US 3391830 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 9, 1968 E. A. KITCHENS 3,391,830
B EDSIDE LIQUID STORAGE AND DISPENSING APPARATUS Filed March 3, 1967 INVENTOR.
EVELYN A. Kl TCHENS Zia J 24A United States Patent 01 iice Patented .Fuly 9, 1968 3,391,830 BEDSIDE LIQUID STORAGE AND DISFENSING APPARATUS Evelyn Kitchens, 923 Hill Ave., Pittsburgh, Pa. 15221 Filed Mar. 3, 1967, Ser. No. 620,541 13 Claims. (Cl. 222-132) ABSTRACT OF THE DISIILOSURE The device or apparatus of the invention employs a box-like vessel or primary container having a form-fitting removable top cover or lid. The primary container is designed to be placed on a bedside table or fastened to the frame or headboard portion of a bed, and its compartment or chamber is adapted to carry one or more cups or secondary containers in upright positions therein. The lid has projecting portions that interfit with upper open end portions of the cups to close them off with respect to the chamber and to securely position them in a spacedapart relation therewithin. Bottom walls of the cups and of the container have complementary offset portions to guidably position the cups in an upright position within the chamber. Liquid dispensing hose and mouthpiece parts are employed by a patient to withdraw liquid from the cups through the lid to a convenient location. Temperature conditioning means is adapted to be carried in the chamber to heat or cool the liquid contents of the cup to a suitable temperature.
This invention relates generally to a device or apparatus for storing liquid which has means to dispense the liquid therefrom. The invention more particularly pertains to a compact unit for storing drinking water, milk, or fruit juice, in order that a bedridden patient who is too ill or weak to handle a drinking glass in a normal manner may withdraw liquid as needed without the aid of a nurse or attendant. The invention is particularly intended to enable a simplified and dependable means of maintaining a record of the amount of liquid consumed by a patient during a given period.
In accordance with the illustrated embodiment, cups or secondary containers are carried within the housing or primary container in a spaced-apart relation, in order that cooling or heating means may be placed within the compartment or chamber of the primary container to condition liquid being carried by the cups. Special features of the invention include the provision of a unique mouthpiece arrangement that acts as a mouth-actuated valve to permit liquid to be dispensed from a dispensing hose in accordance with the patients requirements, and provision of a graduated scale imprinted to extend vertically, either on the side surface of each liquid container or cup or on the transparent side wall of the primary container, in order that the amount of the liquid in each can be quickly visually ascertained.
In recent years, overcrowing of patients into the nations hospital facilities has become a tremendous ,problem. This problem is compounded by the acute shortage of trained nursing personnel 01- nurses aides. Whereas, in past years, it was possible for a nurse to attend to both medical requirements and frequent personal requests of patients under her care, it is now a constant challenge for a nurse to efficiently fulfill the basic requisites of her duties. Therefore, any means by which a nurse can save time or reduce the steps required to do a particular job is not only desirable but essential, and thi invention is intended to save the nurse appreciable time and steps.
In the hospital or nursing home it is part of the daily routine to refill bedside pitchers in order that each patient will have water on hand as required. In the case of a critical patient who may be confined to an oxygen tent or be otherwise physically incapable of reaching a bedside table and serving himself, or whose condition makes it inadvisable that he attempt to serve himself, it is necessary for a nurse or nurses aide to be available to respond each time the patient calls. The nurse then must either serve him water by holding a glass in position so he can draw the water therefrom by means of a straw, or she must obtain milk or fruit juice from a refrigerator and repat the aforementioned procedure. Although this procedure is desirable in those instances where it is necessary to maintain a record of liquid intake of the patient, it is a procedure deplored in all instances by its extensive consumption of time. Quite often a critical patient will be only able to partake of liquid in small portions, requiring periods of rest between sips and thus necessitating more frequent trips by the nurse. A nurse on night duty, who may be responsible for the care of a ward occupied by as many as a dozen or more patients, may find herself bound in a continuous routine throughout the night, although only a few of her patients are in a critical condition.
It has thus been a primary objective of my invention to devise a self-service unit, device or apparatus for dispensing liquid to a hospital patient to thereby release the nurse for more important duties;
It has also been an object of my invention to devise a bedside liquid storage and dispensing unit, device or apparatus which may be easily operated by a relatively weak person who is incapable of reaching out from his bed to serve himself from a bedside table;
It has been a further object of my invention to provide apparatus that will conveniently store, cool or heat liquid at a bedside location;
It has also been an object of my invention to devise, in combination with bedside liquid storage dispensing apparatus, means for more accurately measuring the total liquid intake of a patient for a given time so that a reliable record of a patients liquid intake may be maintained without the need for a nurse to be on hand;
And, it has been a still further object of my invention to provide bedside liquid storage and dispensing apparatus which may be inexpensively manufactured and produced, and that may be disposable, if desired.
