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Publication numberUS20030033673 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 09/929,307
Publication dateFeb 20, 2003
Filing dateAug 14, 2001
Priority dateAug 14, 2001
Publication number09929307, 929307, US 2003/0033673 A1, US 2003/033673 A1, US 20030033673 A1, US 20030033673A1, US 2003033673 A1, US 2003033673A1, US-A1-20030033673, US-A1-2003033673, US2003/0033673A1, US2003/033673A1, US20030033673 A1, US20030033673A1, US2003033673 A1, US2003033673A1
InventorsLouis Cuadra
Original AssigneeLouis Cuadra
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Lateral support and positioning device
US 20030033673 A1
Abstract
A lateral support and positioning device for kinetic therapy treatment includes a main body (10) having a geometry defined by a lower surface (20), opposite sides (30,40) and an upper surface (50) having a convex arcuate surface geometry for maintaining a patient at a desired lateral incline angle, while minimizing the surface contact area between the upper surface of the device and the body of a patient during use.
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Claims(18)
I claim:
1. A lateral support and positioning device having a main body comprising:
a lower surface structured for positioning on a patient support surface, said lower surface bounded by a front edge, an opposing rear edge, and opposing first and second side edges;
first and second opposite sides extending upwardly from the respective first and second side edges of said lower surface, each of said first and second sides having a rear edge and a top edge;
a rear surface extending between said rear edge of said lower surface and said rear edge of said first and second side, said rear surface having a top edge; and
an upper surface for supporting a patient thereupon, said upper surface extending from said front edge of said lower surface to said top edge of said rear surface so as to support said patient at an angle of incline with respect to said lower surface of up to 60 degrees.
2. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 1, wherein said upper surface of said main body is concave down to minimize a localized contact area supporting said patient.
3. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 1, wherein said rear surface is arched.
4. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 3 wherein said rear surface is arched into said main body.
5. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 1, wherein said main body is constructed of flexible polyurethane foam.
6. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 5, wherein said polyurethane foam is resilient.
7. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 1, wherein said first and second sides are substantially flat.
8. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 1, wherein said lower surface is substantially flat.
9. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 1, wherein said lower surface is configured to frictionally engage said patient support surface.
10. A lateral support and positioning device having a main body comprising:
a lower surface structured for positioning on a patient support surface, said lower surface having a front edge, an opposing rear edge, and opposing first and second side edges;
first and second sides extending upwardly from said first and second side edges of said lower surface, each of said sides having a rear edge and a top edge;
a rear surface extending between said rear edge of said lower surface and said rear edges of said first and second sides, said rear surface having a top edge; and
an upper surface for supporting a patient thereupon, said upper surface extending from said front edge of said lower surface to said top edge of said rear surface so as to support said patient at an angle of incline with respect to said lower surface in the range of about 40 degrees to about 60 degrees,
said upper surface structured having a convex arcuate geometry down for minimizing the localized contact area between the upper surface and the patient during use.
11. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 10 wherein said main body is constructed from a resilient material.
12. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 10 wherein said rear surface has a concave arcuate geometry.
13. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 10 wherein said lower surface is configured to frictionally engage said patient support surface for minimizing slippage therebetween.
14. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 10 wherein said lower surface is substantially flat.
15. A lateral support and positioning device having a main body comprising:
a substantially flat lower surface structured for placement on a patient support surface, said lower surface having a front edge, an opposing rear edge, and opposing first and second side edges;
substantially planar first and second sides extending upwards from said first and second side edges of said lower surface, each of said sides having a rear edge and a top edge;
an arcuate rear surface extending between said rear edge of said lower surface and said rear edge of said first and second side, said arcuate rear surface having a top edge; and
an upper surface for supporting a patient thereupon, said upper surface having a convex arcuate geometry and extending from the front edge of said lower surface upwardly toward the top edge of said rear surface so as to support said patient at an angle of incline with respect to said lower surface within a range of about 40 degrees to about 60 degrees,
wherein the convex arcuate surface geometry of said upper surface substantially minimizes the surface contact area between the upper surface and the body of a patient during use.
16. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 16, wherein said lower surface is configured to frictionally engage said patient support surface.
17. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 16, wherein said rear surface is has a concave arcuate surface geometry.
18. A lateral support and positioning device as recited in claim 16, wherein said main body is constructed from polyurethane foam.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to patient positioning devices for medical purposes, and more particularly, to devices oriented and structured to help maintain a patient's position in a specified angled manner laterally while the patient is lying down.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] During medical injuries and illnesses, it becomes necessary for patients to remain in a lying down position for extended periods of time. In fact, many patients are incapacitated to such an extent that movement is difficult and often impossible. Prolonged periods of lying in a supine position without movement is known to lead to a variety of harmful health effects. Notably, pulmonary complications due to immobility and body tissue destruction often occur after the onset of a traumatic injury or illness.

