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Publication numberUS20020184707 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/198,391
Publication dateDec 12, 2002
Filing dateJul 17, 2002
Priority dateFeb 21, 2001
Also published asUS20020112290
Publication number10198391, 198391, US 2002/0184707 A1, US 2002/184707 A1, US 20020184707 A1, US 20020184707A1, US 2002184707 A1, US 2002184707A1, US-A1-20020184707, US-A1-2002184707, US2002/0184707A1, US2002/184707A1, US20020184707 A1, US20020184707A1, US2002184707 A1, US2002184707A1
InventorsEmeline Stevens
Original AssigneeEmeline Stevens
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Body supports and protectors
US 20020184707 A1
Abstract
A support pad that includes a main body section having a front fabric panel and a rear fabric panel between which is disposed a quantity of a soft fluffy material. A central flap and two lateral or side flaps are attached to the main body section along one side thereof, the side flaps being disposed on opposite sides of the central flap. One of the side flaps is spaced from the central flap by a distance which is substantially larger than a spacing between the central flap and another of the side flaps, the distance being sufficiently great to define a cutout or gap for receiving an ancillary pad or pillow support.
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Claims(18)
What is claimed is:
1. A support pad or pillow comprising:
a main body section filled with soft fluffy material, said main body section having a front fabric panel and a rear fabric panel, said front fabric panel being adaptable to be placeable against a person's body, said soft fluffy material being disposed between said front and rear panels, said front and rear panels being attached to one another along at least a portion of their respective peripheries; and
a central flap attached to said main body section along one side thereof; and
two side flaps attached to said main body section along said one side of said main body section, said side flaps being disposed on opposite sides of said central flap, one of said side flaps being spaced from said central flap by a distance which is substantially larger than a spacing between said central flap and another of said side flaps, said distance being sufficiently great to define a cutout or gap for receiving an ancillary pad or pillow support.
2. The support pad set forth in claim 1 wherein said side flaps are each connected to said main body section along a foldable hinge area, whereby the side flaps may be bent back under said main body section for purposes of enhanced local support.
3. The support pad set forth in claim 2 wherein at least one of said side flaps is connected to said main body section along a seam extending in the respective foldable hinge area, said seam attaching said front fabric panel to said rear fabric panel and thereby pinching said front fabric panel and said rear fabric panel together to form a groove along said seam which allows ambient air to flow along said seam between said rear fabric panel and the person's body.
4. The support pad set forth in claim 1 wherein said cutout or gap is of a predetermined size so that said cutout or gap receives said ancillary pad or pillow in a cradling or close fit.
5. The support pad set forth in claim 1 wherein said central flap has a width extending substantially perpendicularly to said one side of said main body section, said side flaps each having a respective length extending substantially perpendicularly to said one side of said main body section, the lengths of said side flaps being substantially larger than said width of said central flap.
6. The support pad set forth in claim 1 wherein said main body section is provided with an extension or flap projecting from said main body section on a side thereof opposite said central flap and said side flaps.
7. A support pad assembly comprising a first pillow and a second pillow, said first pillow being provided with a cutout removably receiving said second pillow, said first pillow having a front fabric panel and a rear fabric panel, said front fabric panel being adaptable to be placeable against a person's body, soft fluffy material being disposed between said front fabric panel and said rear fabric panel, said front fabric panel and said rear fabric panel being attached to one another along at least a portion of their respective peripheries, said front fabric panel and said rear fabric panel being provided with substantially identical cutout sections aligned with one another, said front fabric panel and said rear fabric panel being attached to one another along edges of said cutout sections to define said cutout.
8. The support pad assembly set forth in claim 7 wherein said first pillow includes:
a main body section;
a central flap attached to said main body section along one side thereof; and
two side flaps attached to said main body section along said one side of said main body section, said side flaps being disposed on opposite sides of said central flap, one of said side flaps being spaced from said central flap by said cutout.
9. The support pad assembly set forth in claim 8 wherein said ancillary pillow comprises a substantially crescent-shaped main body section filled with respective soft fluffy material, said crescent-shaped main body section having a respective front fabric panel and a respective rear fabric panel, said respective front fabric panel being adaptable to be placeable against a person's body, said respective soft fluffy material being disposed between said respective front fabric panel and said respective rear fabric panel, said respective front fabric panel and said respective rear fabric panel being attached to one another along at least a portion of their respective peripheries.
10. The support pad assembly set forth in claim 9 wherein said crescent-shaped main body section has a concave side defining a partially enclosed area, said ancillary pillow further comprising a web member disposed in said area and connected to said crescent-shaped main body section along said concave side thereof.
11. The support pad assembly set forth in claim 8 wherein at least one of said side flaps is connected to said main body section along a seam extending in the respective foldable hinge area, said seam attaching said front fabric panel to said rear fabric panel and thereby pinching said front fabric panel and said rear fabric panel together to form a groove along said seam which allows ambient air to flow along said seam between said rear fabric panel and the person's body.
12. The support pad set forth in claim 8 wherein said central flap has a width extending substantially perpendicularly to said one side of said main body section, said side flaps each having a respective length extending substantially perpendicularly to said one side of said main body section, the lengths of said side flaps being substantially larger than said width of said central flap.
13. The support pad assembly set forth in claim 7 wherein said ancillary pillow comprises a substantially crescent-shaped main body section filled with respective soft fluffy material, said crescent-shaped main body section having a respective front fabric panel and a respective rear fabric panel, said respective front fabric panel being adaptable to be placeable against a person's body, said respective soft fluffy material being disposed between said respective front fabric panel and said respective rear fabric panel, said respective front fabric panel and said respective rear fabric panel being attached to one another along at least a portion of their respective peripheries.
14. The support pad assembly set forth in claim 13 wherein said crescent-shaped main body section has a concave side defining a partially enclosed area, said ancillary pillow further comprising a web member disposed in said area and connected to said crescent-shaped main body section along said concave side thereof.
15. A support pad, comprising:
a main body section filled with soft fluffy material, said main body section having a front fabric panel and a rear fabric panel attached to one another along at least a portion of their respective peripheries, said front fabric panel being adaptable to be placeable against a person's body, said soft fluffy material being disposed between said front and rear panels;
a central flap attached to said main body section along one side thereof; and
two side flaps attached to said main body section along said one side of said main body section, said side flaps being disposed on opposite sides of said central flap, one of said side flaps being separated from said central flap by a first air gap, another of said side flaps being separated from said central flap by a second air gap substantially larger than said first air gap and sufficiently large to enable reception of an ancillary pillow.
16. The support pad set forth in claim 15 wherein said side flaps are each connected to said main body section along a foldable hinge area, whereby the respective side flap may be bent back under said main body section for purposes of enhanced local support.
17. The support pad set forth in claim 15 wherein at least one of said side flaps is connected to said main body section along a seam, said seam attaching said front panel to said rear panel and thereby pinching said front and rear panels together to form a groove along said seam which allows ambient air to flow along said seam between said front panel and the person's body.
18. A relaxation or rest method comprising:
providing a support pad assembly comprising a first pillow and a second pillow, said first pillow being provided with a cutout removably receiving said second pillow;
disposing a person's head and upper back on said first pillow;
subsequently inserting said second pillow in said cutout;
after the insertion of said second pillow in said cutout, supporting a breast of the person on said second pillow in said cutout while the person's head and upper back are supported by said first pillow;
removing said second pillow from said cutout; and
disposing an individual's head and upper back on said first pillow after the removing of said second pillow from said cutout.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to body support and protection devices; and, more particularly, to such devices used to support and protect areas and parts of the body of a person confined for prolonged periods to a bed, chair, wheelchair, or the like.