In the drawings, FIGURE 1 is a plan view of a major portion of a preferred embodiment of the unit, device or apparatus of my invention;
FIGURE 2 is a side elevation in vertical section taken along line 22 of and on the same scale as FIGURE 1 to show the internal appearance of the illustrated embodiment of my invention;
FIGURE 3 is taken along line 33 of FIGURE 1 and is an end view in vertical section; in this view, a support box is illustrated;
FIGURE 4 is a side view in partial section on an enlarged scale illustrating a special stemlike mouthpiece with a mouth-actuated normally-closed valve part that constitutes an unique feature of my invention; in this view the mouthpiece is shown connected to a hose;
FIGURE 5 is a side view on the scale of and taken from the left side of the mouthpiece shown in FIGURE 4;
FIGURE 6 is a front end view on the scale of FIG- URES 4 and 5 and showing the mouthpiece of FIGURE 4 in a closed position;
FIGURE 7 is a front end view similar to FIGURE 6, except that it shows the valve part of the mouthpiece in an open position to permit liquid to fiow therethrough;
FIGURE 8 is a reduced end view of a hospital bed, looking toward a foot of the bed, and showing representative alternate positions at which apparatus of my a 3 invention may be positioned for use by a patient in the bed;
And, FIGURE 9 is a top plan view on the scale of FIGURE 1 illustrating a simplified embodiment of my invention.
As shown in FIGURES 1 and 2, the device or apparatus of the preferred embodiment of my invention has a rectangular box-like vessel, housing or primary container 12 defining, in cooperation with a removable, form-fitting lid 14, an inner chamber 17 containing therein a plurality of cups or secondary containers 16 for holding liquids, such as water, milk or fruit juice. Liquid placed within the cups 16 may be cooled by means of a coolant, such as crushed ice deposited in a space provided about side walls of the cups 16 that are carried within the chamber 17.
The housing 12 may be positioned, as shown in FIG- URE 8, by placing it on the top surface of a bedside table T, by attaching it to a top edge of the beds headboard H, or by attaching it to a side rail member R of the bedframe.
Means to dispense liquid from any one of the cups 16 employs a semi-rigid tube 20 of angular shape, shown in FIGURE 2, which leads outwardly from within a cup 16 to a somewhat flexible dispensing hose 22. The dispensing hose 22 extends from the semi-rigid tube 20 and carries a slender mouthpiece part 24 (see FIGURE 4) that may be manipulated by the patient as will be hereinafter described;
With reference to the embodiment of my invention as shown in FIGURES l, 2, and 3, the container 12 has a substantially elongated configuration, being in the form of a substantially deep tray, and having a substantially planar enclosing base or bottom wall 12a. A side wall 12b extends upwardly and terminates in a continuous peripheral upper edge or lip portion 12d that defines an open mouth or top. The container 12 is preferably formed from a rigid plastic material which may be transparent for a purpose to be hereinafter described. The size of the container 12 will be in accordance with the size and number of spaced-apart cups 16 to be carried therein.
The cups 16, as shown in FIGURE 2, are preferably formed from an inexpensive transparent plastic material, in order that the level of liquid contained in each cup may be ascertained when viewed from a side position. The bottom wall of each cup 16 is shown provided with a centrally-upwardly curved or offset aligning portion 16a that is recessed or concave from its underside to cooperatively engage a complementarily-formed mound-like or convex offset or projection 120 that juts upwardly as part of the bottom wall 12a of the container 12. Guided, aligning engagement between the offset bottom wall 161: of each cup 16 and the complementary offset, convex, moundlike, thickened, bottom wall projection 12c of the container 12 enables a rapid, accurate and proper spacedapart positioning of the cups 16 within the chamber 17 of the housing 12.
The form-fitting lid 14 may be formed from a resin or plastic material and should be of somewhat semirigid, resilient construction, such that it can be pressure-held in place over lips 12d of the open top portion of the container 12 and can be employed to cooperate with the offset bottom portions 12c and 16a to securely position the cups 16 within the chamber 17 of the container 12. The lid 14 is provided with a peripheral flange 14a that extends downwardly at an angle normal thereto. The flange 14a has the characteristic of resiliency such that when the lid 14 is secured over the open top of the container 12, the flange 14a tends to press inwardly against the outer surface of the housing side wall 12b on a line adjacent the peripheral lip 12d and thus assure that the lid 14 seals off the chamber from the atmosphere and will be resistant to accidental removal.
