US 20050268390 A1
A device and method for providing support to a toilet bowl suitable to sustain the weight of an obese or otherwise large individual. The device comprises a support bar and a leg between the toilet bowl and the floor, wherein the device is placed underneath the toilet and affixed to a toilet wall support. The leg is hinged to allow folding thereof to facilitate cleaning under the toilet bowl.
1. A device for supporting a toilet bowl, said device comprising:
an S-shaped member.
2. The device of
3. The device of
4. The device of
5. The device of
6. The device of
7. The device of
8. The device of
9. The device of
10. The device of
11. The device of
12. The device of
13. The device of
14. A toilet support device comprising:
a first angled member, a plate and a second angled member.
15. The toilet support device of
16. The toilet support device of
17. The toilet support device of
18. A method of supporting a toilet bowl, said method comprising the steps of:
selecting a support from the group consisting of S-shaped members and M-shaped members; and
utilizing said selected support to support a toilet bowl.
19. The device of
20. The device of
21. A device for supporting a toilet bowl, said device comprising:
an M-shaped member.
22. The device for supporting a toilet bowl of
The present application is a continuation-in-part application to non-provisional patent application Ser. No. 10/701,812, entitled Toilet Support Device and Method, filed on Nov. 5, 2003, and claims priority thereto and the full benefit thereof.
The present invention relates generally to toilet support apparatuses, and more specifically to an improved apparatus and method for providing support to a toilet bowl, wherein the toilet support device and method of the present invention is particularly suited for, although not limited to, use on a toilet bowl having a high mass load, such as is applied by bariatric patients.
The present invention began out of a need for a device to support toilets for bariatric patients; that is, patients of weight in excess of the weights of typical patients. A person having a body mass index of forty or greater (often more than one hundred pounds over their ideal body weight) may be considered morbidly obese and a suitable candidate for bariatric surgery. Such a person would be considered a bariatric patient. Standard toilets are designed to sustain high loadings, but under extreme weight may be subject to fracture.
There are various devices and methods available for providing support to toilet appliances or to the person utilizing them, but all are disadvantageous when compared to the present invention. Some devices are designed to provide strengthening of the attachment point of the toilet to the wall in order to assist in providing a toilet device that can withstand high weights; however, because such devices provide no support to the bowl itself, and due to the lever moment of the toilet bowl about the attachment point, excess weight applied to the bowl area can easily lead to failure of the wall mount. Other devices provide supports above the toilet bowl to facilitate grasping by the user, to assist the user in supporting himself without bringing full weight on to the toilet bowl. Clearly, such devices do not provide support to the toilet bowl, and in the event of failure, bring full weight of the user on to the toilet bowl, as these devices are mostly utilized to assist the user in positioning himself upon the bowl.
While some or all of the devices of the above-referenced patents may be utilized for supporting a patient above a toilet bowl, or for supporting a patient of average weight upon a toilet bowl, each fails to adequately provide reliable support to a heavily loaded toilet bowl.
Therefore, it is readily apparent that there is a need for a novel bariatric toilet support apparatus and method, wherein the maximum weight load capability of a toilet is increased, thus enabling secure support of obese individuals thereon and avoiding the above-discussed disadvantages.
Briefly described, in a preferred embodiment, the present invention overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages and meets the recognized need for such an invention by providing a bariatric toilet support apparatus and method for supporting a toilet bowl under stress of heavy loads, wherein the apparatus is located under a toilet bowl to prevent flexure thereof.
According to its major aspects and broadly stated, the present invention in its preferred embodiment is a support plate and leg unit for utilization between the base of a toilet bowl and the floor therebelow, thereby buttressing the toilet bowl. The bariatric toilet support apparatus of the present invention is suited for selective adjustment of height and/or length to permit use with a variety of differently-sized toilets. Additionally, the present apparatus provides a means for attachment to a supporting wall and/or existing toilet mounting supports. The support leg of the present apparatus can be folded away from the toilet to permit cleaning under the toilet.