[0002] Prolonged confinement to a bed, chair, or wheelchair can result in discomfort to the person so confined. Quite often such confinement also results in complications including bed sores (decubiti) or other ulcerations. The discomfort, sores, and ulcerations are generated by the continued contact between particular areas and points of the body with the support surface, such as a mattress and its sheets, or other protective coverings. Lying in a particular position for a prolonged period produces prolonged external pressure on skin and body tissues covering rigid or bony body parts. This compromises the blood supply to these areas which, after a sustained period, results in local necrosis and the formation of sores constituting localized areas of dead tissue over bony body protuberances. Such conditions are aggravated when the patient is thin or has become thin due to prolonged periods of being an invalid and immobile. The discomfort, sores, and ulcerations are further exacerbated when the sheets and other bed coverings bunch up or wrinkle, which can occur with each movement of the person.

[0003] Quite often the regular turning of the person to a different position by attendants or hospital staff merely increases the number of body parts afflicted with the discomfort, sores, and ulcers.

[0004] Mattress-type body supports of configurations to provide support for particular body areas are known, as shown for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 1,548,728 granted on Aug. 4, 1925 to W. D. Milan for Mattress and U.S. Pat. No. 4,054,960 granted on Oct. 25, 1977 to John E. Petril, et al. for Inflatable Body Support Cushion Particularly To Support A Woman During Pregnancy. These body supports are constructed and configured only to accommodate a person lying in a facedown position, and with a peculiar body configuration (such as being pregnant), and as such are not suitable for use to prevent discomfort, sores, and ulcers for a person who must lie or sit for prolonged periods of time. Body part supports such as those shown and described in U.S. Pat. No. 1,170,119 granted Feb. 1,1916 to F. W. Sefton for Chiropractic Adjusting Table, and in U.S. Pat. No. 4,596,384 granted on Jun. 24, 1986 to E. E. Blosser for Spinal Adjustment Table are also peculiarly adapted to support persons lying in a facedown position and as such are unsuitable for accommodating persons who are confined to lie or sit on their backs, sides, or other similar positions.

[0005] Still other specialized body supports are shown and described in, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,584,730 on Apr. 29, 1986 to E. Rajan for Device For Stabilizing The Pelvis Of A Patient Lying On His Side. This device, however, is only usable for pelvis stabilization and is not suitable or applicable to facilitate reduction of bed sores and ulcerations for persons who are confined to beds or wheelchairs for prolonged periods but who are permitted to assume a number of positions while doing so.

[0006] Other mattress type body supports are shown, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 3,428,974 granted on Feb. 25, 1969 to J. C. Stuart for Compartmented Air Mattress, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,290,155 granted on Sep. 22, 1981 to P. B. Hanson for Articulated Bed, in U.S. Pat. No. 3,626,526 granted on Dec. 14,1971 to E. P. R. Viel for Mattresses and in U.S. Pat. No. 3,451,071 granted on Jun. 24, 1969 to J. G. Whiteley for Means For Removing Pressure From Pressure Sores. The Stuart type mattress (U.S. Pat. No. 3,428,974) however, is merely made up of a number of inflatable sections of identical configuration and which are individually inflated to different pressures if desired and does not accommodate different body parts so as to minimize or prevent sores and ulcers. The Hanson type mattress (U.S. Pat. No. 4,290,155) is constructed with cut-outs to accommodate a couple engaged in sexual intercourse in various positions and is completely unsuited for relieving pressure on body parts of persons confined to bed for prolonged periods. A mattress of the Viel type (U.S. Pat. No. 3,626,526) requires a highly complex construction which, when completed, is best suited to accommodate the body configuration of a single individual and is thus costly and lacks versatility. While a mattress of the Whiteley type (U.S. Pat. No. 3,451,071) is constructed for persons with trochanteric pressure sores on their hips, the reference neither teaches nor shows constructions suitable and adaptable to other body parts. In addition, the Whiteley construction requires utilizing a large number of abutting ancillary pads in conjunction with the decubitus pad and thus increases the relative cost of the device while adding to the number of pads that must be stored and utilized.

[0007] Available and known constructions, such as those described above, moreover, are of mattresses or bed size and are peculiarly configured to support a person in the prone position.

[0008] Known pressure relieving pads are shown, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 2,933,738 granted on Apr. 26, 1960 to K. J. Whelan for Pressure-Relieving Pad. Such a pad construction requires the use of holes to accommodate particular body parts of the user and in doing so, may present juncture lines about such holes that may add to the discomfort of the user and may, in and of themselves, create sores and ulcerations. In addition, possible close contact between other surfaces of such pads and the body parts of the user may prevent air circulation and add further to user discomfort and to possible sores and ulcerations.

[0009] Devices, such as that shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,270,235 granted on Jun. 2, 1981 to G. L. Gutmann for Arm Support Pillow, on the other hand, are configured to support only an arm of a convalescing patient. That device does so with relatively stiff and unyielding material and in only one particular disposition. Alternatively, devices such as shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,256,879 granted on Jun. 21, 1965 to H. E. Hipps for Invalid Heel Pad, in U.S. Pat. No. 2,478,497 granted on Aug. 9, 1949 to M. B. Morrison for Rest and in U.S. Pat. No. 4,278,079 granted on Jul. 14, 1981 to Orit Simboni, et al for Negative Heel Protector Cushion are intended to support heels and feet of patients but again do so with devices made of various kinds of foam rubber, leather, and Kappcock which cradle the limb under conditions which do not facilitate air circulation about the body part and disposition of the body part in other than a prone body position.

[0010] In U.S. Pat. No. 5,103,516 for Pillow-Like Body Supports and Protectors and System of Same, the present inventor disclosed a system of body support and protection devices for reducing these problems. That patent discloses a new and improved system for supporting and protecting body parts utilizing pillow-like supports and protectors. The system is designed for use in a sitting or a prone position. Supports and protectors are disclosed for the torso, the arms, the elbows, and the heels. These provide a soft cushion support while permitting the flow of air about the body part to minimize or eliminate bed sores and ulcers.

[0011] The invention of U.S. Pat. No. 5,103,516 discloses a system of pillow-like supports and body protectors for supporting body parts while either in a prone or sitting position. Supports and protectors are provided for the torso, arms, elbows, and heels of a person. The invention effectively provides a soft cushion support for these body parts while permitting the flow of air about the body part to thus minimize or eliminate bed sores and ulcers.

[0012] However, recovering patients may suffer from sores or ulcers on body parts other than the torso, arms, elbows, and heels. Additionally, patients recovering from certain types of surgery, e.g., breast surgery, can have very tender and sensitive areas of the body which require support and ventilation. Body parts that require support and ventilation include the head and cervical region, spine, coccyx, head and shoulder area, elbows, buttocks, and breasts.

[0013] Moreover, it has been discovered that conventional support pads simply press against the skin or a patient and do not adequately allow ambient air to enter in between the pad and the skin. This lack of aeration can be uncomfortable and unhealthy.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0014] Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to provide new and improved cushioned pillow-like body part support pads.

[0015] It is another object of this invention to provide new and improved pillow-like body part protectors.

[0016] It is yet another object of this invention to provide a new and improved system or assembly of pillow-like body part supports and protectors.

[0017] It is yet still another object of this invention to provide a new and improved system of pillow-like supports for supporting body parts while in either a prone or sitting position and to protect such body parts from sores and ulcers while so disposed.

[0018] It is a further object of this invention to provide a new and improved cushioned pillow-like support pad and protector for the head and cervical region of a person.

[0019] A more particular object of this invention is to provide such a new and improved cushioned pillow-like support pad and protector for the head and cervical region of a person, which also optionally serves to support and protect at least one breast of a female patient.

[0020] It is still a further object of this invention to provide a new and improved cushioned pillow-like support pad and protector for the spine of a person.

[0021] It is yet a further object of this invention to provide new and improved cushioned pillow-like support pads and protectors for the chin of a person.

