong, and so forth. In yet other embodiments, the pouches are custom-designed to accommodate any size or shape of absorbent article 112.
  • [0028]
    In one embodiment, the holder 100 is one continuous piece of material with each pouch pair 110 comprising suitably-sized transverse folds in the flexible sheet 104 that are tacked down in any manner along the outer edge of each pouch. In another embodiment, each pouch pair 110 comprises a separate piece of material folded longitudinally, placed transversely across the flexible sheet 104 and sealed along its outer edges to the edge of the flexible sheet 104. In these embodiments, some or all of the layers of the folded edge of each pouch can also be tacked down or bonded across the width of the flexible sheet 104, if desired. In another embodiment, each end section 108 is a separate piece of material that is bonded along one edge to the underside of the center section 106 on opposing sides of the center section 106. In this embodiment, the two opposing sides of the center section 106 are folded over the bonded layers to create the pouch pair 110.
  • [0029]
    In yet another embodiment, each pouch is essentially a “strap” that extends across the width of the flexible sheet 104 and is bonded at both ends to the edges of the flexible sheet 104. In this embodiment, the two opposing outer perimeters of the absorbent article 112 are placed under each strap, and can extend beyond the strap, if necessary. In one embodiment, each “strap” or pouch in the pouch pair 110 is a series of two or more straps and the two opposing outer perimeters of the absorbent article 112 extend beyond some or all of the series of straps. If desired, such straps can be comprised of laminated or folded layers made from the same film as the flexible sheet 104. In one embodiment, one or more of the straps are made from an elastic cloth material.
  • [0030]
    In one embodiment, the holder 100 is made from a material that is substantially liquid impermeable and vapor permeable, i.e., a breathable film. In this way, the bedding (or chair) is protected from liquids, yet vapors can pass through. In this way, heat buildup during use is prevented. Thus sweating of the user, which can cause skin degradation, is reduced. Such materials include, but are not limited to films currently used as backing on absorbent articles, such as bed pads, chair pads, briefs, undergarments, pants, and the like. Suitable materials may be or comprise a nonwoven web or cast or blown film formed of polypropylene, polyethylene, a polypropylene/polyethylene blend or the like. In one embodiment, the material is a gas permeable laminate comprising a polyethylene film and a polypropylene non-woven web. This is an advantage over prior art holders which have openings sufficiently large to allow liquids to penetrate through to the bedding. A breathable film is also more flexible and cloth-like as compared with other, stiffer materials, thus decreasing noise and increasing patient comfort during use.
  • [0031]
    The holder 100 is designed to be disposable after a period of time, such as when it becomes soiled, and so forth. In one embodiment, the holder 100 is used for about one (1) month in an environment in which the absorbent article 112 is changed about two (2) to three (3) times per day. In some instances, the holder 100 can be used for longer periods if it is not excessively soiled. As the holder 100 is made from a sufficiently strong material that is able to withstand the forces, which can otherwise cause tearing in weaker and thinner fabrics, it is not expected that the holder 100 will need replacing due to tearing or shredding. In some embodiments, the holder 100 can also serve as a slip sheet to assist in moving patients. Furthermore, unlike other devices, the holder of the present invention does not require the use of lubricants or other treatments designed to reduce friction.
  • [0032]
    Although the holder 100 eventually needs to be replaced in most embodiments, the ability of the holder 100 to withstand at least 60 absorbent article replacements, up to 90 or more, provides an economical alternative to prior art holders that are bonded to the absorbent article itself and are replaced with each change of the absorbent article. This is also an advantage over prior art holders which are made from relatively expensive materials that need to be washed periodically. However, in alternative embodiments, the holder 100 can be made from any type of washable fabric, such as a cotton or cotton blend material, designed to last through hundreds of washings.
  • [0033]
    The holder 100 can be of any suitable thickness that resists tearing and can properly restrain the absorbent article 112. In one embodiment, the holder 100 is at least about 0.03 mm (about one (1) mil) thick up to about 0.1 mm (about four (4) mil). If the material is less than about 0.03 mm it can be too flimsy to function properly. Use of excess material for the thicknesses would not add significantly to the function, but may unnecessarily increase costs. In another embodiment, the holder 100 comprises a laminate comprising two or more non-woven layers or a film and a non-woven layer, that together have a total thickness of about one (1) mil.
