US 3398974 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Aug. 7, 1968 T. L. EDWARDS ETAL. 3,398,974
WALKER ATTACHMENT FOR WHEEL CHAIR Filed June 1, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 #Frl l INVENTORS THOMAS L. EDWARDS 8; BY RAYMOND S. KLEISMIT ATTORNEYS 1958 T. L.. EDWARDS ETAL 3,398,974
WALKER ATTACHMENT FOR WHEEL CHAIR Filed June 1, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 3,398,974 WALKER ATTACHMENT FOR WHEEL CHAIR Thomas L. Edwards, 4650 Winslow Court, Dayton, Ohio 45430, and Raymond S. Kleisrnit, Dayton, Ohio; said Kleismit assignor to said Edwards Filed June 1, 1%6, Ser. No. 554,461
7 Claims. (Cl. 28tl-289) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A walker attachment for a wheel chair which includes two side assemblies which pivot between a retracted position adjacent the side of the chair and an extended position wherein they cooperate to provide a walker in front of the chair. Wheels are provided on the front portion of the side assemblies, and brakes lock these wheels and the large chair wheels when downward pressure is applied to the side assemblies. Arm supports can be extended to engage the armpits of the patient to support him in a standing position with his hands free.
This invention relates to wheel chairs, and particularly to a walker attachment for use with a standard wheel chair.
Many different types of wheel chairs are manufactured throughout the world for use by older persons, by persons who are physically disabled, and by patients recuperating from illness of one type or another. Many of these wheel chairs have large rear wheels which can be used by the person sitting in the chair to propel the chair while the person sits therein. Frequently it is desirable for the patient to walk or exercise or to regain the strength lost from illness. For this purpose, a separate walker device is used and there normally is great difficulty in getting from the wheel chair to the walker device.
Accordingly, an important object of this invention is to provide a wheel chair having a walker attachment secured thereto which enables the patient to stand up and walk in front of the wheel chair.
Another object of this invention is to provide a walker attachment which is adapted for use with substantially all types of standard wheel chairs, and further to provide such a walker attachment which is easily converted from the walking position to a storage or retracted position so that the wheel chair operates in the usual manner without any substantial interference from the walker attachment. I
Another object of this invention is to provide a wheel chair-walker apparatus having a braking device on the walker attachment which applies brakes to the wheels of the apparatus when downward pressure is applied to the walker attachment thereby locking the apparatus in place as the patient takes a step but which automatically releases the brakes when the pressure is relieved. so that the apparatus will move with the patient.
Another object of this invention is to provide a walker attachment which can be easily mounted on a standard wheel chair and which is simple in design for low cost and dependable operation over long periods of time, and particularly to provide such an attachment which has adjustable supports which engage the armpits of the patient so that the hands of the patient can be freed for other uses.
Additional objects and advantagesof the invention will be apparent from the following description, the accompanying drawings and the appended claims.
In the drawings- FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of a patient sitting in a wheel chair with the walker attachment in its retracted position; I
States Patent O Patented Aug. 27, 1968 FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a patient standing in the walker attachment .shown in its operative position;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view similar to FIG. 2 and showing the supports engaging the patient in the armpits;
FIG. 4 is a perspective view showing the front of the wheel chair and walker attachment;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged elevation view partially in section showing the rear brake assembly;
FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken along the line 66 of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is an enlarged elevation view partially in section showing the shoulder arm support;
FIG. 8 is an enlarged sectional view of the front brake assembly; and
FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken along the line 99 of FIG. 8.
Referring to the drawings wherein a preferred embodiment of the invention is shown, FIG. 1 illustrates an invalid or medical patient 10 seated in the standard wheel chair 11. This wheel chair 11 comprises a seat 12 having a back rest 13 with the vertical tubes 14 on either side thereof and the handle members 15 on top thereof for pushing the chair 11. The vertical tubes 14 extend downwardly and support the large wheels 16 for rotation in a conventional manner. The forward portion of the seat 12 has the arm rests 18 thereon and the downwardly extending tubular members 20 support the smaller front wheels 22 on the fork assemblies 23 which are free to rotate about a vertical axis so that the direction of the wheel chair 11 can be easily changed.
A foot rest 25 is provided on each of the vertical members 20 and each includes a downwardly extending tubular support 26 having the flat plate 27 on the end thereof which receives one foot 28 of the invalid or patient 10. This plate can be pivoted upwardly and the entire assembly can be rotated on the vertical member 20 to a retracted position as shown in FIG. 2. While one embodiment of a wheel chair has been shown, it should be understood that other types of wheel chairs can -be used with the walker attachment 30 which is the subject of this invention.