[0022] These and other objects of the present invention will be apparent from the drawings and descriptions herein. Each object is believed to be attained by at least one embodiment of the invention. However, no embodiment is deemed to necessarily meet all objects of the invention.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0023] The above and other objects are achieved by the invention, which is a support pad that includes a main body section filled with soft fluffy material. The main body section has a front fabric panel and a rear fabric panel, where the rear fabric panel is adapted to be placeable against a person's body. The front and rear panels are attached to one another along at least a portion of their respective peripheries; the panels are either separate sheets of fabric that are sewn about their peripheries, or they can be a single sheet of fabric folded over itself and sewn around the edges. In either event, the soft fluffy material is disposed between the front and rear panels. A central flap and two lateral or side flaps are attached to the main body section along one side thereof, the side flaps being disposed on opposite sides of the central flap. One of the side flaps is spaced from the central flap by a distance which is substantially larger than a spacing between the central flap and another of the side flaps, the distance being sufficiently great to define a cutout or gap for receiving an ancillary pad or pillow support.

[0024] Where the side flaps are each connected to the main body section of the support pad along a foldable hinge area, the side flaps may be bent back under the main body section for purposes of enhanced local support. At least one of the side flaps may be connected to the main body section along a seam extending in the respective foldable hinge area, the seam attaching the front fabric panel to the rear fabric panel and thereby pinching the front fabric panel and the rear fabric panel together to form a groove along the seam which allows ambient air to flow along the seam between the rear fabric panel and the person's body.

[0025] The cutout or gap is preferably of a predetermined size so that the cutout or gap receives the ancillary pad or pillow in a close fit. In other words, the size of the cutout and the dimensions of the ancillary pad or pillow are roughly matched to one another. The cutout of the support pad cooperates with an underlying surface such as a bed to form a depression or recess for cradling the ancillary pad or pillow.

[0026] In accordance with another feature of the present invention, the side flaps may extend further from the main body section of the support pad than the central flap. Thus, where the central flap has a width extending substantially perpendicularly to the one side of the main body section and where the side flaps each have a respective length extending substantially perpendicularly to the one side of the main body section, the lengths of the side flaps are substantially larger than the width of the central flap.

[0027] In accordance with another feature of the present invention, the main body section of the support pad is provided with an extension or flap projecting from the main body section on a side thereof opposite the flaps. This extension provides support for the heads of taller users.

[0028] An associated support pad assembly comprises, in accordance with the present invention, a first pillow and a second pillow, where the first pillow is provided with a cutout removably receiving the second pillow. The first pillow has a front fabric panel and a rear fabric panel, the front fabric panel being adaptable to be placeable against a person's body. Soft fluffy material is disposed between the front fabric panel and the rear fabric panel, which are attached to one another along at least a portion of their respective peripheries. The front and the rear panels are provided with substantially identical cutout sections aligned with one another, the front fabric panel and the rear fabric panel being attached to one another along edges of the cutout sections to define the cutout.

[0029] As discussed above, the first pillow may include a main body section, a central flap attached to the main body section along one side thereof, and two side flaps attached to the main body section along the one side of the main body section. The side flaps are disposed on opposite sides of the central flap, with one of the side flaps being spaced from the central flap by the cutout.

[0030] In accordance with an additional feature of the present invention, the ancillary pillow comprises a substantially crescent-shaped main body section filled with a respective amount of soft fluffy material. The crescent-shaped main body section has a respective front fabric panel and a respective rear fabric panel, the latter panel being adaptable to be placeable against a person's body. The amount of soft fluffy material is disposed between the respective front fabric panel and the respective rear fabric panel, which are attached to one another along at least a portion of their respective peripheries.

[0031] The crescent-shaped main body section may be formed with a concave side defining a partially enclosed area. In that case, the ancillary pillow may further comprise a web member disposed in the area and connected to the crescent-shaped main body section along the concave side thereof. The web member may be padded and of sufficient material to form a cup shape receptacle inside the crescent-shaped pad.

[0032] A relaxation or rest method utilizing the above-described support pad or pillow assembly comprises disposing a person's head and upper back on the main pillow and subsequently inserting the second or ancillary pillow in the cutout. Subsequently, a breast of the person is supported on the ancillary pillow in the cutout while the person's head and upper back are supported by the main pillow. At a later time, the second pillow may be removed from the cutout so that the main pillow may be used without the ancillary pillow. In that event, an individual's head and upper back are disposed on the main pillow.

[0033] The present invention is a further extension of the teachings of U.S. Pat. No. 5,103,516, and discloses additional pillow-like supports and protector devices for supporting and protecting body parts. Devices are particularly disclosed for providing head and cervical support and breast support.

[0034] The pillows and pillow assemblies of the present invention are designed to elevate, support, protect, ventilate, and relax pressure points on body parts to prevent and eliminate both first and second degree ulcers. The pillows and pillow assemblies of the present invention may also serve to exercise a patient confined to a bed and a wheelchair. The pillows and pillow assemblies of the present invention may be provided with structure for providing ventilation and air flow to the supported body part(s), while maintaining good blood circulation in the area and providing both massage-like exercise and relaxation of the body and body parts.

[0035] The pillows can be used individually or in combinations as a system. They can be used by those in a bed, chair, or wheelchair. They are suitable for use in homes, hospitals, nursing homes, places of business, and hotels, among other areas. Similarly, they can be used in many different contexts and by those in numerous different professions, for example, drivers, shoemakers, tailors, dressmakers, or sportsmen.

[0036] In addition, the pillows can be covered with appropriate casings.

[0037] This invention involves the support and protection of parts of the human body, particularly when confined to a bed or wheelchair for prolonged periods of time to minimize if not eliminate bed sores and ulcerations that ensue from prolonged bed and wheelchair stays. The invention contemplates providing pillow-like supports and protectors for body parts (including the head and cervical region, and breasts) which provide a soft cushion support for same while permitting the flow of air about the body part to thus minimize or eliminate bed sores and ulcers.

[0038] The pillows disclosed herein are the result of many years of experience in the field of nursing, experience in providing care to sick, disabled, and elderly people. Consideration of those confined to a bed in particular prompted design of pillows for the healing of bedsores and comfort for the bedridden. The pillow designs disclosed herein are based in part on the observation that elevation, ventilation, and blood circulation play a vital role in healing pressure sores. The pillows or support pads disclosed herein are of different sizes and shapes to contour with different parts of the human body. The pillows incorporate a body ventilation system and accordingly have the ability to elevate, support, ventilate, exercise, and provide comfort—which is the major contributing factor of the pillows' effectiveness. The pillows are adaptable to different patient requirements and are compatible with each other, which makes them suitable for health care institutions and home care.

[0039] Other objects, features, and advantages of the invention in its details of construction and arrangement of parts will be seen from the above, from the following description of the preferred embodiments when considered with the drawing and from the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0040]FIG. 1 is a plan view of a pillow-like support and protector for providing head and cervical support.

[0041]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the device of FIG. 1, showing how the head and cervical support is positioned to interrelate with the device of FIG. 9.

[0042]FIG. 3 is a plan view of a pillow-like support and protector for providing spinal support.

[0043]FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a pillow-like support and protector for the coccyx, the tailbone.

[0044]FIG. 5 is a plan view of a pillow-like support and protector for the head and shoulders.

[0045]FIG. 6 is a plan view of a pillow-like support and protector for use with bedpans.

[0046]FIG. 7 is a perspective view of the device shown in FIG. 6.

[0047]FIG. 8 is a perspective view of pillow-like support and protector for the elbow, which can be used with the device of FIG. 5.

[0048]FIG. 9 is a side view of a first breast support and protector which can be used with the support of FIG. 1 and 2.

[0049]FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a second breast support and protector.

[0050]FIG. 11 is a front view of a dual breast support and protector.

[0051]FIG. 12 is a rear view of the dual breast support and protector shown in FIG. 11.

[0052]FIG. 13 is a front view of a person wearing the device of FIGS. 11-12.

[0053]FIG. 14 is a side view of a person donning and wearing the device of FIGS. 11-12.

[0054]FIG. 15 is a perspective view of a person, lying on her side, while resting her head on the head and cervical support device (FIG. 1), resting the arm in a scapula elbow are rest, having one breast held in breast support of the type shown in FIG. 9 and resting the other breast on a pair of stacked breast supports of the type shown in FIG. 10.

[0055]FIG. 16A is a schematic cross-sectional view of a conventional support pad in contact with a person's skin.