[0005] Following a serious injury, it is known that posttraumatic pulmonary insufficiency and adult respiratory distress syndrome represent a major threat to trauma patients. As such, the treatment and prevention of lung failure and other pulmonary complications associated with immobility is particularly important during the initial post-injury period. Invasive methods of support during this time, such as extra-oxygenation, are generally inappropriate due to the possibility of severe bleeding and other high-risk complications.

[0006] Non-invasive treatments such as periodically changing strategic lateral body positioning, known in the field as kinetic therapy, is known to dramatically assist both in the prevention and in the treatment of pulmonary complications. Kinetic therapy involves periodically alternating the supine positioning of a patient through a specified degree of rotation. In order for the effects of kinetic therapy to be maximized, however, the patient must be rotated through a lateral degree of rotation ranging from 40 to 60 degrees. Studies have demonstrated that rotation below 40 degrees is insufficient to provide statistically significant beneficial results in the treatment and prevention of pulmonary complications.

[0007] Changing patient position regularly is desired as a means of forcing gravity to assist in the drainage of secretions from the smaller bronchial airways and into the main bronchi and trachea and as an aid in pulmonary toileting. It is known that secretions in the main bronchi and trachea are more easily coughed up and cleared by the patient.

[0008] Prolonged periods of lying in a supine position without movement can lead to a variety of harmful conditions in addition to increasing the risk and severity of pulmonary complications. Notably, prolonged pressure on body tissue is the most common cause of a decubitus ulcer, also known as a bedsore. The localized increase of pressure on body tissue is known to cause Ischemia (local and temporary deficiency of blood supply due to obstruction of the circulation to a part of the body) and can lead to tissue destruction in patients if permitted for extended periods of time.

[0009] Periodically changing a patient's position through kinetic therapy by partially turning the patient from one side to the other is also beneficial as a means of relieving localized pressure on the patient's skin and body tissue so that these harmful health effects are treated, avoided, or otherwise minimized.

[0010] Medical personnel have conventionally resorted to using ordinary pillows, cushions, blankets, and the like in an effort to help prevent and treat pulmonary complications and reduce and relieve skin pressure. Unfortunately, these efforts have been largely unsuccessful. Initially, it is impossible to use such an approach to accurately and consistently achieve the desired angle of turn of around 40 degrees or more in a controlled manner necessary for the prevention and treatment of pulmonary conditions. Another disadvantage is that ordinary pillows, cushions, and blankets do not minimize the area of localized contact area supporting a patient. The relatively large surface contact area supporting a patient leads to a substantial level of pressure to the skin and patient discomfort and irritation in partially incapacitated or immobilized patients. Additionally, common pillows, blankets, rolled sheets, towels, and cushions have a tendency to bunch up, slide, and otherwise prove inadequate for the secure medical positioning of a patient.

[0011] Due to the inadequacies mentioned in utilizing ordinary pillows, cushions, and blankets, many hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities have resorted to purchasing or leasing automated beds specifically designed and manufactured for turning patients during kinetic therapy. Unfortunately, the purchase and/or rental of such specialized equipment is cost prohibitive in many cases and therefore not an available option to many treatment facilities and patients. Even where available, however, the scarcity of such equipment often necessitates that it be reserved for use only in the treatment of patients facing serious complications and is not readily available as a prevention measure for all immobilized patients.