The underface of the lid 14 is provided with a group of spaced-apart, thickened, cup-aligning and receiving, closure and mounting projections 14b, each of which has 4 an inwardly tapered or frusto-conical converging, circumferential edge 14d to fit within and guide the lid with a wedging action into a proper aligning and holding position with respect to upper, open-mouth portions of the cups 16. Each lid projection 14b has a central opening or hole 140 therethrough to enable the insertion of the rigid hollow tube 20 to Withdraw liquid from the cups 16. It will be noted that underface projections 14b of the closure portions of the lid 14, in cooperation with the mound-like projections or offsets in the floor portion 12a of the housing 12, serve to maintain the cups 16 in a secure, upright and desired spaced-apart relation within the chamber 17. By providing the open top end of each cup 16 with an inside diameter slightly greater than the diameter of the circular projection 14b, as taken at a point where the tapered edge 14d originates, a resilient liquid and atmospheric seal or wedge fit is provided between the lid aud the cup 16. Thus, liquid contained within each cup 16 cannot be inadvertently spilled into the storage chamber 17.
The container 12, the lid 14, and the cups 16 may be inexpensively produced so as to be disposable. This will enable a new unit, apparatus or device to be utilized for each patient and thereby obviate the need for cleaning or sterilizing the various parts. In conjunction with the provision of an inexpensive disposable housing 12, such as of resin material, a support box, case or mount 18, as shown in FIGURE 3, may be provided to receive the housing 12 in a slid-in fitted relation therein. The case 18 may be of any suitable material including metal and has a pair of finger-like side brackets 18a that extend in a spaced apart relation from its back wall to enable clamping attachment of the case 18 to the headboard portion or side rail frame member of a bed. Although it is understood that each finger-like bracket 18a may be of a biasing spring construction, it is preferred that a retractable thumbscrew 18b be threadably-carried in a hole through the outer end of the bracket 18a to enable a firm attachment of the apparatus to the bed and thereby eliminate the possibility of accidental dislodgment.
Although a means of dispensing liquid from a cup 16 may simply employ a dispensing hose, such as flexible hose 22, having an intake end inserted through an opening in the lid 14, it is preferred that a substantially rigid angleshaped outlet feed tube 20, as shown in FIGURE 2, be utilized with the hose 22. The feed tube 20 enables rapid changeover from an empty cup 16 to an adjacent full cup 16. A substantially secure, resilient, press-fit may be established between the tube 20 and each opening 140 and thus, eliminate the possibility of accidental withdrawal of the tube 20 from its installed position. The hose 22 may be of an inexpensive flexible material, such as a length of flexible polyethylene, and may be provided in a continuous roll to be cut to length as desired.
A salient feature of the invention is a special mouthpiece 24, shown in FIGURES 4 through 7, that is utilized at the outer or dispensing end of the hose 22. As shown in FIGURE 4, the mouthpiece 24 which may be constructed of a resilient rubber-like material, such as medium density polyethylene or another resin, is of an integrated or one-piece construction. It has a back end tubular connector orcollar portion 24a, an intermediate body portion 24b, and a fore end mouth or valve portion 24d. The valve part 24d is in the form of a solid resilient block and is preferably shaped as shown in FIGURE 6. A laterally-elongated normally-closed slit 24e extends from the front surface and through the valve part 24d. The slit Me is elongated in order that opposite ends are oriented toward a pair of oppositely-disposed substantially broad, planar side surfaces 24 and 24f of the valve part 24d. Lateral-inward pressure applied simultaneously against the surfaces 24 and 24 by means of the teeth or lips of a patient, will cause the valve part 24d to temporarily deform and thereby cause normally-closed slit 24c to deform as an opening in a configuration shown in FIGURE 7.
The intermediate valve body portion 24b extends from the back surface of the valve part 24d and tapers backwardly-inwardly to the back end collar portion 24a. A longitudinal bore 24c extends through the rear end collar portion 24a and thence, through the intermediate body portion 24b to carry liquid from the dispensing hose 22 and to the valve part 240'. The back end collar portion 24a may have an outside diameter such that the end of the dispensing hose 22 can be forced thereover to provide a tight liquid flow connection. Also, as shown in FIGURE 4, a rigid connector tube 26 may be utilized to join the back end portion 24a to the end of the dispensing hose 22.
