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Publication numberUS3379450 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 23, 1968
Filing dateApr 28, 1966
Priority dateApr 28, 1966
Publication numberUS 3379450 A, US 3379450A, US-A-3379450, US3379450 A, US3379450A
InventorsJones Emerson, Richard L Large
Original AssigneeTechnical Mfg Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Adjustable wheelchair device
US 3379450 A
Images(6)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Aprii 23, 1968 E. JONES ETAL 3,379,459

ADJUSTABLE WHEELCHAIR DEVICE Filed April as, 1966 6 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTORS EMf/Effl Jan/5 ECHAEJL 124m:

ATTORNEY$ April 23, 1968 E. JONES ETAL ADJUSTABLE WHEELCHAIR DEVICE 6 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed April 28, 1966 m m V m P 3, 1968 E. JONES ETAL 3,379,450

ADJUSTABLE WHEELCHAIR DEVICE Filed April 28, 1966 Sheets-Sheet INVENTORS zfilfm/v 70/1 55 Far/14w Z. JA /P45 April 23, 1968 E. JONES ETAL ADJUSTABLE WHEELCHAIR DEVICE G Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed April 28, 1966 INVENTORs q//vfs ATTORNEYS April 23, 1968 E, JONES ETAL 3,379,450

ADJUSTABLE WHEELCHAIR DEVICE Filed April 28, 1966 6 Sheets-Sheet 5 ATTORNEYS APrii 3, 1968 E. JONES ETAL 3,379,450

ADJUSTABLE WHEELCHAIR DEVICE Filed April 28, 1966 6 Sheets-Sheet 6 I70 22 E I72 INVENTORS M5560 254 55 (b En/mez .ZS. awe- (d) United States Patent 3,379,450 ADJUSTABLE WHEELCHAIR DEVICE Emerson Jones and Richard L. Large, Lincoln, Nebn, assignors to Technical Manufacturing Corporation, Lincoln, N ebr., a corporation of Nebraska Filed Apr. 28, 1966, Ser. No. 545,960 9 Claims. (Cl. 280-36) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An adjustable Wheelchair device is provided with a first actuating mechanism for adjusting a plurality of pivotally connected chair elements relative to one another so as to provide a range of sitting, standing or prone positions, and a second mechanism is provided for tilting the entire chair assembly about a horizontal axis of a base frame to which the cha r assembly is connected. The second mechanism operates through hollow framing members of the base frame so as to provide a safer more stable operation of the chair device.

This invention relates to a wheelchair and is particularly concerned with a wheelchair which provides for changing an occupants position, which positions can be intermediate between the extremes of prone, standing, or seated positions.

Wheel chairs have been devised which generally provide for the wheeled movement of a patent from one place to another while the patient is in a sitting position. Certain prior art devices have allowed limited adjustments in a wheel chair so as to change the sitting position of its occupant; however, such wheel chairs have not offered the advantages of the present invention.

The present invention provides for a wheel chair which may be used by handicapped persons who cannot be easily moved into and out of bed, or into and out of a normal sitting position. In particular, in the case of paraplegic or quadraplegic individuals, great difliculties are experienced in moving the patient from a bed to a mobile or stationary device. Also, those individuals who are temporarily or partially disabled are a problem to move about. Accordingly, the present invention provides for a wheel chair having components which can be actuated to change the occupants position from a sitting position to an upright standing position; to a prone position or positions intermediate between the three basic positions. With the chair in the horizontal planar position and located parallel to a bed, the patient may be transferred easily from the bed to the wheel chair. From the horizontal planar position, the occupant may be placed in a standing position, seated position, or any position intermediate between the three basic positions. After the occupant has been placed in a natural standing position, it is easier for an attendant to assist the occupant in walking movements or other such movements away from the wheel chair. As an alternative use, the adjustable chair may be used by the patient to raise and lower himself for exercising purposes and to change pressures on the body. Also, hand support members are provided on the wheel chair to give the occupant additional support while being moved to various positions.