  • [0034]
    [0034]FIG. 2 shows the holder 100 described in FIG. 1 with added flanges or side wings 202 contiguous with the center section 108. The side wings 202 are shown tucked under the mattress 103 on each side. In this embodiment, each lip 115 extends along the entire length of each wing 202, although the invention is not so limited. However, this configuration again provides added flexibility with regard to the size of the absorbent article 112 being used, since the pouches are not sealed either along the side edges of the center section 108 nor on the side wings 202. Unlike prior art holders, the side wings 108 are not a necessary feature of the present invention. However, the addition of side wings 108 can provide added stability to the holder 100 in those instances where it is warranted.
  • [0035]
    [0035]FIG. 3 provides a plan view of another embodiment of the present invention. Although similar to the embodiment shown in FIG. 2, the side wings 202 in this embodiment are slightly narrower than the length of the center section 106 and do not include the pouches 110. Any number of other variations can also be used for the side wings 202. For example, the side wings 202 can also be sufficiently wide so as to be contiguous with one or both of the end sections 104. In one embodiment, there are one or more side wings 202 that extend the entire length of the flexible sheet 104. Preferred embodiments will likely depend on the ease and cost of manufacturing, as well as the needs of the end user.
  • [0036]
    [0036]FIG. 4 shows an embodiment in which there are multiple pouch sets 110 a, 110 b and 110 c (having lips 115 a, 115 b and 115 c, respectively), for releasably securing multiple absorbent articles 112 a, 112 b and 112 c, respectively. In other embodiments, there can be two, four or more pouch sets, depending on the particular application. Such a configuration provides for maximum flexibility by allowing multiple absorbent articles 112 of varying sizes to be used and replaced as needed. Any number of variations are also possible, including embodiments with one or more side wings and/or end wings as described herein. The use of multiple pouch sets, such as those shown in FIG. 4, allows the user to position the absorbent articles, e.g., 112 a, 112 b and 112 c, where leakage is most likely to occur, thus maximizing the usefulness of each absorbent article.
  • [0037]
    [0037]FIG. 5 shows an alternative embodiment having multiple pouch sets together with end wings 502 that are contiguous with the end sections 104 and tucked into the head and foot of the mattress 103. Such end wings 502 can be of any suitable size and shape and can be in addition to or instead of one or more side wings 202 shown in FIG. 2. In another embodiment there is only one end wing 502 on either the head or foot end, as desired. It is also possible to use end wings 502 on the embodiments shown above in FIGS. 1-3 or any variations thereof.
  • [0038]
    [0038]FIG. 6 shows an alternative embodiment of the holder 100 of the present invention comprising only the center section 106 and a pouch pair 110 sized to accommodate a small absorbent article 112, such as a chair pad for a wheelchair 602. In this embodiment, the holder 100 has side wings 202 secured to the underside of the seat portion of the wheelchair 502. The side wings 202 can be secured by any suitable securing or attachment means, such as with any type of releasable adhesive, including adhesive tabs, any type of “grabbable” material, such as a hook-type fabric, and so forth. Other securing means can include sections of a two-part fastener, such as a hook and loop-type (fabric) material. In one embodiment, the two-part fastener is made by Velcro USA Inc. in Manchester, N.H., and sold under the brand name of VELCRO(.
  • [0039]
    In an alternative embodiment, the side wings 202 are not secured to the underside of the seat and are allowed to hang loosely. In another alternative embodiment, there are no side wings 202 and the holder 100 is secured to the seat portion by any suitable means. In yet another alternative embodiment, there are no side wings 202 and the holder 100 is not secured to the seat. In this embodiment, the weight of the person in the chair suffices to keep the holder 100 in place. In yet another embodiment, the holder 100 has a non-slip backing. In yet another embodiment, there is only a single pouch.