The walker attachment 30 includes 'a pair of side assemblies 31 and 32 which are mounted on one of the vertical members 20. Each of the side assemblies 31 and 32 includes a pair of brackets 34 and 35 which are rigidly clamped near the top of the vertical members 20 adjacent the front of the wheel chair 11. These brackets thus can be secured to almost any standard wheel chair. These brackets extend outwardly and reawardly to support pivotally the main frame member 37 which extends vertically through the outer ends 38 to create the horizontal section 42 thereof. The main frame member 37 is then bent to form the handle section 43 for mounting the hand grips 44 in the horizontal portion thereof, and then the frame member is bent at 45 to create the vertical section 46 which supports the front wheel assemblies 47 including the caster wheels 48, as will be described.
A reinforcing tubular member 49 extends between the horizontal section 42 and the vertical section 46 of each side of the assemblies 43 and 44 and is curved as shown to provide additional rigidity to each of the side assemblies. The brackets 34 and 35 permit the entire side assemblies 31 and 32 to pivot about one end thereof so that each side assembly can be pivoted from the walking position shown in FIG. 2 to the retracted position shown in FIG. 1. The ends 38 of the brackets 34 and 35 are offset slightly so that the caster wheels 48 are spaced above the floor when the assemblies 31 and 32 are in retrated position whereas they engage the floor while in the forward position.
Each of the side assemblies 31 and 32 also includes an arm support 50 which includes a tubular member 51 secured on the inside of each of the vertical sections 46,
as shown in FIG. 4, with the extendable arm support 53 telescoped therein. This arm support slides internally within the support 50, as shown in FIG. 7, and it has a horizontal section 56 on the upper end thereof for engaging the armpits of the patient (FIG. 3) when in its raised position. In its lowered position, the horizontal section 56 is aligned with the handle section 43 and thus does not interfere with the use of the walker attachment 30. The arm supports 53 can pivot to allow the horizontal sections 56 to overlap and be secured together by the removable wing nut 58 as shown in FIG. 4. In this position, the arm supports 53 provide additional rigidity to the walker attachment, as well as a vertically adjustable support for the patients hands.
The arm supports are held in the raised position by the wing nuts 60 which threadedly engage the nuts 61 and pass through the tubular member 51 and into any one of a plurality of openings 62 in the extendable member, as shown in FIG. 7. In this manner, the actual height of the horizontal section 56 can be varied to accommodate the height of the patient.
A horizontal cross bar 65 releasably secures the front of the assemblies 31 and 32 together, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 4, so that the walker attachment 30 is rigid when in its walking position. This bar is pivotally attached to one of the assemblies 31, and its opposite end is connected to the other assembly 32 by the pin 68 on one of the tubular members 46 having an enlarged head 70 (FIG. 7) which is engaged by the keyhole slot 71 in the end of the cross bar 65. Thus the cross bar 65 can be easily detached and moved to a storage position as shown in FIG. 1.
Front and rear brake assemblies 73 are provided on each of the side assemblies 31 and 32 for braking the caster wheels 48 and the large rear wheel 16, respectively, when weight is applied to the handle grips 44. The rear brake assemblies 73 each include a horizontal brake member 76 having a tire engaging abutment 77 on one end thereof and being threaded into the plug 78 within the vertical sleeve 79 held in position by the brackets 34 and 35. The elongated slots 81 are provided in the sides of the tube sleeve 79 to allow the brake member 76 and the tube 83 on the end of main frame member 37 to move vertically against the bias of the spring 84 which is interposed between the disk 85 on the bottom of the sleeve 79 and the plug 78. Thus, when the weight forces the main frame downwardly, the brake member 76 moves with the tube 83 downwardly so that the abutment 77 engages the rubber tire or wheel 16 and looks it against rotation.
Each of the front brake assemblies 47 includes the conventional caster wheel 48 comprising a rubber tire mounted on the fork 91 which is supported and pivots with the vertical support pin 93. The support pin 93 is held in the plug member 94 which is secured within the lower end 95 of the vertical tube 46 by the cross pin 97 which also extends through the elongated slots 98 in the opposite sides of the tube 46. A coil spring 100 is mounted inside of the tube 46 between the plug member 94 and the upper cross pin 102 which extends through the tube 46 (FIG. 8). On the lower end of the tube 46 is rigidly secured the brake member 104 which comprises an annular disc 105 of phenolic or other plastic material secured to the support plate 106 by the conventional screws 108.
Accordingly, when downward pressure is applied to the handle grips 44 the tube 46 is forced downwardly against the bias of the spring 100 so that the lower end 95 of the tube slides downwardly with respect to the plug member 94 to enable the brake member 104 to engage the rubber tire 90 of the caster wheel 48 and lock it against movement. When this pressure is relieved the spring 100 forces the plug member 94 downwardly until the cross pin 97 engages the bottom of the slots 98 at which time the brake member 104 is spaced from the tire which is then free to rotate about its support pin 93 and about the vertical axle 110, in the conventional man- In operation, when the walker attachment is not in use it is pivoted about the outer ends 38 of the brackets 34 and 35 so that the side assemblies remain in their retracted position as shown in FIG. 1. In this position, the caster wheels 48' are spaced above the floor and there is substantially no interference with the use of the wheel chair in the conventional manner. Suitable means may be provided to hold releasably the side assemblies in this retracted position.