In a preferred embodiment of this invention, the wheel chair includes a base frame which carries wheels for rolling the chair from one place to another. In addition, an adjustable chair portion is supported on the base frame so as to be movable relative to the base into a series of positions as determined by relative movement of elements which make up the chair. A seat bottom of the chair is hinged for pivotal movement at its front edge, and a first lifting means is connected to a portion of the seat bottom and to a separate part of the chair so that actuation of the first lifting means from a retracted position to an extended position will move the chair elements, which make up the chair, into aligned planar positions relative to one another. A back element of the chair is pivotally mounted to a back edge of the seat bottom so that the back portion may swing from its normal angular position relative to the seat bottom to an extended position in alignment with the seat bottom. Likewise, a legrest portion of the wheel chair is pivotally mounted to a front edge of the seat bottom so as to be movable to a planar position relative to the seat bottom. The movement of the back element relative to the seat bottom is automatically controlled by linkages between the upright back portion and upright frame members which are positioned at each side of the forward edge of the seat bottom. Pivotal connections of the linking members assure the proper swinging movement of the seat back and the legrest about arcs which will place the seat back and the legrest in a plane co-extensive with the seat bottom. The upright frame members give the adjustable chair great stability for all positions of the chair with the occupant therein. Control means are provided for actuating an electric motor or other device which extends and retracts a connecting arm associated with the first lifting means. The control means are located so as to be easily accessible to the occupant of the chair or an attendant standing by the chair.

A second lifting means is provided for tilting all chair elements relative to the base frame and about a horizontal axis. The second lifting means includes a rack and pinion mechanism which operates in a novel system for tilting the chair elements relative to frame members of the wheel chair base. Thus, the backrest and legrest portions of the chair can be moved into any number of angular positions relative to the seat bottom of the chair by means of the first lifting mechanism, and then the entire assembly of elements can be tilted or moved by changing the angular position of the combined chair elements relative to the base of the wheel chair by means of the second lifting mechanism. The second lifting means is also connected to control devices which can be conveniently operated by the chair occupant or by an attendant. In this manner the wheel chair device of this invention can be used as a chair for sitting, a flat bed, or as an exercising device.

In addition to the movement features of the chair elements, the invention also provides hand support members which align with armrests of the chair when the chair is in a sitting configuration. This provides a support frame which the occupant may grasp or rest upon while being moved by the adjustable chair. The support members are also adjustable so that they can be moved out of their usual supporting position under certain circumstances. For example, when the chair is being used as a bed, and all of the chair elements are in a horizontal plane, it is desirable to move the support members out of the way of any movement of a patient onto or out of the wheel chair bed.

The wheelchair construction provides for adjustments of the footrest and of the seat size so that the chair elements can be adjusted to comfortably fit and handle occupants of varying heights. Also, in the preferred embodiment, telescoping and adjustable armrests are provided.

The wheelchair also includes the usual devices for braking forward movement of the chair and for turning the chair as it is being rolled. Furthermore, straps are included on the chair for the purpose of holding the occupant in a stable position while the chair elements are bein moved from one configuration to another. One of the straps is attached to the seat back element and the other strap attaches to a lower portion of the chair so as to hold the patient around the knees. These straps may be in the form of seat belts or elastic belts which permit a buckling or tying of the occupant into the chair,

An alternative embodiment of this invention provides for alternative lifting and lowering means for the wheelchair assembly, and in the alternative embodiment hydraulic cylinders and pistons may be used in the lifting and lowering mechanisms.

Other features of this invention will become apparent in the more detailed discussion which follows and in that discussion reference will be made to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIGURE 1 is a side elevational view of a preferred construction for the present invention, showing the chair elements in a sitting configuration;

FIGURE 2 is a back perspective view of the wheelchair of FIGURE 1, and the chair elements are shown in planar positions relative to one another in a plane which is essentially vertical;

FIGURE 3 is a detail illustration of a lifting mechanism for tilting all of the chair elements about a horizontal axis;

FIGURE 4 is a detailed illustration of an adjusting means for adjusting the height of a footrest element of the wheelchair;

FIGURES Sa-e schematically illustrate a series of positions for the FIGURE 1 wheelchair, showing a number of possible relationships for the individual elements making up the chair as related to the base portion of the wheelchair;

FIGURE 6 is a front perspective view of an alternative embodiment of an adjustable wheelchair with the chair elements in a sitting configuration;

FIGURE 7 is a back perspective view of the wheelchair of FIGURE 6 showing the elements in a planar position relative to one another and with the plane of the combined elements on an angle to a horizontal plane; and

FIGURE 8a-d schematically illustrates a series of positions of the FIGURE 6 adjustable wheelchair from a sitting configuration to a planar configuration.