[0012] The prior art includes a variety of positioning devices designed to assist in laterally positioning patients. These devices, however, are generally designed for use by healthy and generally mobile persons for lateral slumber support only and are not specifically structured as an aid in kinetic therapy for preventing or treating pulmonary complications, aiding in pulmonary toileting, and in reducing incidents of decubitus ulcers (bed sores) and tissue destruction due to Ischemia. Many of the existing devices are configured for use by women during pregnancy specifically to address the enhanced desire by expectant mothers for adequate back support during slumber and are not configured for use by patients who are partially immobilized or incapacitated.

[0013] Additionally, no attempt is made in existing devices to minimize the area of localized contact area that supports a patient. Although a relatively large surface contact area of support is acceptable to healthy and mobile patients, such a contact area can lead to localized pressure and substantial discomfort and irritation to an incapacitated or partially immobile patient. Furthermore, existing devices are not structured to position a patient at the critical angle of turn or lateral angle of 40 degrees or more necessary to assist in kinetic therapy, including the drainage of secretions from the smaller bronchial airways to the main bronchi and trachea so as to help prevent and treat pulmonary complications associated with immobility during extended stays in treatment facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, and private homes.

[0014] Accordingly, there is an established need in the art for a lateral support and positioning device configured specifically for use by incapacitated or partially immobile patients for use during kinetic therapy to assist in the treatment and prevention of pulmonary complications associated with immobility and to relieve pressure on body tissue and prevent decubitus ulcers and tissue destruction.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0015] The present invention is directed to a lateral support and positioning device for helping maintain a patient's position in a specified angled manner laterally while the patient is in a lying down position.

[0016] An object of the present invention is to provide a lateral support and positioning device that is adequate for use by incapacitated and partially immobile patients.

[0017] A further object of the present invention is to provide a lateral support and positioning device that relieves pressure on body tissues and prevents decubitus ulcers (bed sores) and tissue destruction.

[0018] An additional object of the present invention is to provide a lateral support and positioning device that is beneficial in the prevention and treatment of pulmonary complications associated with patient immobility.

[0019] Another object of the present invention is to provide a lateral support and positioning device that assists patients in pulmonary toileting, including the drainage of secretions from the smaller bronchial airways and into the main bronchi and trachea so that they are more easily coughed up.

[0020] Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a lateral support and positioning device for use in kinetic therapy wherein the angle of incline of a patient can be easily adjusted to at least 40 degrees, and preferably within a range of 40 to 60 degrees.

[0021] An additional object of the present invention is to provide a lateral support and positioning device that minimizes the localized contact area with a patient and therefore substantially reduces added skin pressure and patient discomfort.

[0022] A further object of the present invention is to provide a lateral positioning device that remains firmly in place and does not slide or otherwise easily move out of place.

[0023] These and other objects, features, and advantages of the present invention will become more readily apparent from the attached drawings and the detailed description of the preferred embodiments, which follow.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0024] The preferred embodiments of the invention will hereinafter be described in conjunction with the appended drawings provided to illustrate and not to limit the invention, where like designations denote like elements, and in which:

[0025]FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;

[0026]FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention showing the lateral support and positioning device in use; and

[0027]FIG. 3 is an end view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention depicting the localized contact area and the angle of incline achieved by a patient using the device;

[0028] Like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0029] Shown throughout the figures, the present invention is directed towards a lateral positioning device designed to assist in maintaining a patient's position in a controlled angle laterally while the patient is lying in a supine position.