When it is desired to use the walker attachment 30 it is merely necessary to pivot the side assemblies 31 and 32 about the brackets 34 and 35 to a position in front of the wheel chair and then connect the cross bar 65 to interconnect the side assemblies and provide rigidity to the unit. The patient may then use the walker attachment to pull himself up to the standing position as shown in FIG. 3 wherein the handle grips 44 are use to support the patient in this standing position. The patient is free to walk forward and each time that the hands apply downward pressure to the side assemblies, for example, when a step is being taken, the front and rear brake assemblies 47 and 73 lock the wheels 48 and 16 against rotation in any direction. Thus, the wheel chair-walker unit 10 be comes a substantially immovable fixture by merely press ing downwardly on the side assemblies 31 and 32. When a patient releases the pressure on the side assemblies the brakes are automatically released thus allowing the unit 10 to be moved forward for the next step.
When the patient desires to free his hands for use in working or for some other reason, the arm supports 50 are raised so that the horizontal sections 56 thereof engage the patient in the armpits. As indicated above, these shoulder members are adjustable to accommodate different heights of patient. The patient can then walk in the manner described above with the arm supports 50 absorbing the downward pressure and transferring the same to the brake assemblies 47 and 73 which operate in the same manner as described above. Should the patient lose balance or become weakened, the increased pressure on the arm supports 50 would be transferred to the arm supports to lock the side assemblies 31 and 32 rigidly in position. The horizontal sections 56 can also be secured together as shown in FIG. 4 to add rigidity and provide additional support for the patient.
The invention has thus provided a walker attachment for use with a standard wheel chair which enables the patient to stand up and walk with ease. The walker attachment is easily moved to a retracted position wherein it provides substantially no interference with the normal use of the wheel chair, and it can be easily moved to the walking position by the patient. Both the front and rear wheels are locked in position when pressure is applied to the walker attachment to prevent the unit from moving during the time the patient is taking a step or is otherwise resting on the walker. In addition, adjustable supports are provided for engaging the armpits of the patient to free his hands for use or to provide additional support for the patient.
While the form of apparatus herein described constitutes a preferred embodiment of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to this precise form of apparatus, and that changes may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention which is defined in the appended claims.
1. A walker attachment adapted for use with a wheel chair which has front and back and two sides, said walker attachment comprising a pair of side assemblies mounted on the wheel chair near the front thereof and extending forwardly of the chair generally parallel to the sides thereof, means connecting the forward end of said assemblies together to provide rigidity thereto, wheel means supporting said forward end of said assemblies for movement across the floor, said means connecting the forward end of said assemblies together being manually disengageable and said side assemblies being pivotally supported on the wheel chair for movement to a retracted position spaced from in front of said chair.
2. A walker attachment as defined in claim 1 wherein each said side assembly includes a tubular main frame member having one end pivotally secured to the wheel chair, a horizontal section on each of said main frame members having hand grip means thereon, a forward vertical section connected to said horizontal section and having said wheel means secured to the lower end thereof, arm support means mounted on said vertical section and adapted to extend vertically from a retracted position to a raised position for engaging a patients armpits to support the patient in a standing position with hands free.
3. A walker attachment as defined in claim 2 wherein said arm support means has a horizontal upper section for engaging the armpits of the patient, and said horizontal upper section being aligned with said horizontal section of said main frame member when said arm support means is in said retracted position.
4. A walker attachment as defined in claim 1 wherein brake means are provided to lock said wheel means against rotation when downward pressure is applied to said side assemblies.
5. A walker attachment as defined in claim 1 wherein arm support means are provided on each of said side assemblies for engaging a patients armpits to support the patient in the walker ateaohment.
6. A walker attachment as defined in claim 1 wherein brake means are provided to lock at least two of the wheels on the wheel chair against rotation when downward pressure is applied to said side assemblies.
7. A walker attachment as defined in claim 1 wherein brake means simultaneously lock at least two of the wheels on the wheel chair and said wheel means when downward pressure is applied to said side assemblies, said brake means being automatically disengaged when the downward pressure is relieved from said side assemblies.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,459,066 1/1949 Duke 2975 2,556,121 6/1951 Thomas 280-289 2,596,055 5/1952 Thomas 280-289 2,732,004 1/1956 Forbes 27270.4 2,855,979 10/ 1958 Hubbard 280-289 X 2,862,544 12/ 1958 Lilja 272-70.3 3,237,940 3/1966 Johnson 27270.3 3,279,567 10/ 1966 Kempel 27Z70.3
KENNETH H. BETIS, Primary Examiner.