More specifically, the bariatric toilet support apparatus of the present invention comprises an S-shaped member hingably secured to a leg member, wherein the leg member may be fixed or comprise a telescoping section for height adjustment under the selected toilet. The leg member may also include a foot portion, wherein the foot portion may also permit height adjustment of the leg member.
The S-shaped member comprises first and second angled members and a plate member to provide for length adjustment, wherein the first angled member and the plate member comprise adjustment slots formed therethrough, and wherein the adjustment slots cooperatively align with apertures in the second angled member. Fasteners secure the first angled member and the plate member to the second angled member in a selected aperture for gross adjustment, while permitting fine adjustment via sliding the fastener within the adjustment slots.
The bariatric toilet support apparatus of the present invention is secured to the existing toilet support hardware, or alternately, can be secured to mounting locations on the wall adjacent to the toilet.
A feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to provide support to a toilet bowl.
A further feature and advantage of the present invention is its ability to assist a toilet appliance in supporting heavy weight loads.
A feature and advantage of the present invention is that it can be retracted for cleaning of the floor area under the toilet bowl.
A further feature and advantage of the present invention is its ease of manufacture and low cost of production.
These and other features and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent to one skilled in the art from the following description and claims when read in light of the accompanying drawings.
Having thus described the invention in general terms, the present invention will be better understood by reading the Detailed Description of the Preferred and Selected Alternate Embodiments with reference to the accompanying drawing figures, which are not necessarily drawn to scale, and in which like reference numerals denote similar structures and refer to like elements throughout, and in which:
In describing the preferred and selected alternate embodiments of the present invention, as illustrated in
Referring now to
Bariatric toilet support apparatus 200 comprises first angled member 210, second angled member 220, plate 230, bumper 60, hinge 240, leg 250 and leg extension 260. First angled member 210 comprises first extension 212, bend 214, angle 218 and second extension 216, wherein angle 218 formed between first extension 212 and second extension 216 comprises approximately one hundred and thirty-five degrees. First extension 212 comprises apertures 280 formed therethrough, and plate 230 comprises apertures 280 formed therethrough. Second angled member 220 comprises first section 222, bend 224, angle 228 and second section 226, wherein angle 228 is approximately one hundred and thirty-five degrees. Second angled member 220 and first angled member 210 comprise slots 290, wherein slots 290 are adapted to permit selective positioning of first angled member 210 and second angled member 220 when secured via fasteners 330 to plate 230.
Fasteners 330 comprise bolt 332 and nut 320, wherein bolt 332 is preferably a carriage bolt. Fasteners 330 are inserted through slots 290 in second angled member 220 and thereafter pass through apertures 280 in first angled member 210 and in plate 230, thereby endowing bariatric toilet support apparatus 200 with an S-shape, whilst removably securing first angled member 210, second angled member 220 and plate 230 together. It will be recognized by those skilled in the art that first angled member 201 and second angled member 220 could comprise slots 290 or apertures 280, and that plate 230 could comprise slots 290 or apertures 280. In such a fashion, plate 230 can be selectively raised or lowered, and bariatric toilet support apparatus 200 can be selectively lengthened, to accommodate a variety of means for securing bariatric toilet support apparatus 200 to toilet, wall or floor mounts. For instance, first end 232 of plate 230 comprises apertures 300, wherein apertures 300 receive floor mounts or alternately, can include support plate 500 (best shown in
Bumper 60 is fixably secured to second extension 216. Second extension 216 is flexibly secured to leg 250 via hinge 240, wherein leg 250 comprises leg extension 260, bottom 262 and fastener 270, and wherein leg extension 260 slidably engages with bottom 262 of leg 250 in a telescopic fashion, facilitating height adjustment of bumper 60 for engagement with toilet bowl TB (best shown in
In an alternate embodiment shown in detail in
Bumper 60 is made of a firm, yet resilient material, such as, for exemplary purposes only, rubber. While rubber is preferred, it will be evident to those in the art that other resilient or cushioning-type materials may be utilized within the present invention for construction of bumper 60. Bumper 60 provides a resilient surface for contact of bariatric toilet support apparatus 200 with toilet bowl TB to prevent damage of toilet bowl TB under load deflection.