[0056]FIG. 16B is a schematic cross-sectional view of a support pad in contact with a person's skin.

[0057]FIG. 16C is a schematic top plan view of a support pad.

[0058]FIG. 17 is a schematic top plan view of a pillow support for the head and cervical region of a user.

[0059]FIG. 18 is a schematic top plan view of a pillow support for the lumbar region of a user.

[0060]FIG. 19 is a schematic top plan view of a pillow support for the head and shoulder region of a user.

[0061]FIG. 20 is a schematic top plan view, partially broken away, of a head and cervical support pad in accordance with the present invention.

[0062]FIG. 21 is a schematic top plan view of a breast support pad in accordance with the present invention.

[0063]FIG. 22 is a schematic top plan view of the head and cervical support pad of FIG. 20 and the breast support pad of FIG. 21, showing concerted or simultaneous use of those pads in accordance with the present invention.

[0064]FIG. 23 is a schematic top plan view of a chin and head support pad in accordance with the present invention.

[0065]FIG. 24 is a schematic side elevational view of the pad of FIG. 23.

[0066]FIG. 25 is a schematic top plan view of a thigh and knee support pillow.

[0067]FIG. 26 is a schematic side elevational view of the pillow of FIG. 25, showing an ancillary ankle or foot support pillow removably attached to the top of the thigh and knee support pillow.

[0068]FIG. 27 is schematic top plan view of the ankle and foot support pillow of FIG. 26.

[0069]FIG. 28 is a schematic top plan view of an alternate elbow support pad.

[0070]FIG. 29 is a schematic side elevational view of the pillow of FIG. 28.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS AND OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0071] Extended periods of immobility can result in discomfort, a consequence of the application of prolonged pressure on particular areas of the body. These pressurized areas or “pressure points” can become sore from the effects of the extended pressure. With time, sores, ulcers, hemorrhoids, and similar health-related problems can develop.

[0072] To alleviate these problems, the present application discloses a system of pillow-like supports and protectors which cushion, protect, ventilate, elevate, and massage areas of the body which are commonly affected by prolonged immobility. By reducing the pressure on the exterior of the body which results from prolonged periods of immobility, the supports also promote proper blood circulation.

[0073] The supports and protectors are constructed and configured to receive, cushion and ventilate those parts of a person's body which would otherwise come into direct contact with the bed or bed liner upon which they are lying. The supports and protectors are fabricated from a relatively soft material (such as Chem-Soft pillow ticking available from Chemstick Coated Fabrics, Inc. of Hicksville, New York) stuffed with polyurethane. Restless patients who are not capable of adjusting pillows will not come into contact with sharp edges when utilizing these pillows since such have been carefully eliminated.

[0074] The inventive support pads allow for the ventilation of the supported parts of the body by providing air channels or grooves in median locations in the pad. The air channel or groove is formed by pinching the front and rear panels of the pad together in a non-peripheral location. Pinching the front and rear panels together can be accomplished by stitching, for example.

[0075] A conventional support pad 300 is shown in FIG. 16A in section. It includes front panel 302 and rear panel 304. Puffy material 306 makes the support pad soft and yielding. Rear panel 304 is designed to be placed against the skin 310 of a person's body (not shown). Because there is no gap between rear panel 304 and the skin 310, air cannot contact the skin, and sweat can accumulate on the skin, leading to an uncomfortable and unhealthy condition.

[0076] The pillows and support pads disclosed herein alleviates this uncomfortable and unhealthy condition by allowing air to contact the skin. Instead of providing a conventional flat pad, the inventive pad includes an air groove designed to allow ambient air to contact the skin. As best shown in FIGS. 16B and 16C, pad 320 has front panel 302 and rear panel 304 as before. However, medial seam 315 is provided by, for example, stitching panels 302 and 304 together in a central location. The stitching of the front and rear panels 302 and 304 together in a central location pinches pad 320 away from skin 310 and forms air channel or groove 318. Pad 320 does not contact skin 310 at all points, owing to channel or groove 318, and as a result, ambient air is allowed to circulate and come into contact with the skin. Sweat can evaporate, and ulcers will be much less likely to form. It is preferable that medial seam 315 extend at least from one peripheral point on pad 320 to allow for better air circulation. The exemplary pad 320, as shown in FIG. 16C, employs a medial seam which extends from one peripheral point on pad 320 to a second peripheral point to allow for better air flow.

[0077] Description will now be given to specific pads. Some of these pads employ the above-described air channel or groove to enable ambient air to contact the supported body part, while some of the pads employ gaps or entire cut-out or cut-away portions for the same purpose, namely, to ventilate the supported body part.

[0078] With reference to FIG. 1, a pillow-like head and cervical support and protector 10 is shown. The pillow provides head and cervical support when an individual rests his or her head and neck upon it. The pillow 10 has short side edges 13 and 15 which, along with top and bottom edges, are tapered or rounded to connect the top or front surface to the bottom or rear surface. Flaps 12 are defined along their respective inner sides by edge 12 a and on their outer sides by edge 12 b. Inner edge 12 a is concave and curves inwardly towards the body of flap 12. A central flap 14 is disposed between flaps 12. The sides of flap 14 are defined by edges 14 a, which are also concave and respectively curve away from edges 12 a of flaps 12. Because both edges 12 a and 14 a are concave and curve away form each other, an air gap 11 is formed between each flap 12 and flap 14. Air gaps 11 allow ambient air to flow around the head and cervical region, providing ventilation. Also, the front panel of pillow 10 is sewn to the back panel of pillow 10 across the body of the pillow at seams 9. By pinching the front and rear panels of pillow 10 together (as in FIG. 16B, discussed above), air grooves or channels similar to air groove 218 are formed along seams 9 and ambient air is allowed to flow there along. Ambient air is allowed to contact the rear neck and shoulders and ventilate same. The pillow 10, flaps 12, and central flap 14 are all stuffed with a suitable material. A recommended stuffing is polyurethane.

[0079] Pillow 10 may be used with flaps 12 lying flat substantially in the same plane as pillow 10, or may be used with flaps 12 folded back along seams 9 as shown in FIG. 2. FIG. 2 displays use of the pillow shown in FIG. 1 with the flaps 12 in a folded back position and with center flap 14 extended forwardly. Seams 9 allow flaps 12 to conveniently fold backwardly, and by sewing the top and bottom surfaces of the pillow together, creates the above-mentioned air groove or channel along seams 9. It should be noted that ambient air can travel along the air groove above seam 9 when the flap is in either the flat or folded position. Folding flaps 12 back under pillow 10, raises the upper portion of the pillow and leaves central flap 14 forwardly extended to elevate and support the upper vertebral column, and to ventilate the head and cervical regions. With flaps 12 folded back, pillow 10 may be used in conjunction with a breast support of the type shown in FIG. 9. In such a configuration, as will be explained below, breast support 300A conveniently fits in the area beside central flap 14 and partially tucked under flap 12. Breast support 300A is placed in this area (where flaps 12 were located before they were folded backwardly) when a patient is lying on her side.

[0080]FIG. 3 shows a pillow-like support and protector 16 for providing spinal body support. The pillow provides support for the lower back area to just above the buttocks. Air gaps 17, 18, and 19, each having, respectively, side walls 17 a and 17 b, 18 a and 18 b, and 19 a and 19 b, are cut into the side edges of pillow 16. Air gaps 17-19 allow ambient air to come into contact with the body and thus to ventilate the body areas while the pillow provides elevation and support. The side walls 17 a-19 b of air gaps may be cut straight or concave.

[0081]FIG. 4 shows what the inventor has coined as a Maxi-Cushion Support 22, i.e., a pillow-like support and protector. The cushion 22 provides support for the coccyx (also known as the tailbone). A patient sits on the cushion 22 with the coccyx located above and over and slightly depressing into the keyhole shaped opening 21. Keyhole shaped opening 21 relieves pressure on the coccyx while cushion 22 cushions and provides support around it. Air slot 20 connects an edge of cushion 22 to opening and allows ambient air to ventilate the coccyx area. The pillow 22 is sufficiently thick, i.e., elevated, as shown by vertical sides 23, so that the coccyx is supported and protected by the pillow and, in this way, the tailbone is protected from contact with a hard surface.