  • [0040]
    In some embodiments, the additional securing means described above with respect to FIG. 6 are used to enhance any of the holder embodiments described herein. For example, in the embodiments shown in FIGS. 1-5, the desired securing means can be placed on the underside of the lip 115 and/or on the opposing bottom surface of the pouch to aid in holding the absorbent article 112 in place during use. In one embodiment, the additional securing means can additionally or instead be located on the outer perimeter of the absorbent article 112 itself. In another embodiment, additional securing means, such as adhesive tabs, are used to secure the outer edges of the pouch pair 110 directly to the center section 108. Additional securing means are not required in most embodiments, however, as the holder of the present invention is designed to withstand the normal forces associated with use of an absorbent article 112 for extended periods.
  • [0041]
    In a particular embodiment, a single pouch is used, such as the pouch of the pouch pair 110 shown in FIG. 1 that is closer to the head of the bed, although the invention is not so limited. In this embodiment, additional securing means can be located in the area of the lip 115, as described above. Additionally or alternately, additional securing means can also be located on the flexible sheet 104 itself or added to the underside of the absorbent article 112 to aid in securing or tacking down any portion of the absorbent article 112 not located in the pouch, such as the opposing unrestrained corners and/or opposing edges and/or adjacent edges. In this embodiment, the additional securing means can take the form of a strip of adhesive applied to the flexible sheet 104 (or absorbent article 112) or one or more patches of adhesive applied in various locations of the flexible sheet 104 (or absorbent article 112), such as near the corner area of the absorbent article 112.
  • [0042]
    In any of the embodiments described herein, the absorbent article 112 can be secured or slipped under the pouch sets 110 of the holder 100 using any suitable method. One method of securing an absorbent article 112 into the holder 100 of the present invention includes a user, typically a caregiver or nurse, laying a holder 100 on the surface to be protected, such as a mattress or seat. The caregiver can then use one hand for raising the lip 115 of a first pouch, while using the other hand for slipping the outer perimeter of a first edge under the first pouch. The caregiver can then use either hand for raising the lip 115 of a second pouch, while using the other hand for slipping the outer perimeter of an opposing second edge under the second pouch. In one embodiment, the method further comprises raising an outer edge of a third pouch and slipping an outer perimeter of a third edge of the absorbent article into the third pouch. Alternatively, after laying the holder 100 on the surface to be protected, the caregiver can use both of his or her hands at about the same time to raise each pouch a sufficient amount to allow the opposing edges of the absorbent article 112 to be placed underneath. The caregiver can then optionally smooth the absorbent article to ensure that most or all wrinkles are removed at the outset. Such “smoothing” can include the application of pressure to the pouches to more firmly secure the absorbent article within. In use, the absorbent article holder functions to help reduce the number of wrinkles that can develop over time in an absorbent article, thus significantly reducing the probability that bed sores will develop in the person lying on the absorbent article 112.
  • [0043]
    In embodiments in which additional securing means are used, the caregiver ensures that the additional securing means is in contact with the absorbent article 112 by smoothing the pouch pair 110 along its length, i.e., applying slight pressure to cause a temporary bonding of the absorbent article 112 with each pouch.
  • [0044]
    In one embodiment, the absorbent article is secured in place by raising an outer edge of a single pouch located in the holder; slipping an outer perimeter of a first edge of an absorbent article into the single pouch; and applying pressure to the single pouch to more firmly secure the absorbent article with releasable securing means located on at least one inner surface of the single pouch.
  • [0045]
    The holder can be produced according to any number of known manufacturing methods for forming, cutting and folding plastic films. Use of a particular method will depend on the economics and design of a particular application. For example, in one embodiment, as shown in FIG. 7A, the laminating process 700 begins by unwinding sheet material 702. The sheet material is then folded 706 transversely at predetermined locations to create the pouch sets. The holder is cut to width as the pouch edges are being sealed 710 along their edges. This can be accomplished by any suitable means, such as with a heated knife and anvil system. In another embodiment, a hot wire cutoff device is used to seal the holder, similar to the system used to produce trash bags, as is known in the art. Individual holders are then separated 712 using a suitable belt system and conveyed to packaging. In some embodiments, as described above, multiple pouch sets are formed for each individual holder.
  • [0046]
    Optionally, side wings can be added to the holder by unwinding 714 side wing film, which in most instances is comprised of the same material as the pouch and sheet materials. The side wing film is then joined 716 to the holder either with intermittent adhesive or heat bonds. The side wing section or sections are then cut 718 to form individual products.
