US 20050262638 A1
The inflatable, pressure alleviating, eggcrate mattress pad is a mattress pad that is placed on top of a conventional mattress. The mattress pad has an eggcrate-shaped surface and separate air channels inflate and deflate alternating air cells at different intervals and pressure levels. The air cells are alternately inflated or deflated in a checkerboard pattern so that as one air cell point is inflated, the adjoining air cell point is deflated. The mattress pad is also equipped with two inflatable wedges on the underside of the mattress pad. One wedge is on each side of the centerline of the mattress pad. When either of the wedges is inflated it will tip one side of the mattress upwards to assist turning over an immobilized patient.
8. A mattress pad for immobile patients, comprising:
a first group of air cells and a second group of air cells arranged in a checkerboard pattern of rows and columns, adjacent air cells in the checkerboard pattern alternating between an air cell of the first group and an air cell of the second group, the checkboard pattern of air cells defining a mattress pad having a top surface and a bottom surface, and a head end and a foot end, each of the air cells having a protruding top face, whereby the top surface of the mattress pad is eggcrate-shaped;
a first air supply path connecting the air cells of the first group, and a second air supply path connecting the air cells of the second group, the air supply paths being formed from tubing;
a first inflatable wedge and a second inflatable wedge attached to the bottom surface of the mattress pad on opposite sides of an axis bisecting the mattress pad from the head end to the foot end; and
an air pump connected to the first and second supply paths and to the first and second inflatable wedges;
wherein said air pump further comprises a first manual control connected to said first wedge and a second manual control connected to said second wedge, whereby said wedges are inflatable under manual control;
whereby the first and second groups of air cells are alternately inflatable and deflatable to alleviate pressure, and the first and second wedges are selectively inflatable to assist turning an immobilized patient onto his side.
9. The mattress pad according to
10. The mattress according to
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a bedsore preventing mattress, and particularly to an inflatable, pressure alleviating eggcrate mattress pad having an eggcrate-shaped surface and inflatable wedges on the underside of the mattress in order to prevent the formation of bedsores and ease the turning of a patient by a hospital attendant.
2. Description of the Related Art
Bedsores are tender or inflamed patches on the skin that develop when a weight-bearing part of the body is squeezed between bone and another body part, or a bed, chair, splint, or another hard object. Bedsores are also called decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers or pressure sores. Bedsores are usually caused by sitting or lying in one position for too long, for example people confined to a wheel chair or bed-ridden patients, and can be serious. Deep sores can go down in to the muscle or even to the bone. If not treated properly, bedsores can become infected, and bedsores are always painful whether or not they are infected.
Treatment for bedsores includes relieving the pressure that caused the sore, treating the sore itself, and improving nutrition and other conditions to help the sore heal. For bedridden patients, sensitive parts can be protected by sheepskin pads, special cushions placed on top of a mattress, water-filled mattresses, and variable pressure mattresses whose sections can be individually inflated or deflated to redistribute pressure. Even when a special pad or mattress is used to prevent bedsores, it is still imperative to change the position of a bedridden patient every two hours.
Repositioning an elderly, immobile or bedridden patient several times each day can expose both the patient and the healthcare worker to significant physical and mental stresses. The patient can be bruised or even have bones fractured due to the awkward nature of being turned over or repositioned. The healthcare worker often suffers long-term back, joint or muscular problems when required to shift a patient or patients several times each day.
There is a need for a device that can alleviate pressure in order to reduce bedsores while at the same time facilitating the repositioning of a bedridden patient. Various devices have been developed or proposed to alleviate the problem of bedsores, but none show the combination of features of the present invention.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,653,130, issued Mar. 31, 1987 to Senoue et al., shows a bedsore preventing apparatus comprising an air mattress having at least two groups of pneumatically expandable and contractible cells respectively communicating with one another. The bedsore preventing apparatus is designed to prevent continuous support by one portion of the mattress, and therefore to prevent bedsores at such positions. The bedsore preventing apparatus is distinguished from the present invention by not having the inflatable wedges on the bottom of the mattress and not utilizing an eggcrate type shape.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,034,526, issued Mar. 7, 2000 to Jean-Marc Montant et al., teaches an apparatus for controlling the inflation pressure of a mattress in response to deformation of the mattress using impedance measurement. U.S. Pat. No. 5,560,374, issued Oct. 1, 1996 to Jean-Louis B. Viard, describes a patient support apparatus and method. The apparatus includes a support device with inflatable chambers having a support top face and a bottom face. The support apparatus is designed to keep a patient stable and is not designed to prevent bedsores.
French Patent No. 2,700,950, published Aug. 5, 1994, discloses an anti-bedsore mattress with alternate inflation. The mattress has two inflatable assemblies that form a checkerboard by coadaptation and are alternately inflatable. The anti-bedsore mattress does not have an eggcrate-shaped surface or inflatable wedges on the underside of the mattress.