[0082] This support cushion 22 is useful for anyone who sits prolonged periods. For example, the cushion can be used in an office environment, in a hospital, or while driving. The pillow removes and reduces pressure to the coccyx area, providing comfort while sitting. Thus, the pillow is also useful for those who have sensitivities or medical problems in this area, such as hemorrhoids, broken tailbones, or bony buttocks. A recommended material for fabricating the Maxi-Cushion Support is “Chem-Soft” material and foam. A recommended size is 15 inches by 18 inches. The vertical side walls 23 provide stability to the device and limit side to side rolling of the device beneath the patient's weight.

[0083] Support cushion 22 is designed particularly to protect and give comfort. The key-hole slot makes it possible for air to flow in around the coccyx area to stimulate the blood to circulate properly into that area and reduces the incidence of hemorrhoids—caused by constant sitting on a hard, unfriendly surfaces. Cushion 22 thus protects bony rear ends, as well as broken tailbones. Cushion 22 provides comfort to the wheelchair bound, tailors, dressmakers, motor vehicle and train drivers, and those in health care institutions.

[0084] In cushion 22, cut-out 21 is a key-hole-shaped slot. The opening 20 is not into the middle of the pillow. Instead, opening 20 is designed to fit under the coccyx. The “slit” in the back is made narrow so that enough space for the buttock in order that sitter can maintain a good balance. The “Maxi-Cushion” will allow those suffering from hemorrhoids to sit freely with comfort.

[0085] Support cushion 22 is constructed of solid foam rubber, and covered with soft vinyl so that it may be wiped clean easily with plain water.

[0086]FIG. 5 shows a head and shoulder pillow-like support and protector 30. The pillow 30 supports, protects, elevates and ventilates the head and shoulder regions of the body. The upper region of the pillow, defined by sides 25 and 26, elevate, support, and protect the scapula, upper back, and region around the head and neck. A center sewn air channel or pathway 24 helps ventilate this upper area. Air pathway 24 is formed by sewing the front panel of pillow 30 to the rear panel at a double seam 24 a having two rows of stitches closely stitched. The pillow has side curves 27 to guide air under and around the shoulder area for ventilation. A central median seam 30 a is optionally disposed between curves 27 to allow ambient air to flow from one side of the pillow to the other, thereby better ventilating that part of the body which would otherwise be in contact with the pad. The pillow has a spinal cord area 31 defined by outwardly flaring sides 28, for supporting and resting the spinal column. Two vinyl strips (not shown) are sewn inside the pillow for reinforcement purposes.

[0087] In addition, the head and shoulder protector 30 can be used in conjunction with the spine guard of U.S. Pat. No. 5,103,516 (see FIG. 1 of that patent). Attachment means 29A, such as hooks of VELCRO™, or a flap with VELCRO 29B, can be used to attach the spinal guard to head and shoulder support 30. VELCRO segment 29A is used for securing the spinal guard when the patient lies down, while VELCRO segments 29B is used for securing the spinal guard of the '516 patent when the patient sits up.

[0088] The head and shoulder support 30 is made of an appropriate material and stuffing. Recommended materials are Chem Soft for the exterior, and polyurethane for the stuffing. Preferably, area 24 b, the part of the pillow bounded by seam 24 a, is unstuffed. The dimensions of the support 30 can be varied to adapt to different body sizes.

[0089]FIGS. 6 and 7 show the protective urinary relief pillow-like support and protector 130. The support and protector 130 is adapted to fit on a bedpan. Pillow 35 has side edges 33, a lower edge 32, and an upper edge 34. A cut-through air slot 37 allows ambient air to circulate in from external to the protector 130 and thus ventilate the body area resting upon the pillow 35. This air slot extends form top edge 34 to an hourglass-shaped center opening or throughhole 40 of the pillow. Center opening or throughhole 40 is formed by connecting front and rear panels of pillow 35 to one another about a seam edge 42. A medial seam 41 is provided in a fashion similar to that shown in FIGS. 16B and 16C and forms an air groove similar to groove 218. Medial seam 41 is formed by sewing the top surface of the support to the bottom, in a substantially oval or circular path surrounding the opening 40 and terminating at top edge 34. In the center of the pillow is a raised oval shaped area 39, preferably made of foam or some similar type of material, with upper edges 36 and 38. The oval shaped raised area 39 fits above a bedpan, and is thicker than the other area of the pillow. Area 39 surrounds center opening 40. Waste matter from the patient may pass through opening 40 when the pillow 35 is place over a bedpan. A lip or arrest 43 (see FIG. 7) extends downwardly from pillow 35 and fits snugly by use of a VELCRO™-type connector or elastic (not shown), for example, about a bedpan and holds it in position under the pillow 35. A decorative or cosmetic skirt 82 is optionally attached to pillow 35 about a periphery thereof, for the purpose in part of hiding the bedpan from view during use thereof with pillow 35.

[0090] Protector 130 is made of an appropriate material, such as Chem Soft or another moisture repelling material. It is stuffed with shredded polyurethane to comfortably receive the hips and thighs, and soft foam at areas near the supported spine and buttocks. Recommended dimensions for the pillow are 35 to 27 ½ inches from edges 36 and 38 to lower edge 32 by 35 inches from side edge 33 to the other side. The recommended length for the air channel 37 is about 6 ½ inches. A recommended length for the opening 40 is about 16 ½ inches.

[0091] Protector 130 is especially designed for the support and protection of the incontinent bedridden patient. It complements the spine guard that is designed as a safeguard against bedsores and ulcers. It will keep the coccyx clean and dry, and is designed for use with or without a bedpan. Air flow and ventilation are provided by air slot 37 and the air groove above medial seam 41. These maintain dryness and air circulation. The genital area is kept clean, dry, and ventilated.

[0092] The protector is of great benefit to pre-operative and post-operative patients, and to those in the Intensive Care Unit. The comfort and support that the pillow supplies will allow a patient to lie on her back for a longer time while on a bedpan. It can be selectively attached to the Spine Support pillow by means of VELCRO or similar attachments, and is secured to the bedpan by the lip 43, so as to prevent slipping.

[0093]FIG. 8 shows an elbow rest pillow-like support and protector 46. The pillow has sides 45 and 47 and a medial seam 48 midway between the sides to form an air flow groove. As with the other air grooves of the other pads (as shown schematically in FIGS. 16B and 16C), the groove is formed by sewing the top panel and the bottom panel of pillow 46 together, thereby pinching the pillow away from the skin and allowing ambient air to ventilate the skin. The device shown in FIG. 8 may preferably be used with the device of FIG. 5. The strap 44 is provided with one half of a VELCRO™ connector (e.g., hooks) while the head and shoulder protector 30 is provided with the other half of the VELCRO protector (e.g., loops).

[0094] FIGS. 9-15 show three embodiments of a breast support and protector. The breast supports are specially designed to elevate, support, protect, ventilate, relax, and give comfort to the breast, after surgery.

[0095]FIG. 9 shows breast support and pillow-like protector 300A. This support 300A is intended for use when a patient is lying on her side. The breast support 300A includes pillow 52 having a top edge 51, and a bottom edge 55. Sides 50 and 54 are curved to eliminate pointed or sharp edges, and for flexibility. The pillow 52 has a sewn air pocket 53 formed by a seam 104 and cut-out areas 49 for air ventilation. Seam 104 fixes the front panel of pillow 52 to the rear panel in a fashion similar to that described in FIGS. 16B and 16C, and leaves air pocket 53 to allow ambient air to enter between the skin and pillow 52. Preferably, the area of pillow 52 bounded by seam 104 which forms pocket 53 is not filled with stuffing material for better ventilation. Breast support 300A fits into the area in FIG. 2 mentioned previously, vacated by flaps 12 when the flaps are folded under pillow 10. When positioned adjacent to the protector of FIG. 2, top edge 51 projects away from protector 10, while bottom edge 55 will be closely adjacent to the edge of center flap 14 and the backwardly turned flap 12. The pillow 52 (except for pocket 53) is stuffed with an appropriate material, such as polyurethane.

