US 3456270 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 22, 1969 J. o. WEINSTEIN ETAL FLOTATION APPARATUS Filed Aug. 8, 1967 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 E DOWHER CLYDE EMEDDLEYCOTT W |LL|AM R MEDDLEYCOTT BY W ATTORNEY.
v J. n. WEINSTEIN ETAL 3,456,270
July 22, 1969 FLOTAT ION APPARATUS 5 Sheets-Sheet :3
Filed Aug. 8, 1967 y 1969 J. n. WEINSTEIN ETAL 3,456,270
FLOTATION APPARATUS 3 Sheets-Sheet :5
Filed Aug. 8, 1967 Tw SWR m 55mm NYE W SWEL AN L BD V D W EM H M sw m EEM M L AOLI. JRCW lllllllll llllll illlll lllll .I llllillu a ilrlllllll II II.-
\ KMN WK W044 ATTORNEY United States Patent 3,456,270 FLOTATION APPARATUS James D. Weinstein, Philadelphia, Robert B. Downer, Media, and Clyde E. Meddleycott, Churchville, Pa., and William R. Meddleycott, Willingboro, NJ.; said Downer, said Clyde E. Meddleycott, and said William R. Meddleycott assignors to Scott Paper Company, Delaware County, Pa., a corporation of Pennsylvania Filed Aug. 8, 1967, Ser. No. 659,126 Int. Cl. A47c 27/08; A61g 7/04; B60c 29/00 US. Cl. 348 13 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Therapeutic flotation apparatus comprising elastomeric foam body, liquid-containing bladder to fit cavity in foam body and floatably support patient, and air bladder secured to and located on liquid bladder. Air bladder contains plurality of transverse baflies sealed between upper and lower surfaces and extending in excess of one-half of bladder width. Float and bladder design provides uniform, yielding support for patient, and convenience of use.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention is directed to a patient flotation apparatus construction and to an air bladder device which is particularly useful in connection therewith.
In the treatment of immobilized patients such as paraplegics, quadriplegics, burn victims and persons having cerebral vascular disease, placement of any such patients on a conventional type of hospital mattress can easily result in the patients development of decubitus ulcers. These ulcers are painful, diflicult to treat and may take months or even years to heal. Decubitus ulcers develop as a result of necrosis, i.e. death of tissue, which is a consequence of lack of blood supply to that tissue. With an immobilized patient on a conventional mattress, the honey protuberances of the body at the heels, hips, base of spine and shoulders serve as points at which there is concentration of pressure of the patients body against the supporting mattress. Consequently, the tissue at these sites is compressed between the mattress and the bone, and blood supply is either substantially attenuated or completely cut off. If blood supply is cut off, necrosis commences, ultimately resulting in decubitus ulcers. Also, when a patinet moves or is moved in a bed, the patients skin surface may remain relatively immobile, such as can be caused by the friction between the skin and the bed cover. If this occurs the skin or under-layers of tissue are pulled laterally and therefore subjected to a shear force. This shear force may rupture the elastic elements of the tissues, including the blood vessels, in the area subjected to shear or may, by stretching, cause closure of the lumens of the vessels. As noted, the concomitant failure of blood supply to tissue caused by occluded lumens can cause infarction, i.e. death, of tissue. Furthermore, in the event that any tissue is damaged or traumatized such as may be inadvertently caused when moving the patient out of bed, the healing process requires greater than normal blood supply in order to occur properly. Again, diminution of blood supply because of closure of blood vessels due to pressure or shear forces can delay the healing of this tissue or facilitate the degeneration of a tissue bruise.