Other patents showing mattresses designed to prevent bedsores include U.S. patent Publication No. 2001/0016960, published Aug. 30, 2001 (medical apparatus for the treatment and prevention of heel decubitus); U.S. patent publication No. 2002/0129448, published Sep. 19, 2002 (active fluid channeling system for a bed); U.S. Pat. No. 4,483,030, issued Nov. 20, 1984 to Roland E. Flick et al. (air pad); U.S. Pat. No. 4,825,486, issued May 2, 1989 to Kimura et al. (bedsore-preventing mattress); U.S. Pat. No. 5,894,615, issued Apr. 20, 1999 to Marvin J. Alexander (temperature selectively controllable body supporting pad); U.S. Pat. No. 5,983,429, issued Nov. 16, 1999 to Stacy et al. (method and apparatus for supporting and for supplying therapy to a patient); U.S. Pat. No. 6,016,581, issued Jan. 25, 2000 to Sakae Miki (semi-fluid mattress); U.S. Pat. No. 6,052,851, issued Apr. 25, 2000 to Robert C. Kohnle (mattress for minimizing decubitus ulcers); U.S. Pat. No. 6,260,221, issued Jul. 17, 2001 to Grabell et al. (medical apparatus for the treatment and prevention of heel decubitus); U.S. Pat. No. 6,434,771, issued Aug. 20, 2002 to Akira Nishito (mattress incorporating tourmaline); U.S. Pat. No. 6,564,411, issued May 20, 2003 to Shahzad Pirzada (active fluid channeling system for a bed).
Still other devices to prevent bedsores are shown in French Patent No. 2,601,874, published Jan. 29, 1988 (inflatable anti-bedsore mattress with alternately inflated air sacs); French Patent No. 2,609,892, published Jul. 29, 1988 (anti-bedsore structure); German Patent No. 3,805,980, published Sep. 8, 1988 (article made of flexible material, in particular for the formation of a mattress or a headrest); European Patent No. 387,234, published Sep. 12, 1990 (mattress preventing bed sores); European Patent No. 566,507, published Oct. 10, 1993 (inflatable elements for anti-bed-sore mattresses); United Kingdom Patent No. 2,274,054, published Jul. 13, 1994 (mattress); and International Patent No. WO 94/21437, published Sep. 29, 1994 (method for making an anti-bedsore mattress).
None of the above inventions and patents, taken either singly or in combination, is seen to describe the instant invention as claimed. Thus an inflatable, pressure alleviating, eggcrate mattress solving the aforementioned problems is desired.
The inflatable, pressure alleviating, eggcrate mattress pad is a mattress pad that is placed on top of a conventional mattress in order to prevent bedsores and to aid in the repositioning of bedridden patients. The mattress pad has an eggcrate-shaped surface. Separate air channels inflate and deflate alternating air cells at different intervals and pressure levels. The air cells are alternately inflated or deflated in a checkerboard pattern so that when one air cell point is inflated, the adjoining air cell point is deflated. By periodically changing the set of air cells that are inflated, a bedridden patient will not expose one area of their body to continual pressure and thus the risk of acquiring bedsores is reduced.
The mattress pad is also equipped with two inflatable wedges on the underside of the mattress pad. One wedge is on each side of the centerline of the mattress pad. When either of the wedges is inflated it will tip one side of the mattress upwards so that a patient can be more easily moved. For example, if a patient was lying on their back and one of the wedges is inflated, the patient is shifted onto his or her side, making it much easier for an attendant to move the patient.
The mattress pad is secured to an existing mattress by a plurality of straps that are attached to the underside of the mattress pad. The mattress pad is inflated by using an air pump with four output lines for each of the inflatable sections of the mattress pad. The pump preferably has a vacuum capacity to make the inflating and deflating of the alternating air cells more efficient. The air pump is controlled by one of the various types of controllers known in the art.
Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention to provide a pad for a mattress that will help to prevent the formation of bedsores in bedridden patients.
It is another object of the invention to provide a mattress pad having selectively inflatable wedges, on opposite sides of the centerline to make the task of shifting a bedridden patient easier, with minimal strain on the attendant.
It is an object of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof for the purposes described which is inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing its intended purposes.
These and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.
Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.
The present invention is an inflatable, pressure alleviating, eggcrate mattress pad, designated generally as 10 in the drawings. The mattress pad 10 is placed on top of a conventional mattress 12 and can be made in different dimensions to accommodate various mattress sizes, such as single, twin, double, queen or king size. The mattress pad 10 is particularly well suited for attachment to the mattress of a hospital bed. The mattress pad 10 is attached to a conventional mattress 12 by a plurality of buckled straps 20, 22, 24 that are cinched around the conventional mattress 12. The position of buckled straps 20, 22, 24 is shown in
The lower surface 40 of mattress pad 10 is equipped with two inflatable wedges 42, 44 as shown in
The upper surface 30 of mattress pad 10 has an eggcrate-shaped pattern, as shown in
In an alternative embodiment, the air cells may have a teardrop shape, as shown by air cells 80 in
It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.