The mouthpiece 24 is designed to be utilized cooperatively with the elements of the apparatus heretofore described to dispense liquid from the apparatus in a siphoning action. Thus, to utilize the mouthpiece 24, the container 12 in which the cups 16 are carried may be mounted, with the cups 16 and lid 14 installed, as shown in FIGURE 2, in a position above the level of the p atie'nts head. This can, for example, be accomplished, as shown by dot and dash lines in FIGURE 8, by mounting the apparatus on the headboard H of the bed B. With the feed tubing 20 in its installed position of FIGURE 2, wherein its inner end extends towards the bottom of a liquid-containing cup 16, an end of the dispensing hose 22 may be squeezed over the outer end of the tube 26 to form a tight liquid fiow connection therewith. The outer end of the hose 22 is then connected in a sealed relation to the mouthpiece 24. Then, the hose 22 with the mouthpiece 24 afiixed thereto is extended to the vicinity of the patients head. A piece of adhesive tape and a safety pin may be utilized, if desired, at a point along the length of the hose 22 as a means for fastening the hose to a pillow or sheet, so the mouthpiece 24 is always within easy reach of the patient.
To prepare or prime the apparatus for dispensing liquid therefrom by means of a siphoning action, the patient simply places the fore end or valve portion 24d of the mouthpiece 24 in his mouth and closes his teeth or lips thereagainst to apply equal pressure against the surfaces 24f and 24 of the valve portion 24d. This action causes normally resiliently-closed slit 24:: to assume the the shape of an open passageway in communication with the longitudinal bore 240 that extends rearwardly therefrom and communicates with the hose 22. With the slit 24 thus opened, the patient may then apply a drawing or sucking action to the mouthpiece, as when drinking through a straw, thereby causing liquid to move from the cup 16 outwardly through the tube 20 to the hose 22 and thence through the mouthpiece 24. After liquid from the dispensing hose has passed through the mouthpiece 24 and through the opening in the temporarily deformed valve portion 24d, opposed pressure against the surfaces 24 and 24f may be removed to allow the opening to resiliently close and reform the slit 242.
The above riming action serves to fill the hose 22 and the bore 240 of the mouthpiece 24 with liquid. Thus, subsequent use of the mouthpiece 24 to obtain sips of liquid from the apparatus does not require any further sucking action, inasmuch as the volume of liquid contained in the cup 16 and extending through the hose 22 and mouthpiece 24 will, by tending to seek a uniform level, freely fiow from the mouthpiece 24 each time the (resilient pressure-sealed) slit 242 is thereafter deformed to assume the shape of an opening. To facilitate the use of the mouthpiece 24 and the siphoning action in accordance therewith, a small aperture in the form of a pinhole 142 may be provided adjacent each opening 14c in the lid 14 (see FIGURE 2). Provision of the hole 14e enables atmospheric pressure to be continuously exerted against the surface of the liquid in each cup 16.
An alternate methhod of utilizing the apparatus of this invention involves positioning the housing or container 12 below the level of the patients head, as may be accomplished by placing the container on a low table or by fastening it to the side rail R of the bed. With the apparatus thus mounted, liquid may be dispensed by the provision of a mouthpiece (not shown) having a passageway that is fully open along its length through its front end. Such an alternate mouthpiece may be provided by substituting a substantially circular normally-open hole for the lip-sealing slit 24s in the valve part 24d. The mouthpiece, thus modified, may be used by the patient in the manner of a drinking straw to draw liquid from a cup 16 each time a drink is desired.
A further important feature of the device of the invention is the provision of means to gauge or visually ascertain the quantity of liquid dispensed from each cup 16 within the housing 12. Thus, a record of a patients intake over a given period of time may be maintained. One means of accomplishing this purpose is shown in FIGURE 2; each cup 16 may be provided with a vertically-graduated scale S having spaced-apart, horizontally-disposed lines. If desired, the imprinted markings or lines of the graduated scale S may extend continuously around the entire circumference of the cup 16. Provision of the container 12 with a transparent side wall 12b will enable visual ascertainment of the level of liquid within each cup 16 and of the level or condition of a cooling medium, such as ice, or of a heating medium, such as heated metal or stone elements in a liquid, carried within the chamber 17. It is further contemplated as an alternative (not shown) that the scale shown on the side surface of the cup 16 may be imprinted directly on the outer side w l surface of transparent housing 12.
As shown in FIGURE 9, a comparatively simple and inexpensive single-cup embodiment of the invention may be constructed primarily for the purpose of permitting hospital personnel to maintain an accurate record of a patients water consumption. Such a unit may be employed during the critical period of a patients recuperation. In FIGURE 9, parts or portions of the apparatus or device are designated by prime sufiixes to distinguish from corresponding or similar parts or portions of the multi-apparatus or device of FIGURES 1 to 3. The device of FIGURES l to 3 may be employed to provide a single patient with a selection of liquids or each of several patients in one room or ward with liquid by making use of a group of tubular dispensing means, or may be employed to provide one patient with a long lasting supply of liquid. The liquid carried by the cup or cups may be maintained at a suitable temperature by means positioned within the chamber in the spacing between the inside of the container and the outside of the cup or cups.