A preferred form of the present invention is illustrated in FIGURES 1 through 5. Referring to FIGURE 1, the preferred wheelchair construction includes a base frame portion 10 and an adjustable chair indicated generally at 12 which is mounted for movement relative to the base frame. The base frame includes framing members formed from tubular metal stock, or other suitable material, and the base frame functions as a support means for the adjustable chair portion mounted on the base. In its simplest form, the base frame includes two horizontal, bottom framing members 14 which are spaced apart from one another to define the bottom level of the base frame portion. Two upright framing members 16 are welded to, or otherwise rigidly affixed to, the bottom members 14, and the upper ends of the upright members 16 provide for the pivotal mounting of the adjustable chair 12 to the base frame portion 100. The base frame also includes angular framing members 18 which are connected between the upright members 16 and the bottom members 14 at an approximate angle of 45 degrees. The angular members 18 strengthen the construction of the base frame, and also provide for a novel concealed actuating means for moving the adjustable chair 12 relative to the base frame 10.

The bottom frame members 14 are formed as shown in FIGURES 1 and 2 to include a stepped-in section at each side of the rear portion of the base frame, and the stepped-in portion on each side of the wheelchair provides for recessed sections for accommodating the large wheels 20. Further, the stepped-in configuration for each of the bottom members 14 provides for an attachment of the angular members 18 along a line which intersects the bottom members 14 and which falls inwardly of the positions of the upright members 16. The purpose in this arrangement will be discussed in greater detail below, but generally, this construction provides an openended framing member through which a chair moving mechanism may be operated. Front wheels 22 are also provided on the base frame 10, and the mounting of the front wheel may be in any conventional manner for providing turning movements of the front of the wheelchair, The rear wheels 20 can be mounted on axle elements aflixed through mounting posts 24. The base frame portion of the wheelchair also carries a power unit 26 which includes a rechargeable battery, or other equivalent energy source, for operating actuating mechanisms which move the various portions of the wheelchair.

The adjustable chair portion 12 of the preferred embodiment includes a plurality of elements which make up a chair which can be moved from a sitting configuration to a planar position. Also, numerous intermediate positions of the chair elements can be set by the operating mechanism of this invention, and the angular position of the combined chair elements in any given configuration can be changed relative to the base frame portion 10 of the wheelchair.