[0096]FIG. 10 shows a breast support and pillow-like protector 300B having pillow 58. The protector 300B is for use while a patient is sitting or lying down, and is in the style of a sling for a single breast. It has a shoulder strap 56, sewn to the sling at flaps 57 and 60, and'securing snaps 61 allowing some adjustability between the flap 60 and the rest of the sling. Pillow 58 fits underneath a single breast as shown in FIG. 15. At the bottom periphery of pillow 58 is flap 59 formed by seam 59 a. Seam 59 a attaches the front of pillow 58 to the rear of pillow 58, thereby forming an air groove along seam 59 a in the same fashion as illustrated in FIGS. 16B and 16C. This air groove allows ambient air access to the skin under pillow 58 and ventilates it accordingly. Alternatively, for large-breasted women, the breast may significantly hang over pillow 58, and seam 59 a thus provides ventilation for the underside of the breast disposed over seam 59 a. That is, seam 59 a pinches the bottom panel of the pillow away from the torso (i.e., forms an air groove between the pillow and the torso) and allows air between the pillow and the torso, and simultaneously pinching the top panel of pillow 58 away from the breast overlying it (i.e., forms an air groove between the pillow and the underside of the breast) and thus provides ventilation for the underside of the breast (a larger breast would overlie pillow 58 and obstruct pillow 58 from view in, for example, FIG. 15). The pillow is stuffed with an appropriate material such as polyurethane. Breast support 300B is provided with strap 56, secured on one end at flap 57 and secured on the other end by snaps 61 at flap 60. When a patient lies on her side, one breast may rest upon breast support 300A (shown in FIG. 9), while the second breast may be supported in the sling of breast support 300B (i.e., pillow 58), as shown in FIG. 15.

[0097]FIGS. 11 and 12 shows a third breast support and protector 300C. Breast support 300C is designed to support both breasts at once when a patient is sitting or standing. Support 300C includes a pillow 63 having front surfaces 63A and rear surfaces 63B. Pillow 63 is substantially W-shaped, and both breasts rest on top of (or, in the case of large breasts, also overlie) pillow 63 in a similar fashion as a single breast would using breast support 58 shown in FIG. 10. Preferably, breast cups 62 are provided attached to the upper edge of pillow 63. Cups 62 retain or at least partially retain the breasts, and protect the breasts from abrasion. For large-breasted women, part of the breasts may be retained behind cups 62 while part may overlie pillow 63.

[0098] Formed integral with pillow 63 on opposite distal ends of pillow 63 are flaps 68 to which shoulder straps 71 are connected. Shoulder straps 71 go behind, cross over each other and over the neck, as shown in FIG. 14, to secure support 300C to a patient's body. The shoulder straps 71 are preferably provided with snaps 70 which secure to snap retainers 72 in the front central area of pillow 63 between cups 62. An illustration of the protector and support with the snaps engaged is shown in FIG. 13.

[0099] W-shaped pillow 63 is provided with several medial seams 63C, 63D, and 63E which are similar in structure and function to that which is shown in FIGS. 16B and 16C. That is, seams 63C-E secure front surface 63A to rear surface 63B and pinch the pillow surfaces together, thereby forming air grooves. Seams 63C-E each extend form one peripheral point on pillow 63 transversely across pillow 63 and terminate at another peripheral point adjacent to cups 62. These seams form air grooves which allow ambient air external to the pillow access to cups 62 (i.e., ambient air can flow along the grooves formed by the seams) to ventilate cups 62 and the breasts contained therein. Seams 63C and 63D are provided on the sides of pillow 63 while seams 63E are centrally disposed and may meet at a central point at or near cut-out 65 (to be described below).

[0100] In the center of W-shaped pillow 63 is an inverted V-shaped air cut-out 65 defined by edges 65A. Cut-out 65 allows ambient air to ventilate the breasts and the area of the torso below and between the breasts, i.e., near the base of the sternum. At the lower edge of pillow 63 of support 300C are provided two flaps 64, formed by seams 64A. Flaps 64 and seams 64A are similar in structure and function to flap 59 and seam 59A of the breast support 58 of FIG. 10. Seams 64A attaches the front surface 63A of pillow 63 to the rear surface 63B of pillow 63, thereby forming an air groove along seam 64A in the same fashion as illustrated in FIGS. 16B and 16C and similar to seams 63C-E. This air groove allows ambient air access to the skin under pillow 63 and ventilates it accordingly.

[0101] W-shaped pillow 63 may be formed of two releasably detachable halves each similar to breast support pillow 58 (FIG. 10) and each thus corresponding to a respective cup 62. The halves (not separately designated) may be connected to one another by snap-lock or VELCRO fasteners (neither shown) along a median line extending from cut-out 65. The fasteners may enable a user to vary the distance between cups 62, thereby accommodating some differences in user chest size.

[0102] As shown in FIG. 11, lower straps 67 are provided. Two segments wrap and tie beneath the woman's breasts, as shown in FIG. 13. String segments 69 of the straps 67 facilitate tying a bow. VELCRO element 66 and mating VELCRO element 66A may be provided on pillow 63 and one or both lower straps 67 for additional security. The lower straps 67 allow for a tighter fit, and the inverted “V” opening 65 provides adjustability for large breasted women.

[0103]FIG. 15 shows two breast supports 300A stacked one upon another to support the lower breast and breast support 300B for the upper breast used in conjunction with the head and cervical support 30, and scapula elbow arm rest 80. The preferred form of scapula elbow arm rest 80 is disclosed and dully described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,103,516. The pillow-like supports form a complete system allowing rest, and elevation and support of areas throughout the breast, head, cervical and scapula regions.

[0104] Thus, the breast supports of FIGS. 9-15 are especially designed to elevate, support, protect, ventilate, relax, and give comfort to the breast(s) after operation. Air flows freely around the breasts by the air cut-outs 49 and air pocket 53 of breast support 300A. The insulated air allows the bits of polyurethane, used as stuffing, to wriggle around, and provide a mild massage for the breast allowing the blood to circulate freely into the breast with the aid of the scapula elbow arm rests and the head cervical support. The head cervical support is constructed with two flaps at the lower corners. When the flaps are folded backwardly, breast support 300A is placed into the area previously occupied by a flap whereupon a breast is rested, relaxed, ventilated, supported, and protected when the user is lying on her side. The breast on the upper side of the patient is supported, protected, ventilated, and relaxed simultaneously by the use of breast support 300B. Breast support 300B encircles the breast from underneath the breast and keeps it in position. The openings at the corners of the head cervical support supply adequate air flow around the breasts and other regions. The flaps are folded backwardly for better elevation, and blood circulation, and relaxation, which allow for proper sleep, and healing of the breast(s). The scapula elbow arm rests are used simultaneously, also, to elevate, and support the arms allowing air to flow freely around the axillas/armpits. Blood will circulate freely into the breasts and armpits to promote healing of the breast(s).

[0105] Breast supports 300A-B have valuable combined effect. Breast support 300B forms a circular protection between both breasts so as to protect the lower breast from pressure caused by the upper breast when the patient is lying on her side. Breast support 300A forms a cushioning protection between the breast and hard surfaces (e.g., the bed). The breast supports are also perfect for nursing mothers with large, tender breasts.

[0106] As is apparent from the figures, breast support 300B is constructed with a circular shape. It hugs the breast and keeps it in position, and at the same time, allows air to flow around the breast. A strap is provided to keep breast support 300B in position when strapped around the shoulder. One end of the strap is secured with snaps which allow for adjustment. It is so designed that when the strap is adjusted, the snaps are covered so as to prevent skin irritation.