It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications may be affected with reference to the illustrated apparatus without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as indicated by the appended claims.
1. A liquid dispensing device for a patient confined in bed which comprises, an open top container having bottom and side walls defining an inner chamber, a form fitting lid for closing off the open top of said container, at least one liquid-carrying cup adapted to be removablypositioned within said chamber, said cup having an open top portion and bottom and side walls, the bottom walls of said container and said cup having complementary offset portions for accurately aligning said cup in an upright position within said chamber in a spaced relation with respect to the side Wall of said container to provide for placing a temperature conditioning medium for said cup within the spacing, said lid having an inwardly projecting closure portion interfitting with the open top portion of said cup to close off its liquid content from said chamber and the outside of said container, and tubular liquid dispensing means adapted to extend through said lid into said cup for Withdrawing liquid carried by said cup.
2. A liquid dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein said closure portion of said lid is tapered to fit within the open top portion of said cup and is adapted to securely hold said cup in vertical alignment on said complementary ofiset portions.
3. A liquid dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein said tubular dispensing means comprises, a feed tube extending through said lid into said cup, a flexible hose connected at its back end to an outer end of said tube, and a mouthpiece connected to a forward end of said hose.
4. A liquid dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein, said tubular dispensing means has a mouthpiece at its forward end, and said mouthpiece has a valve part therein constructed to be opened for flow of liquid therethrough when said mouthpiece is inserted within the mouth of a patient.
5. A liquid dispensing device as defined in claim 4 wherein, said valve part is of resilient construction and has a slit therethrough that is normally closed by the resilience of said part, and said valve part has opposed pressure surfaces at opposite ends of the slit for moving the slit into an open position upon an application of inward pressure on said surfaces.
6. A liquid dispensing device as defined in claim 5 wherein a small air passageway is open through said lid to the inside of said cup, so that a gravity feed action may be employed in withdrawing liquid from said cup when the slit of said valve part is in its open position.
7. A liquid dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein, the side wall of said cup is substantially transparent, and a liquid level indicating scale extends along the side wall to indicate the liquid content of said cup.
8. A liquid dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein the side walls of said cup and said container are of substantially transparent material.
9. A liquid dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein said complementary offset portions are defined by a centrally-upwardly concave underside in the bottom wall of said cup and by an upwardly convex thickened portion in the bottom Wall of said container.
10. A liquid dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein, a mounting case is provided to receive said container therein, and said mounting case has clamping means for removably-securing it in position.
11. A liquid dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein, said closure portion is defined by a thickened wall portion of said lid, the side wall of said cup is substantially circular shape, and said closure portion is of frustoconical shape to extend within the open top of said cup in wedging engagement with the inside of the side wall of said cup.
12. A liquid dispensing device as defined in claim 1 wherein, a group of open top containers of the defined construction are provided, said container has a corresponding group of spaced-apart offset portions on its bottom wall and each of said cups has a complementary offset portion on its bottom wall for accurately aligning it in an upright position within said chamber and in a spaced relation with respect to the side wall of said container and with side walls of adjacent cups, said lid has a group of spaced-apart inwardly-projecting closure portions, one for each of said cups, that interfits within the open top portions of said cups to seal them off with respect to said chamber and close them off with respect to the outside of said container, and a group of tubular liquiddispensing means is provided, each of which extends through one of said closure portions of said lid into an associated one of said cups.
13. A liquid dispensing device as defined in claim 12 wherein, said lid is of resilient construction, a hole extends through each said closure portion of said lid in alignment with one of said cups, and a feed tube extends through each of said holes in a resiliently sealed off relation with respect thereto.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 327,124 7/1906 Speer 206 1,188,132 6/1916 Anderson 222 157 X 2,051,013 8/1936 Schulse 222 146 X 2,817,459 12/1957 Amigone 222146X 3,130,873 4/1964 Klutz 222 132 X 3,160,330 12/1964 Pollitt 222416 X 3,165,241 1/1965 Curry 222 490 3,178,061 4/1965 Giacalone et al. 222 146 X 3,295,715 1/1967 Pugh 220 90.2 X
ROBERT B. REEVES, Primary Examiner.
N. L. STACK, Assistant Examiner.