In use, bariatric toilet support apparatus 200 is positioned beneath toilet bowl TB (best shown in
Referring now more particularly to
Referring now more particularly to
Leg 545 further comprises adjustable foot 450, wherein foot 450 comprises threaded rod 452, nut 454, jam nut 456, base 458 and non-skid pad 459. Threaded receptacle 442 of leg 545 is dimensioned to receive threaded rod 452 of foot 450 therein, thereby securing foot 450 to leg 545 and permitting screw adjustment of the height of foot 450. Nut 454 and jam nut 456 are positioned on threaded rod 452, wherein nut 454 is adjusted on threaded rod 452 such that when threaded rod 452 is inserted and screwed into threaded receptacle 442 of leg 545, nut 454 will function as a stop to prevent further insertion of threaded rod 452, thereby setting the height of foot 450. Thus, upon adjusting the height of foot 450, leg 545 exerts a compressive force delivered against underside U of toilet bowl TB by bumper 530, thereby preventing downward deflection of toilet bowl TB when toilet bowl TB is under load. Jam nut 456 is used to jam against nut 454 in order to prevent threaded rod 452 from rotating, thereby securing nut 454 and firmly fixing the height of foot 450.
Referring now more specifically to
Referring now more particularly to
Body 26 of support bar 20 is suitably formed to follow the contour of the base B of toilet T, including toilet bowl TB, wherein the preferred S-shaped section 28 follows the contour of a commonly-shaped base B. Bumper 60 is affixed proximate top 25 of second end 24 of support bar 20. Bumper 60 is made of a firm, yet resilient material, such as, for exemplary purposes only, rubber. While rubber is preferred, it will be evident to those skilled in the art that other resilient or cushioning-type materials may be utilized within the present invention for construction of bumper 60.
Film 66 substantially covers surface 62 of bumper 60. Film 66 is thin, with first surface 67 that adheres to bumper 60, and second surface 65 that is not adherent, particularly non-adherent to porcelain, but which has a generally frictional surface 62. A preferred material for forming film 66 is, for exemplary purposes only, INSUL-GRIPฎ, as manufactured by INSULTAB, Inc. of Woburn, Mass.
Bumper 60 is positioned to enable bottom footprint 27 of bumper 60 to contact top 25 of second end 24 of support bar 20. In operation, leg 40 is raised to position bumper 60 such that film 66 is in contact against underside U of toilet bowl TB. Bumper 60 is generally wedge-shaped to most suitably conform to underside U of typical toilet bowl TB; although, it is contemplated herein that other toilet apparatuses may require bumper 60 to be in a different shape, and any such shape could be utilized without departing from the intended scope of the present invention.
Leg 40 supports first end 24 of support bar 20, wherein top end 46 of leg 40 is located below support bar 20, proximate bottom 29 of first end 24 thereof, and wherein surface footprint 49 at first end 46 of leg 40 is in contact with bottom 29 of first end 24 of support bar 20. In addition to top end 46, leg 40 is defined by body 48 and base end 44. Leg 40 is solid stainless steel, and has threaded receptacle 42 drilled and tapped therein at second end 44. It will be recognized by those skilled in the art that leg 40 may be made from other strong materials, and that other means of length adjustment could be utilized.
Foot 50 is attached to base end 44 of leg 40. Foot 50 is a swivel leveling mount, such as, for exemplary purposes only, as is available from McMaster-Carr of Atlanta, Ga., having threaded rod 52, nut 54, jam nut 56, base 58 and non-skid pad 59. Threaded receptacle 42 of leg 40 is dimensioned to receive threaded rod 52 of foot 50 therein, thereby securing foot 50 to leg 40 and permitting screw adjustment of height of foot 50. Nut 54 and jam nut 56 are positioned on threaded rod 52, wherein nut 54 is adjusted on threaded rod 52 such that when threaded rod 52 is inserted and screwed into threaded receptacle 42 of leg 40, nut 54 will function as a stop to prevent further insertion of threaded rod 52, thereby setting the height of foot 50. Thus, upon adjusting the height of foot 50, leg 40, support bar 20, bumper 60 and film 66, according to the preferred configuration, a compressive force is delivered against underneath U of toilet bowl TB, thereby preventing downward deflection of toilet bowl TB when toilet bowl TB is under load. Jam nut 56 is used to jam against nut 54 in order to prevent threaded rod 52 from rotating, thereby securing nut 54 and firmly fixing the height of foot 50.