The adjustable chair includes a seat portion 30, a back portion 32 which is adjustably mounted relative to the seat 30, a front, leg portion 34 which includes an adjustable footrest 36, armrests 38, and hand support elements 40. As will be seen by reference to the various positions shown in FIGURE 5, the elements which make up the adjustable chair 12 are interconnected to one another for relative pivotal movement so that a movement of one of the elements will affect the positions of the remaining 1 elements. The chair seat 30, back 32 and leg portion 34 are formed from metal stock framing members, and cushioned supports 42 are fixed between the framing members to provide the necessary support to a chair occupant. The adjustable chair is pivotally mounted on the upper ends of the upright members 16 so thatthe entire chair assembly may be tilted about the pivotal mounting points 44 by an actuating mechanism. The pivotal mounting of the adjustable chair at 44 is provided by mounting bolts or pins which pass horizontally through the upright members 16 and through upper ends of framing members 46 associated with the leg portion 34 of the adjustable chair. Each side of the leg portion 34 has a framing member 46 for attachment to an adjacent upright member 16, and the points of attachment 44 are on a common horizontal pivotal axis. The seat 30 of the chair is pivotally attached at 48 to the leg portion 34, and a plurality of attachment positions may be provided, as shown. Removable pins or other locking devices may be used to effect the pivotal attachment. The angular position of the seat 30 as related to the leg portion 34 is determined by a first actuating mechanism 50 interconnected between the seat 30 and a lower end of the leg rest 34. The actuating mechanism is shown in the form of an extensible and retractable device which includes an electrical motor for driving a screw which extends and retracts a shaft 54. The extension and retraction arrangement of this device is conventional, and does not form a separate part of this invention. Equivalent actuating mechanisms may be positioned between the seat 30 and the leg portion 34 for adjusting the angular relationship of those two elements, and such equivalent mechanisms would include. hydraulic jacks having hydraulically operated extensible and retractable devices connected to conventional hydraulic piston and cylinder assemblies. The chair back 32 is connected to a rearward portion of the seat 30, and the position of the back 32 is adjustable both in its point of connection to the seat and in its angular relationship to the seat. The adjustable mounting of the back 32 to the seat 30 is provided by forming a plurality of mounting positions along the rear part of the seat. These mounting positions may be in the form of holes 56 spaced along the rear margins of the seat 30, and removable locking pins 58 may be inserted through the lower ends of the back framing members and into the receiving holes 56. Alternatively, other mounting devices may be positioned along the rear margins of the seat 39 to attach the back 32 in desired positions relative to the seat. This adjustment feature provides for changing the effective depth of the seat for accommodating larger and smaller occupants who may be using the wheel chair. Because of the many functions of the wheel chair of this invention, it is a special advantage to be able to accommodate the chair, as closely as possible, to the particular size of individual who may be using the wheel chair. The angular adjustment of the back 32 relative to the seat 30 is provided by the inter-relationships of all elements making up the adjustable chair 12, and the one type of angular adjustment feature will be discussed below with reference to the FIGURE 5 illustrations. Alternatively, the back can be angularly adjusted relative to the seat by adjusting the lengths of the arms 38. The arms 38 are shown as being formed from telescoping section which can be locked into desired lengths with removable pins.

FIGURE 3 illustrates a section of the base frame with portions cut away to show a rack and pinion means 60 which operates through the angular member 18 to move the adjustable chair 12 about its pivotal mounting 44 on the upright members 16'. The angular member 18 is formed from hollow metal stock material, and the passageway through the angular member carries a push rod 62 attached to the rack 64. The push rod extends through the holiow angular member 18 and beyond its upper open end at the point of attachment of the angular member to the upright member 16. Since the upper end of the member 18 is attached at an outside edge only to the upright member 16, there is provided an open end of the member 18 through which the push rod can extend. The push rod is then attached to the leg portion 34, and in the preferred construction, the upper end of the push rod 62 carries a roller 66 which is mounted within the framing member 46 associated with the leg portion 34. A slot 68 is milled through a back wall portion of the framing member 46 and the push rod 62 is inserted through the slot with the roller 66 bearing against an inside surface of the framing member 46. Thus, extension or retraction movements of the push rod 62 will cause the leg portion 34 to rotate about the pivotal mounting point 44. As the angular relationship between the leg portion 34 and the upright member 16 is changed, the roller 66 of the push rod can move along within the framing member 46 to accommodate the changes in relative positions of the various elements. The push rod 62 and its rack 64 are contained and concealed entirely within the angular member 18, and this provides for an actuating mechanism which is safer than exposed devices which might be used to move the chair 12 about its pivotal mounting point. The rack is moved back and forth within the angular member 18 by rotational movements applied to the pinion gear 70, and the pinion gear is actuated by a drive shaft connected to any suitable driving means. Of course, a portion of the angular member 18 is removed at the point where the pinion gear is mounted for driving the rack, and the pinion gear enters the angular member 18 for a sufficient distance to drive the rack. FIGURE 2 shows a portion of the power unit 26 cut away and a driving shaft 72 is connected to the pinion 70 for rotating the pinion. The driving shaft 72 is illustrated as being turned by a chain which is driven by an electric motor means, but other arrangements may be used for driving the rack and pinion. The motor may be operated by a rechargeable battery and control wires may extend through the base frame to switches mounted in the handles 40. Likewise, switches and control means are provided in the handles 44 for operating the actuating mechanism 50 associated with the adjustable chair elements.