[0107] As illustrated in FIG. 17, a head cervical pillow or support 110 similar to that shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 has short side edges 113 and 115 which, along with top and bottom edges, are tapered or rounded to connect the top or front surface to the bottom or rear surface. Flaps 112 are defined along their respective inner sides by edge 112 a and on their outer sides by edge 112 b. Inner edge 112 a is slightly concave or straight. A central flap 114 is disposed between flaps 112. The sides of flap 114 are defined by edges 114 a, which are partially straight at 114 b and partially concave at 114 c. An air gap 111 is formed between each flap 112 and flap 114 in the region of the respective concave portion 114 c of flap edges 114 a. Air gaps 111 allow ambient air to flow around the head and cervical region, providing ventilation. Also, the front panel of pillow 110 is sewn to the back panel of pillow 110 across the body of the pillow at seams 109. Seams 109 are interrupted by or define apertures 119 enabling air flow between the front and the rear sides of the pillow. Also, by pinching the front and rear panels of pillow 110 together along seams 109 (as described above with reference to FIG. 16B), air grooves or channels similar to air groove 218 are formed along seams 109 and ambient air is allowed to flow there along. Ambient air is allowed to contact the rear neck and shoulders and ventilate same. The pillow 110, flaps 112, and central flap 114 are all stuffed with a suitable material. A recommended stuffing is polyurethane. Pillow 110 is used in different modes as discussed above with respect to pillow 10 and FIG. 2.

[0108] The pillow or support of FIG. 17, like the pillow of FIGS. 1 and 2, provides head and cervical support when an individual rests his or her head and neck upon it.

[0109] As depicted in FIG. 18, a lumbar support pillow and support 120 similar to the pillow and support 16 of FIG. 3 includes a main body portion 121 stuffed with polyurethane or other suitable material and defined by front and rear panels 122 (only one shown) sewn to one another along their peripheries. A pair of flaps 123 and 124 at a lower end of the pillow 120 are connected to the main body portion 121 via aligned seams 125 and 126 and to one another via another seam 135. Flaps 123 and 124 are provided with concave inner side edges 127 and 128 which define an air flow channel or passageway 129. Flaps 123 and 124 are optionally provided with VELCRO-type hook or loop connector elements 131 and 132 for facilitating a releasable coupling of lumbar support pillow and support 120 to cushion 32 or protective urinary relief pillow-like support and protector 130. In addition, lumbar support pillow 120 can be used in conjunction with the spine guard of U.S. Pat. No. 5,103,516 (see FIG. 1 of that patent). Hook or loop connector elements 131 and 132 can be used to attach the spinal guard to lumbar support pillow 120.

[0110] The lumbar support pillow 120 is made of an appropriate material and stuffing. Recommended materials are Chem Soft for the exterior, and polyurethane for the stuffing. Representative dimensions of the support 140 are 32 inches long (left to right in the drawing) and 23½ inches wide (top to bottom in the drawing). Corners 133 and 134 of main body portion 121 are made of a cloth material which permits the passage of air alternately out of and into pillow 120 upon compression and release thereof. It is to be noted that other pillows and supports disclosed herein may similarly be formed with corners of air permeable material to reduce the stresses that would otherwise be exerted on the peripheral seams holding the various front and back panels together.

[0111] Like pillow-like support and protector 6, pillow 120 provides support for the lower back area to just above the buttocks. Air flow channel or passageway 129 allows ambient air to come into contact with the body and thus to ventilate the body areas while the pillow provides elevation and support. A similar air circulation function is performed by air channels formed by seams 126 and 135.

[0112] Lumbar support pillow 120 elevates, relaxes, and comforts the lumbar regions. Pillow 120 is reversible and adaptable. It can be plumped up or narrowed down. In contrast to a conventional pillow, lumbar support pillow 120 has air channels to guide freshening air to the back/lumbar region. The airflow makes that region comfortable, relaxed, and refreshed particularly for a person confined to a bed.

[0113]FIG. 19 shows a head and shoulder pillow-like support and protector 140 similar to the pillow 30 of FIG. 5. Both pillows 140 and 30 support, protect, elevate and ventilate the head and shoulder regions of the body. Pillow 140 is generally better when the user is in a prone or lying down, while pillow 30 is especially effective for a user in a sitting or semi-recumbent position. Pillow 140 has an upper region 142, with sides 143 and 144, which elevates, supports, and protects the scapula, upper back, and head and neck region of the user. An air pathway 146 is formed by sewing the front panel of pillow 140 to the rear panel thereof along a seam 147. The upper region 142 of pillow 140 has a pair of downwardly depending flaps 148 and 149 provided with concave inner edges 150 and 151. Flaps 148 and 149 are disposed on opposite sides of an elongated central flap or extension 152 which supports the user's spinal column. Central flap or extension 152 has a pair of concave edges 153 and 154 facing edges 150 and 151 to define therewith a pair of air gaps 155 and 156 for air circulation purposes.

[0114] Head and shoulder protector 140 is useful in cases when a person is confined to a bed. Without protector 140, the back of the head and the shoulders usually become sore and ulcerated. Lack of ventilation and blood circulation can be the root cause. Head and shoulder protector 140 helps ease the pain and suffering of those confined to a bed. The head portion of the pillow is designed with an air channel, and the shoulders portions are designed to take pressure off the shoulders. Air can circulate into those areas to ventilate those regions.

[0115]FIG. 20 depicts a head cervical pillow or support pad 158 similar to that shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and in FIG. 17 for providing head and cervical support when an individual rests his or her head and neck upon it. Pillow or support pad 158 includes a main body section 160 filled with soft fluffy material 162. Main body section 160 has a front fabric panel 164 and a rear fabric panel 166, the rear fabric panel being placeable against a person's body. Front panel 164 and rear panel 166 are attached to one another along at least a portion of their respective peripheries; the panels 164 and 166 are either separate sheets of fabric that are sewn about their peripheries 168, or they can be a single sheet of fabric folded over itself and sewn around the edges. In any case, the soft fluffy material 162 is disposed between front and rear panels 164 and 166. A central flap 170 and two lateral or side flaps 172 and 174 are attached to main body section 160 along one side thereof. Side flaps 172 and 174 are disposed on opposite sides of central flap 170. One of the side flaps 172 is spaced from the central flap 170 by a distance D which is substantially larger than a spacing S between the central flap 170 and the other side flap 174. Distance D is sufficiently great to define a cutout or gap 176 for receiving an ancillary pad or pillow support 178 (FIGS. 21 and 22). Front and rear panels 164 and 166 are provided with substantially identical cutout sections (not separately designated) aligned with one another, the front fabric panel and the rear fabric panel being attached to one another along edges of the cutout sections to define cutout 176.

[0116] Where side flaps 172 and 174 are each connected to main body section 160 along a foldable hinge area 180 and 182, the side flaps may be bent back under the main body section for purposes of enhanced local support. Side flap 172 and/or side flap 174 may be connected to main body section 160 along a seam 184,186 extending in the respective foldable hinge area 180, 182, the seam 184, 186 attaching front fabric panel 164 to rear fabric panel 166 and thereby pinching panels 162 and 166 together to form a groove (not separately labeled) along the respective seam 184, 186 which allows ambient air to flow along the seam between the rear fabric panel and the person's body. In any case, central flap 170 and side flaps 172 and 174 are also filled with the soft fluffy filling material 162.

[0117] Cutout or gap 176 is preferably of a predetermined size (D) so that it receives ancillary pad or pillow 178 in a close fit. Distance dimension D of cutout 176 and the dimensions of ancillary pad or pillow 178 are roughly matched to one another. Cutout 176 cooperates with an underlying surface such as a bed or a chair back to form a depression or recess for cradling the ancillary pad or pillow.

[0118] As shown in FIG. 20, side flaps 172 and 174 extend further from main body section 160 of support pad 158 than central flap 170. Thus, where central flap 170 has a width W extending substantially perpendicularly to the one side of main body section 160 and where side flaps 172 and 174 each have a respective length L1 and L2 extending substantially perpendicularly to that same side of the main body section, the lengths L1 and L2 of side flaps 172 and 174 are substantially longer than width W of central flap 170.