  • [0047]
    In other embodiments, end wings can optionally be added by unwinding 720 end wing material 720, which again, in most instances is comprised of the same material as the other components of the holder. The end wing film is then joined 722 to one or both ends of the flexible sheet. In this way, extensions to the flexible sheet are created. The end wing section or sections are then cut 724 to form individual products. In another embodiment, both end wings and side wings are produced.
  • [0048]
    [0048]FIG. 7B provides a simplified side view of the sheet material as it is being folded in step 706 of FIG. 7A to create a pouch pair 110 as described above. Each pouch has a lip 115 as shown that is contiguous with the end sections 108 and the center section 106, thus forming the holder 100.
  • [0049]
    In an alternative embodiment, as shown in FIG. 8, the flexible sheet and pouches are both thick gauge plastic film supplied on separate rolls. The alternate laminating process 800 begins by unwinding pouch material 802 and sheet material 804 from their respective rolls. In one embodiment, the pouch material is slit and separated into the desired pouch locations after being unwound from a single roll. In another embodiment, there is an individual roll of pouch material for each pouch location. The pouch material and sheet material are joined together 806 in any suitable manner, such as with use of adhesives or a continuous heat sealing process (e.g., heated wheel, ultrasonic, etc.). The process continues as described above for FIG. 7.
  • [0050]
    The holder of the present invention is considerably more economical, practical and easy to use than holders currently available for absorbent articles. By using a holder that contains a minimal number of pouches designed to releasably secure the outer perimeter of an absorbent article, it is now possible to prevent an absorbent article from bunching, twisting, wrinkling and slipping during use, thus maximizing the effectiveness of the absorbent article, while still maintaining patient comfort. The multiple pouch set embodiments allow the user, for the first time, to protect bedding from head to foot using one single device. The multiple pouch embodiments also allow the user to replace only those absorbent articles that need to be changed, without needed to adjust or change absorbent articles which do not yet need replacing. By also using a film material that is impermeable to liquids, yet impermeable to vapors, the bedding or chair is fully protected. This material has the additional advantage of preventing heat build-up, thus reducing patient sweating. Additionally, the reduction in wrinkles helps to improve skin health. The optional side wings and end wings, as well as the use of an optional additional securing means, provide even more advantages for those applications requiring increased holding strength.
  • [0051]
    Although specific embodiments have been illustrated and described herein, it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that any arrangement which is calculated to achieve the same purpose may be substituted for the specific embodiment shown. For example, the holder of the present invention can be modified for use in most any location, including, but not limited to, seats on airplanes, automobiles, trains and buses as well as stretchers, sleeping bags, couches, chairs, recliners, car seats, or any other locations on which people sit or lie. This application is intended to cover any adaptations or variations of the present invention. Therefore, it is manifestly intended that this invention be limited only by the claims and the equivalents thereof.
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8176608 *Sep 8, 2009May 15, 2012L&P Property Management CompanyMethod of manufacturing slow acting pocketed spring core
US8211078Feb 17, 2005Jul 3, 2012The Procter And Gamble CompanySanitary napkins capable of taking complex three-dimensional shape in use
US8702668Jun 8, 2012Apr 22, 2014The Procter And Gamble CompanySanitary napkins capable of taking complex three-dimensional shape in use
US20030124928 *Dec 27, 2001Jul 3, 2003Sherrod Earle H.Non-slip absorbent article
US20040166321 *Feb 21, 2003Aug 26, 2004Rippl Carl G.Non-slip portable absorbent article
US20090320269 *Dec 31, 2009L&P Property Management CompanyMethod of Manufacturing Slow Acting Pocketed Spring Core
US20140215715 *Sep 25, 2013Aug 7, 2014Carol SuchmanWaterproof perforated layered sheet
Classifications
U.S. Classification5/484
International ClassificationA47C21/06
Cooperative ClassificationA47C31/105, A47C27/006, A47C31/113
European ClassificationA47C31/10A, A47C31/11D, A47C27/00T8D
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 12, 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: KIMBERLY-CLARK WORLDWIDE, INC, WISCONSIN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:COOK, STEPHEN B.;SHERROD, EARLE H.;SANDERS, DONALD J.;REEL/FRAME:011615/0226
Effective date: 20010302