So-called water beds have been suggested to provide a uniform distribution of pressure throughout the support surface of a patients body and to prevent any shear effect due to patient movement. These water beds have required large volumes of water in cumbersome apparatus, have presented some danger of patient drowning, and
having generally been highly unacceptable to the medical profession. In co-pending patent application Ser. No. 488,202, filed Sept. 17, 1965, there is disclosed an improved patient flotation apparatus which includes a base element of polyurethane foam and a water-containing bladder which fits into a cavity in the upper surface of the foam element, and upon which a patient is floated, on a reduced thickness layer of water. The instant invention presents a number of improvements upon the apparatus of said patent application, which improvements contribute to the efficacy, economy, convenience, and safety of apparatus of this type.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Pursuant to this invention patient flotation assembly adapted to be used in a conventional hospital bed frame consists of a contoured foam body, a bladder adapted to receive water or other fluid having a specific gravity of one or more, and optional air bladder lift device. The foam body is conveniently a one-piece member of polyurethane foam, having a body-receiving cavity essentially comprised of three sections. These cavity sections are a small, elevated head-receiving shelf located slightly below the upper surface of the mattress, a trunk-receiving shelf slightly wider than the shoulders of an average person, and approximately the same length as the distance of an average person from buttocks to shoulders which is the lowest shelf of the cavity, and a foot-receiving shelf of intermediate height and substantially narrower than the trunk shelf. The bladder comprises two sheets of a flexible material which is impervious to water, sealed at the edges to define a liquid-receiving cavity. The dimensional relations of the top and bottom bladder surfaces are such that when the bladder is in place in the cavity of the foam body, the bladder can be filled with water to a level approximately two inches below the wall of the cavity, and the lower bladder surface will substantially conform to the outline of the cavity in the foam body. The upper surface of the bladder is provided with suflicient slack to enable the water to fully and floatably support a person reclining on the bladder without hammocking. Located peripherally at the sealed edges of the bladder are a plurality of spaced darts or gathers of material which conveniently provide an excess accumulation of material or additional slack of the upper bladder surface. The bladder seal terminates at the upper edge of the foam body along the sides and at the foot of the foam body and at the interior edge of the head-receiving shelf. The bladder has extended edges which are so formed to snugly conform to the contour of the mattress and is fastened to the bladder surface so that the bladder is held in place with its edges relatively fixed with respect to the mattress edges, and the mattress is completely enveloped by the bladder and associated structure which form a sealed enclosure.
The air bladder lift device is an elongated member comprising tow sheets of flexible material peripherally sealed to form a closed body and having a length of approximately two-thirds of the length of the body cavity. Located within the air bladder are a multiplicity of flexible transverse baflle members of a length of at least one-half of the width of the air bladder. Each baflie is joined along its upper and lower edges to the respective inner surfaces of the upper and lower bladder sheets, and is of such dimension and location that the upper surface of the air lift device, when inflated presents a large, substantially horizontal support surface.
Both the air and water bladders are provided with appropriate inlet and exhaust mechanisms for the respective introduction and drainage of air and water. As noted above, a number of the features of the instant water bladder and foam body construction are intended to prevent the phenomenon designated as hammocking. Hammocking occurs when a segment of the up per sheet of the water-bladder is placed in tension so that the patient is being supported by the tensioned portion of the surface at the area of contact underlying the patient, rather than being supported by the fluid, e.g. water, per se. When this happens the buoyant force of the water is no longer supporting the patient in the area Where hammocking occurs and the hammocking surface serves to localize and concentrate the applied pressure, functioning similarly to .a conventional mattress. Also, besides the increased pressure concentration with the concomitant problems of diminishing or completely occluding circulation as discussed supra, hammocking also presents a surface for the immobilization of part of the skin of the patient, so that shear forces can exist in the interior tissues of the patient upon slight movements of the patient, with the attendant stretching and diminishing of blood vessel lumen size. It is therefore important that hammocking be completely avoided, for the existence of hammocking is directly contradictory to the purpose of the patient flotation assembly. This is essentially accomplished in three ways. First, the bladder is so constructed that the seams of the bladder along the length of the foam body and at its foot lie at the upper inner edges of the foam body. This positioning is maintained by the bladder construction which envelops the foam body to prevent movement of the bladder edges down into the foam body cavity. Movement into that cavity would facilitate hammocking because the upper surface of the bladder would have to turn down along the edge of the cavity and would therefore tend to balloon, thereby causing hammocking. Secondly, the amount of material in the upper bladder is so controlled that when the bladder is filled with fluid to the proper level, i.e. to about two inches below the upper surface of the foam mattress when the bladder is filled, enough slack exists in the upper bladder to accommodate large patients and adapt to normal move ments by a patient on the bladder. Also, the bladder is so constructed that a plurality of darts are formed in the upper surface of the bladder at the bladder seal. These darts are gathers of material, and serve to provide a reserve of material for accommodating larger patients, extreme patient movements or the like, so as to prevent hammocking.