FIGURE 4 illustrates an adjustment means for adjusting the height of the footrest 36 carried by the leg portion 34 of the adjustable chair. A slot 74 is milled through the front surface of each of the framing members 46 associated with the leg portion 34. The slot includes spaced enlarged portions 76 for holding a pin or other locking device associated with the footrest assembly. The footrest 36 includes vertical elements 78 which are carried within the channel of the framing member 46. The base of the footrest and framing members 80 are attached to the vertical elements 78 and are of such dimensions at the point of attachment that they are free to move up and down along the slot 74 for adjusting the height of the footrest. Holes 82 are formed at spaced positions on the vertical member 78, and a locking pin may be inset-ted to lock the footrest in any desired level.

The hand supports 40 of the wheelchair are mounted so that they can be locked in various positions about their pivotal mountings on the upper ends of the framing members 46. Any suitable mounting may be used for pivoting and locking the hand supports. When it is desired to use the device in a horizontal planar position for transferring patients to and from a bed, it is nece sary to unlock the hand supports and to move them into positions aligned with the bed, so that they will not interfere with an easy transfer of the patient.

FIGURE 5 shows a series of representative positions in which the wheel chair of this invention can be placed. FIGURE 5a illustrates an initial movement of the adjustable chair elements by the actuating mechanism 50 omitted from the remaining views for clarity) associated with those elements. From a normal sitting position of the chair, as shown in FIGURE 1, an extension of the actuating mechanism 50 will cause the angle between the seat 30 and the leg portion 34 to become greater as shown in FIGURE 5a. Because of a parallelogram relationship of the elements which make up the adjustable chair portion, the extension movement of the actuating mechanism causes the back 32 of the chair to move in a direction which will maintain the back in a substantially parallel relationship with the leg portion 34. Continued extension of the actuating mechanism 50 will ultimately cause the chair elements to become coplanar with one another, as is shown in the 5d illustration. This configuration is desirable when the device is to be used as a bed or for standing a patient in an upright position as shown in 52. FIGURE 51) illustrates the effect of the second actuating mechanism 60 upon the combined chair elements. Once the desired configuration for the chair element has been attained by the actuating mechanism 50, it is possible to tilt the combined elements about their pivotal mounting points 44 by moving the push rod 62 up or down within the angular frame member 18. From the position shown in FIGURE 5a, the push rod 62 is pulled downwardly to tilt the combined chair elements into a more upright position as shown in FIGURE 5b. This figure also shows a slight change in the configuration of the chair elements resulting from a continued extension of the actuating mechanism 50. An extension movement of the push rod 62 upwardly through the angular member 18 results in the positions shown in FIGURES 5c and d. On the other hand, an extreme retraction movement of the push rod will result in the position shown in FIGURE 5e where the front leg portion 34 is brought into substantial vertical alignment with the upright framing member 16. In the FIGURES 5c and 5d positions, the hand supports 40 have been swung into alignment with the framing element of the adjustable chair portion so that they will not interfere with lateral movement of a patient off from the bed. In FIGURE 56, the hand supports 40 are locked into supporting positions so that an occupant may rest some of his weight on them.

The illustrated positions of the wheelchair are only representative of many possible intermediate po itions which can be attained, and it will be appreciated that a selective use of the two actuating mechanisms results in many uses for the wheelchair device. For example, the chair may be placed in a horizontal planar position substantially as shown in FIGURE 5d, when it is desired to transfer a patient to or from a bed against which the chair is placed. If it is desired to place the patient in an upright standing position, the second actuating mechanism 60 can be operated to retract the push rod so as to bring the chair into the upright position shown in FIGURE e. During these movements straps or belts 84 may be placed about the patient under his shoulders and also below the knees to help restrain the patient against the cushions of the wheelchair. When the chair is to be used as an exercising device, the patient may operate switches mounted in the handles for extending and retracting the actuating mechanism 50. Such movements can be used to exercise leg muscles which have been temporarily or partially disabled, and the exercising can be accomplished with a minimum amount of effort on the part of an attendant who normally must move a patient to all desired positions.