[0119] As additionally shown in FIG. 20, main body section 160 of support pad 158 is provided with an extension or flap 188 projecting from the main body section on a side thereof opposite flaps 170, 172 , and 174. This extension 188 provides support for the heads of taller users.

[0120] Support pad 159, as well as other head and cervical pads disclosed herein, gives unique support and comfort to a user's upper regions. The head, neck, shoulders, scapulas, and upper spine are supported simultaneously with a coordinating smooth and mild effect. The flaps may be folded under for elevation and support (see FIG. 2)—according to the user's needs. Each flap when folded keeps a respective portion of pillow elevated so as to keep the head in proper position after eye surgery.

[0121] As depicted in FIG. 21, ancillary support pad 178, designed as a sling for breast support, comprises a substantially crescent-shaped main body section 190 filled with a respective amount of soft fluffy material 192. The crescent-shaped main body section has a respective front fabric panel 194 and a respective rear fabric panel 196, the latter panel being adaptable to be placeable against a person's body. The soft fluffy material 192 is disposed between panels 194 and 196, which are attached to one another along at least a portion of their respective peripheries 198.

[0122] Crescent-shaped main body section 190 is formed with a concave side 200 defining a partially enclosed area (not separately designated) occupied by a web member 202 connected to the crescent-shaped main body section along the concave side thereof. Web member 202 is a padded and forms a cup-shaped receptacle along the concave side 200 of the crescent-shaped pad body section 190.

[0123] Body section 190 of ancillary support pad 178 is provided with a pair of seams 204 and 206 extending across the body section to provide air channels or grooves (not separately labeled) for the ventilation of a supported user's breast. Seams 204 and 206 pinch front and rear panels 196 and 196 together in a non-peripheral location. Ancillary support pad 178 also includes at least one sling strap 208. Strap 208 is provided along part of its free end with a VELCRO hook or eyelet strip 201 which cooperates with a VELCRO eyelet or hook strip 203 attached to front panel 194 near convex periphery 198 thereof. Flaps 205, 207 and 209 are provided along periphery 198 for protecting the skin of the user from contact with VELCRO eyelet or hook strip 203. Flaps 205 and 207, as well as flaps 206 and 209 are spaced from one another to provide air flow channels 211 and 213.

[0124] Breast support pad or slings 178 and 300B (FIG. 10) are designed with a soft pillow section, e.g., crescent-shaped main body section 190, that supports and comforts the breast. Crescent-shaped main body section 190 provides the breast with a normal freedom so as to improve ventilation, blood circulation, and comfort—highly necessary after a breast surgery. The breast support pad or sling 178 or 300B may also be wrapped around the breast so as to hold it in position—away from the recovering area after surgery. Breast support pad or slings 178 and 300B (FIG. 10) may be worn also by ambulatory patients.

[0125]FIG. 22 depicts a cooperative use of head-cervical pad 158 and breast support pad 178. Pad 178 is removably positioned in cutout or cavity 176 for receiving a user's breast. Thus, a user may use support pad 158 with or without ancillary pad 178. Side flaps 172 and 174 may extend outwardly as shown in FIGS. 20 and 22 or may be folded under body section 160 (see FIG. 2).

[0126] As illustrated in FIGS. 23 and 24, a chin and head support pad 210 is a pillow having a top edge 212 and a bottom edge 214. Pad or pillow 210 has front and rear fabric panels 216 and 218 connected to one another by a peripheral seam 220 and a central stitching 222. Stitching 222 forms a pair of depressions or recesses 224 and 226 in front and rear panels 216 and 218, respectively. In using pad or pillow 210 as a chin support, the user places his or her chin in recess 224 or 226 while the pad or pillow is supported on a surface. Pad or pillow 210 is formed with cut-out areas 228 and 230 for air ventilation.

[0127]FIGS. 25 and 26 depict a thigh support pillow 232 designed to elevation the thighs and relax the muscles of the stomach and other areas. Pillow 232 is similar to a pillow-like body support and protector disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,103,516 and includes a main body portion 234 to opposite sides of which are attached knee rests 236 and 238 which elevate the knees of a bed-ridden patient when the patient lies on his or her side and which provide proper ventilation and blood circulation, to assist in the healing of ulcers on the knees and reducing soreness.

[0128] Knee rests 236 and 238 are attached to main body portion 234 along seams 240 and 242 and are each provided with a medial seam 244 and 246 formed, for example, by stitching front and rear panels (not designated) of each knee rest 236 and 238 together in a central location. The stitching along medial seams 244 and 246 pinches knee rests 236 and 238 and forms air channels or grooves (not separately designated). Medial seams 244 and 246 extend at least from one peripheral point on knee rests 236 and 238 to allow for better air circulation.

[0129] Main body portion 234 of thigh support pillow 232 (or preferably a pillow case receiving the pillow) is provided with a VELCRO type strip 248 for attachment of an ancillary ankle and foot support pad 250. As shown in FIGS. 26 and 28, pad 250 includes a generally rectangular main body portion 252 provided along one side with a flap 254 having a VELCRO strip 256 cooperating with strip 248 to releasably attach pad 250 to thigh support pillow 232.

[0130] When the user of thigh support pillow 232 turns on his or her side, the user's knees are elevated, supported, and exposed to circulating air. Ventilation and blood circulation help ulcers disappear. Thigh support pillow 232 is used in part to elevate the users thighs and relax the muscles of the stomach, helping the blood to circulate normally into the lower limbs. Pillow 232 also serves as an aid when a bedridden person is performing a diabetic exercise. Thigh support 232 can also be adapted for the use of the upper regions of the body for added support, and a peaceful sleep.

[0131]FIGS. 28 and 29 depict an elbow rest and protector pad 258 comprising a main body portion 260 provided with a peripheral seam 262 defining a surrounding edge region 264. Two flaps 266 and 268 are attached to edge region 264 on opposite sides of body portion 260. A pair of straps 270 and 272 are fastened to free ends of flaps 266 and 268 for use in tying the elbow protector to a user's arm.

[0132] Elbow rest and protector pad 258 is useful for anyone confined to a bed. Getting out of bed and shifting one's position on a bed generally involves using the elbows as a support. Elbow rest and protector pad 258 is soft and easily adapted. It may also be used by office workers who habitually rest their elbows on the desk while working. The pad is neat and fits easily into a pocket book or a handbag.

[0133] The Chem-Soft material which is recommended for the pillows and support pads described herein is long lasting, reusable, self deodorizing, stain restraint, hypoallergenic, noiseless, self sanitizing, flame retardant, bacteria restraint, anti-fungal, and economical. No laundering is necessary with this material as it can be wiped clean with warm soap and water and disinfectant. Although Chem-Soft and polyurethane are the preferred materials for construction of these pillows and supports, other suitable materials, can of course be substituted. For instance, elbow rest and protector pad 258 is preferably made of soft cotton fabric stuffed with polyester fiber.

[0134] From the above description it will thus be seen that there have been provided pillow-like body support and protection devices usable individually and in various combinations to protect various parts of a person's body from sores and ulcerations, to protect delicate body parts which may otherwise be sore, and to facilitate healing thereof. The pillow-like devices are relatively inexpensive in construction and use and are fabricated from materials that permit ready washing thereof. The various elements are attached to one another via conventional methods such as sewing.

[0135] It is understood that although I have shown the preferred embodiments of my inventions that various modifications may be made in the details thereof without departing from the spirit of this invention, as comprehended by the following claims.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7194778Aug 11, 2005Mar 27, 2007Oakworks, Inc.Breast comfort padding system
US20130198953 *Feb 6, 2013Aug 8, 2013Raymond LongExercise mat
Classifications
U.S. Classification5/640, 5/636
International ClassificationA47G9/10, A61G7/057, A47C20/02, A47C20/00
Cooperative ClassificationA47C20/023, A61G7/057, A47G9/10, A47C20/027
European ClassificationA47G9/10, A47C20/02F, A47C20/02L