[0030] The lateral support and positioning device of the present invention can be utilized to assist in changing a patient's position by turning the patient from one side to the other and is designed specifically for use during kinetic therapy for the prevention and treatment of pulmonary complications arising from patient immobility. The device is further designed to relieve localized pressure on a patient's skin and body tissue so that the incidence of decubitus ulcers and tissue destruction is minimized. Additionally, the lateral support and positioning device of the present invention assists in pulmonary toileting functions, including the drainage of secretions from the smaller bronchial airways into the main bronchi and trachea. By draining secretions to the main bronchi and trachea, the present invention makes it easier for a patient to cough up and clear secretions and assists in the prevention and treatment of pulmonary complications due to patient immobility.

[0031] Referring now to FIG. 1, the preferred embodiment of the lateral support and positioning device 10 of the present invention is shown in perspective view. The lateral support and positioning device may be constructed from a variety of different. However, it is preferred that the device 10 is constructed of a flexible and resilient material to permit comfortable support for a patient 200 as shown in FIG. 2. In the preferred embodiment, the lateral support and positioning device is constructed of flexible and resilient polyurethane foam.

[0032] Device 10 includes a lower surface 20 for placement on a patient support surface 100, such as a mattress and the like. Preferably, the lower surface 20 has adequate frictional engagement with the patient support surface 100 to maintain the desired position of the device with minimal sliding during use. As will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, however, auxiliary means for securing the position of the device can be used without departing from the scope of the invention.

[0033] Lower surface 20 is generally rectangular and is bounded by front edge 22, rear edge 24, first side edge 26, and second side edge 28. First and second sides, 30 and 40, respectively, extend upwardly from the lower surface 20 as shown in the figures. First side 30 is bounded by lower edge 26, rear edge 32 and upper edge 34. Similarly, second side 40 is bounded by lower edge 28, rear edge 42 and upper edge 44. Rear surface 50 is bounded by rear edge 24 of lower surface 20, top edge 52, rear edge 32 of first side 30, and rear edge 42 of second side 40.

[0034] The present invention also includes an upper surface 60 for supporting a patient thereupon. As best depicted in FIG. 3, the upper surface 60 extends upwardly from the front edge 22 of lower surface 20 to the top edge 52 of rear surface 50 so as to support a patient 200 laterally at an angle of incline (α) with respect to lower surface 20.

[0035] The specific angle of incline (α) utilized is very important in achieving the beneficial results of kinetic therapy. Kinetic therapy involves periodically alternating the supine positioning of a patient 200 through a specified angle of rotation. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, upper surface 60 extends from the front edge 22 of the main body at an angle sufficient to support a patient at a lateral angle of at least approximately 40 degrees and, more preferably, at a lateral angle in the range of 40 to 60 degrees. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that a wide variety of dimensions can be utilized in order to achieve this desired result.

[0036] Although several different angles of incline can be utilized without departing from the present invention, in the preferred embodiment, the present invention is capable of maintaining a patient at a lateral angle of at least 40 degrees. Clinical studies have demonstrated that supporting a patient at significantly less than a 40 degree rotation does not provide any statistically beneficial results in the treatment and prevention of pulmonary complications. As such, in the preferred embodiment, the angle of incline will generally be between 40 and 60 degrees. It should be noted that an angle of incline significantly above 60 degrees will increase the risk of possible injuries due to patients becoming imbalanced and rolling forward.

[0037] In the preferred embodiment, the upper surface 60 has a convex arcuate surface geometry. Significantly, the convex arcuate surface 60 assists in minimizing the surface area of the localized contact area 65 with the body of the patient. Although a relatively large contact area 65 is acceptable for treatment of healthy and mobile patients, significant surface contact can lead to substantial discomfort and irritation to an incapacitated or partially immobile patient.

[0038] Since many modifications, variations, and changes in detail can be made to the described preferred embodiments of the invention, it is intended that all matters in the foregoing description and shown in the accompanying drawings be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalence.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7240384 *Jun 18, 2004Jul 10, 2007Intensive Therapeutics, Inc.Method of repositioning immobile patient in bed using patient positioning aid
Classifications
U.S. Classification5/632
International ClassificationA47C20/02, A61G7/065, A47C20/00
Cooperative ClassificationA61G7/065, A47C20/027
European ClassificationA61G7/065, A47C20/02L