Referring to FIGURE 6, an alternative construction for the wheelchair is illustrated. As with the FIGURE 1 embodiment there is provided a base frame 110 and an adjustable chair 112. The base frame includes attachments for rear wheels 114 and for front wheels 116. The front wheels 116 are pivotally mounted on vertical axes so that they may follow turning movements of the chair when a force is applied to one side or other of the base frame. The base frame includes two longitudinal framing members 118 and 1211 running for the entire length of the base frame. The members 118 and 120 are spaced from one another so as to form the side framing members of the wheelchair upon which other framing members and the adjustable chair elements may be carried. Cross members are provided between the longitudinal framing members so as to give the frame a fixed dimension and to make the frame rigid.

Upright members 122 are secured at right angles to the longitudinal members 118 and 120 so as to form spaced upright frame members which will support the adjustable components of the wheel chair for movement about a pivotal axis near the uppermost ends of each upright member 122, which member may be longer or shorter depending on the height of the wheel chair bed desired. The upright framing members 122 are preferably mounted at an approximate midpoint along the length of the longitudinal members 118 and 120, and the members 122 can be bolted or welded to the base frame members 118 and 120. In the illustrated form of the invention, the upright members 122 are welded to the members 124 which are secured to the longitudinal framing members 118 and 120. The upright framing members 122 provide support for all of the adjustable chair elements and the occupant and permit movement of the elements about pivot points 126 which are the points of attachment for the chair elements to the upright members 122.

As was described for the preferred embodiment, the adjustable chair 112 of the wheel chair is mounted on the base frame 110 between the above-mentioned upright framing members 122. Leg portion members 134 connect the adjustable chair components to the upright framing members 122 through the pivotal connections 126. The connections 126 may be in the form of bolts or similar devices which pass through the adjoining framing members 134 and 122 so as to permit a swinging movement of the members 134 about the axes determined by the bolts. The upright linking members 134 are connected to linking arms 136, which may be adjustable in length as in FIG- URE l, and to a seat element 138 of the chair so as to form a parallelogram linkage with the backrest element 140 of the wheel chair. This parallelogram linkage can be fully appreciated from the series of views shown in FIGURE 8, and it can be seen that any force applied to one of the linking members will cause the remaining members to follow and to move the adjustable elements associated with them. The seat element 138 of the chair is pivotally connected at its forward edge at 142 to the linking members 134. The rearward portion of the seat element 138 is pivotally connected to the framing members which make up the backrest 140, and this pivotal connection is shown at 144. The connect-ion of the backrest to the seat may be adjustable, as described for the FIG- URE 1 embodiment. The armrest linking members are pivotally connected at 146 to the upper ends of the linking members 134 and also to the backrest element at the pivotal connections 148. Thus, all of the elements which.

make up the adjustable chair assembly can be moved relative to one another by an application of force to one part of the parallelogram structure. The frame of the backrest 140 includes an extension 150 which serves as a head support for a sitting or lying occupant of the adjustable chair, and the headrest portion 150 is secured to the backrest 140 so as to remain coextensive with the backrest for all adjustable positions of the chair. A footrest 152 is secured to the lower ends of the linking members 134 so as to remain coextensive with the longitudinal axes of those members for all adjustments of the chair. The footrest 152 is adjustably mounted so that it can be raised and lowered by removing the bolt means 154 and placing them at a desired level in receiving holes 156.

Two hydraulic jacks or other lifting means are associated with the structure just described for applying adjustment movements to the elements of the wheel chair. A first hydraulic jack 158 is interconnected between a mounting bracket 160 carried by the members 134 and to a portion of the seat bottom 138. In the FIGURE 6 construction, a cross bar 162 secures the lower end of the hydraulic jack 158 to the mounting bracket 160 and a second cross bar 164 carried between the framing elements of the seat element 138 supports the upper connection of a connecting arm 166 carried by the hydraulic cylinder 158.

Looking to the sequence of positions illustrated in FIG- URE 8, it can be seen that applying an extending movement to the arm 166 relative to the cylinder of the hydraulic jack 158 will increase the distance between the mounting points on the cross bars 162 and 164. When the wheel chair components are in a sitting configuration as illustrated in FIGURE So, an extension of the hydraulic jack means will cause a relative movement of the chair elements as shown in FIGURES 8a and 8c. Continued extension of the jack 158 causes the chair elements to assume coextensive planar positions relative to one another so as to form a flat bed configuration as shown in FIG- URE 80.