Attached to support bar 20 is top hinge plate 92 (best shown in
Top hinge plate 92 has angle or bend 98 defined therein to facilitate attachment to S-shaped section 28 of support bar 20.
Referring now to
Side hinge plate 82 (best shown in
Referring now to
Thus, leg 40 is hingably attached to support bar 20 via top hinge plate 92, side hinge plate 82 and hinge 70, wherein hinge 70 (as best shown in
Top hinge flange 90 is located proximate narrow end 68 of bumper 60 and is fixably attached to top hinge plate 92 via fasteners 102, and wherein top hinge plate 92 is attached to support bar 20 via suitable fastening means 100, such as, for exemplary purposes only, machine screws and nuts, although it will be recognized by those skilled in the art that other suitable fastening means may be utilized.
Hinge 70 comprises hinge body 78, with top hinge flange 90 and bottom hinge flange 80 hingably attached thereto. Hinge mounting holes 72 are defined in top hinge flange 90. Hinge mounting holes 74 are defined in bottom hinge flange 80. Additionally, mounting hole 76 a is defined in top hinge flange 90, wherein mounting hole 76 a facilitates attachment of hinge 70 to top hinge plate 92 and support bar 20 via a common fastener. Likewise, mounting hole 76 b, is defined in bottom hinge flange 80, wherein mounting hole 76 b facilitates attachment of hinge 70 to side hinge plate 82 and support bar 20 via a common fastener.
It is envisioned in an alternate embodiment that leg 40 could be any shape, such as, for exemplary purposes only, cylindrical or rectangular/prismatic.
It is envisioned in an alternate embodiment that leg 40 could be hollow and could support a threaded insert suitable for inserting and securing foot 50.
It is envisioned in an alternate embodiment that leg 40 could be a single resilient member forced into position below toilet bowl TB.
It is also envisioned in an alterate embodiment that leg 40 could be permanently installed.
It is further envisioned in an alternate embodiment that leg 40 could be integrally formed into the porcelain shell of toilet bowl TB, whereby it could be rendered virtually invisible.
It is envisioned in a further alternate embodiment that leg 40 could be hydraulicly operated.
It is contemplated in an alternative embodiment that S-bar 20 could define any shape suitable to facilitate installation beneath the bowl of toilet T.
It is contemplated in another alternate embodiment that support bar 20 could be formed of a leg portion only.
It is contemplated in yet another alternate embodiment that hinges and plates could be any shape, size, or configuration capable of performing essentially the same function.
It is contemplated in still another alternate embodiment that apparatus 10 could attach to toilet or wall via any necessary configuration depending upon toilet type and/or design.
The foregoing description and drawings comprise illustrative embodiments of the present invention. Having thus described exemplary embodiments of the present invention, it should be noted by those skilled in the art that the within disclosures are exemplary only, and that various other alternatives, adaptations, and modifications may be made within the scope of the present invention. Merely listing the steps of the method in a certain order does not constitute any limitation on the order of the steps of the method. Many modifications and other embodiments of the invention will come to mind to one skilled in the art to which this invention pertains having the benefit of the teachings presented in the foregoing descriptions and the associated drawings. Therefore, it is to be understood that the invention is not to be limited to the specific embodiments disclosed and that modifications and other embodiments are intended to be included within the scope of the appended claims. Although specific terms are employed herein, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation. Accordingly, the present invention is not limited to the specific embodiments illustrated herein, but is limited only by the following claims.