A second hydraulic jack means 170 is carried by the wheel chair to tilt the seat portion 138 relative to the. upright framing members 122. The second hydraulic jack means 170 is interconnected between a portion of the base frame 110 and a forward edge of the seat 138 so that extension and retraction movements of an arm 172 from t the jack 170 will move the forward edge of the seat 138 relative to the base 110. In the position shown in FIGURE extending movement of the arm 172 from the jack 170 will tilt the wheel chair elements in a counterclockwise direction, as viewed in FIGURES, and such a movement is used to return the assembly to a horizontal position from an upright position.

The wheel chair construction includes hand support elements 174 which are mounted at upper ends of the linking members 134. The hand support elements are mounted to normally rest at right angles to the upright linking elements 134, as shown in FIGURE 6, and these elements serve as a support for a patient who is being lifted into or out of the chair or placed in a changed position by one of the several movements of the chair elements. The hand support elements 174 normally remain in their rightangular positions to the linking members 134 for all movement of the wheel chair assembly. Thus, when the wheel chair is positioned in a horizontal plane for use as a bed, as seen in FIGURE 80, the hand elements 174 project upwardly above the horizontal plane of the wheel chair elements. However, this invention provides for an adjustment of the hand rest elements so that they may be swung out of the vertical position shown in FIGURE 80. In this manner the hand rest elements can be tilted into the horizontal plane of the chair elements and they will be out of the way of a patient who is being moved from the fiat bed of the wheel chair to an adjoining table or bed. The adjustment of the hand elements may be accomplished in any suitable way, such as by providing fasteners or nut devices which can be manually released to allow the elements to swing about their bolted axes at 146.

The wheel chair device also includes an actuating system for extending and retracting the jacks 158 and 170. The actuating system includes control lever arms 176 which move valving devices in the control boxes 178 for directing the flow of hydraulic fluid to and from the jacks 158 and 170. The operation of the control levers and the associated valves is entirely conventional, and the particular construction of the hydraulic actuating system forms no part of the present invention. The hydraulic system also includes an electric pumping means 180, and conduits are interconnected between a supply of hydraulic fluid and to the cylinders of the jacks 158 and 170 so as to apply hydraulic pressure to piston elements contained within the jacks. Although the invention is illustrated with a hydraulic system for actuating the chair elements, it is also contemplated that any suitable mechanical equivalent may be used for adjusting the chair elements relative to one another and to the base 110 of the wheel chair. Also, battery operated devices may be used, as was described for FIGURE 1.

The wheel chairs of either embodiment may include hand grips 182 for manually pushing and steering the chair, and a hand braking lever of a conventional design is provided, but not shown, for clarity. The wheel chairs may also include motor means, for propelling the chair, together with any other devices or systems which are normally used in combination with a wheel chair structure. In the FIGURE 1 embodiment (and as seen in FIGURE 2) the chair seat may also include a door 90 which can be removed for opening a passage through the seat. Attachment guides (not shown) may be provided on the bottom surface of the seat for receiving and holding a bed pan in position when the chair elements are in a normal sitting configuration. In this way, the door 90 may be removed, and a bed pan can be inserted below the seat for the use of a patient, as necessary.

Having described the constructional features of the present invention, it can be seen that the improved wheel chair device provides for a variety of movements and combinations of movements which were not available in prior constructions. The wheel chair may be used as an exercising device to bring a seated patient into a number of intermediate positions and up to a standing position, and the chair may be used as a bed for moving a patient in a horizontal position from one place to another. A patient can be moved into any of the variety of positions with little effort on the part of attendants and with no effort on the part of the patient. Suitable straps or belts may be also applied to the chair for holding the patient against the various chair elements so as to prevent him from falling or shifting while the chair is being adjusted to a new position. The control lever arms are readily available to the patient for his own use, or they can be actuated by an attendant standing near the chair.

Although the invention has been described with reference to preferred embodiments, variations will become obvious to those skilled in the art and such variations are intended to be included within the scope of this invention.

What is claimed is:

1. A wheel chair for supporting a patient in a variety of positions comprising:

a base frame, including hollow frame members on opposite sides thereof, for supporting adjustable chair elements, said frame including wheel means for rolling the wheel chair along a floor,

adjustable chair elements pivotally connected to each other and to said base frame on horizontal axes, said chair elements being interconnected for adjustment from a sitting configuration, said chair elements being connected to said base frame at upper terminal ends of upright framing members associated with said base frame so that no portion of the base frame protrudes above upper surfaces of the chair elements when the chair elements are in horizontal co-planar positions, to a planar configuration,

a first actuating means connected between said adjustable chair elements for moving said elements relative to one another so as to change the configuration of the assembled elements, and

a second actuating means connected between said base frame and one of said adjustable chair elements for tilting said elements about a horizontal axis relative to said base frame while maintaining a configuration in said adjustable chair elements as set by said first actuating means, said second actuating means including push rod means extending through said hollow framing members, said hollow framing members being offset from said horizontal axis of rotation, each of said push rod means having a bearing surface at its upper terminal end for slidably contacting a portion of one of said chair elements so that movement of said push rod means back and forth through said hollow framing members will tilt the chair elements of the chair assembly about the horizontal axis of rotation.

2. The wheel chair of claim 1 wherein said second actuating means includes a rack and pinion means connected to said push rod means for operating the push rod means through said hollow framing members of said base frame.

3. The wheel chair of claim 1 wherein said adjustable chair elements include:

a seat bottom,

a seat back which is pivot-ally connected at its bottom edge to a back edge of said seat bottom whereby said seat back may swing at varying angles relative to said seat bottom,

linking members pivotally connected at a forward edge of said seat bottom and having lower ends for carrying a footrest portion and upper ends for connection to arm members of said chair, said linking members being pivotally connected to upright frame members of said wheel chair base, and

arm members pivotally connected between said seat back and the upper ends of said linking members so as to form a parallelogram linkage between said seat bottom, said seat back, said linking members, and said arm members, whereby movement of one of the elements of said parallelogram linkage will move the remaining elements of said linkage.

4. The wheel chair of claim 3 wherein said seat back includes means for connecting the seat back to said seat bottom through a range of pivotal positions relative to said seat bottom, whereby the depth of the seat may be adjusted to fit an occupant of the wheel chair.

5. The wheel chair of claim 3 and including hand rest elements adjustably connected to upper ends of said linking members for providing a support for a patient being moved from one configuration to another during adjustment of said wheel chair elements, said hand rest elements being adjustable to be tilted out of a vertical plane when 11 said chair elements are adjusted to a horizontally disposed bed configuration.

6. The wheel chair of claim 3 and including an adjustable footrest means connected to said linking members for movement therewith, said footrest being adjustable to provide support for the feet of an occupant of said wheel chair.

7. The wheel chair of claim 3 and including a first adjustable strap means affixed to said seat back for retaining the upper body of a patient against the seat back, 10

and a second adjustable strap means aflixed around said linking members for retaining the legs of a patient against a portion of said wheel chair.

8. The wheel chair of claim 3 wherein said arm members are longitudinally adjustable.

9. The wheel chair of claim 2 wherein said push rod means include bearing surfaces at their upper terminal BENJAMIN HERSH,

1'2 ends for being received into frame means associated with one of the adjustable chair elements, said upper ends of said push rod means being slidable within said frame means when the push rods are being operated to tilt the chair assembly about a horizontal axis.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 521,463 6/1894 Smith-Fraser 280-242 2,427,405 9/1947 Heaton 155106 2,932,038 4/1960 Sprague 562 3,095,235 6/1963 Babcock et al. 297-68 3,261,031 7/1966 Gates 586 Primary Examiner.

I. E. SIEGEL, Assistant Examiner.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification280/657, 297/DIG.100, 297/330, 5/86.1
International ClassificationA61G5/14, A61G5/00, A61G5/12
Cooperative ClassificationA61G2200/36, A61G5/006, A61G5/14, A61G2005/128, Y10S297/10
European ClassificationA61G5/00C, A61G5/14