To facilitate handling of a patient on a patient flotation unit according to the instant invention, there is also provided a unique air bladder lift device, which is preferably normally fastened in the deflated condition to the upper surface of the bladder. The lift device can then conveniently be inflated to provide a temporary firm surface upon which the patient can be manipulated, and to elevate the patient above the edge of the foam body, thus facilitating removal of the patient from the assembly. In the uninflated state the sheets comprising the air bladder lie in a flaccid manner, so that the patient is floatably supported by the water bladder. The air bladder is constructed to be sufiiciently flaccid in the uninflated condition to prevent hammocking The lift device is provided with a multiplicity of transverse baflles formed of a flexible material and sealed between the upper and lower surfaces of the air lift device. Those baflles serve two essential purposes. When the air lift device is being inflated they prevent air from rushing to either end of the bladder to unduly expand an end of the bladder and possibly overturn the patient. Additionally, the baffles maintain a substantial planar upper surface of the bladder so that the part of the patients weight which is supported by the inflated air bladder is uniformly and evenly supported, without undue pressure concentrations with the attendant circulation diminution or blockage which can occur therefrom. This device is particularly important for use with the patient flotation assembly because the highly mobile liquid support medium would otherwise provide an unsteady surface upon which to support a patient for conventional nursing and examination procedures, and could conform to and cover body areas being examined or treated. Therefore, it will be appreciated that the air lift device is particularly important for use in the patient flotation assembly, and will preferably be fastened to the bladder of the assembly. By being fastened to the liquid bladder, the air bladder is stabilized and curling of a corner thereof upon slight patient movement, with attendant possible overturning of the patient, is thereby avoided.
It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an improved patient flotation assembly which will floatably support a human being to provide uniform pressure distribution over that portion of the persons body being supported, and to prevent excessive shear forces due to movement of the patient thereof, from existing in the patients subsurface tissues for any. protracted period of time.
It is another object of this invention to provide an improved patient flotation assembly construction so designed as to prevent hammocking and the undue concentration of pressure and prolonged existence of shear forces within the patients tissue upon patient movement, attendant to the hammocking condition.
It is another object of this invention to provide a patient flotation unit and air lift combination which facilitates convenient and safe patient handling upon the same.
A concomitant object of this invention is to provide an air bladder construction having transverse spaced baffles to allow the bladder to inflate substantially uniformly and to provide a substantially planar surface upon complete inflation of the bladder.
These and other objects of this invention will be appreciated when the following detailed description of the invention is read, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like reference numerals represent like parts.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIGURE 1 is a perspective view of a patient flotation assembly in accordance with this invention, in which the liquid bladder is filled for use by a patient. and the air bladder is inflated for use.
FIGURE 2 is a perspective view of a patient flotation unit construction in accordance with this invention, similar to FIGURE 1, without an air bladder secured to the liquid bladder and with the liquid bladder empty and connected to a source of water for filling.
FIGURE 3 is a top plan view of the foam body, as used in the embodiments of FIGURES 1 and 2, in accordance with this invention.
FIGURE 4 is an enlarged fragmentary view of the lefthand head section of the assembly of FIGURE 2, showing the seal and dart construction.
FIGURE 5 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 5-5 of FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 6 isa cross-sectional view taken along the line 6-6 of FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 7 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 7-7 of FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 8 is a cross-sectional view taken along line 8-8 of FIGURE 1.
FIGURE 9 is a diagrammatic representation, in longitudinal cross-section, of a patient floatably supported upon the patient flotation unit of this invention.
Referring to FIGURE 1 of the drawings, there is illustrated a conventional hospital bed 10 comprising a bed frame and spring (not shown), on which is located the patient flotation assembly of this invention. The patient flotation assembly comprises an elongated block 20 of elastomeric foam (best illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 5 to 8) Which is covered with a liquid bladder assembly 30 comprising a sealed liquid container section or bladder 3g adapted to be filled with a liquid having a specific gravity of 1 or greater, such as water, and enveloping cover sections 34, 56, 57 and 62 adapted to completely cover the sides, edges and bottom of the foam body 20. An air bladder 80 is located upon the liquid bladder 32, occupying approximately of the length thereof, and is adapted to extend from about the head to the buttocks of a patient located on the flotation unit.
Referring to FIGURES 3 and 5 through 8, the foam body 20 is seen to comprise a unitary member, which is preferably a cast member of ether-type polyurethane foam. Although the ether-type polyurethane foams are preferred from the standpoint of their low weight, economy and manufacturing convenience, other foamed elastomeric materials may be used, such as latex foams, ester-type polyurethane foams and vinyl foams. The foam body 20 defines a body cavity 36 which is adapted to contain a human body resting upon a liquid bladder located therein. The foam body itself is preferably approximately one foot thick and the cavity 36 at its lowest point, i.e. the torso shelf 38, is about ten inches deep. That is to say, the thickness of foam beneath shelf 38 is approximately two inches thick. A head shelf 40 is located at the head end of the foam cavity 36 and is approximately four inches deep. The leg shelf 42 is approximately five inches deep and is somewhat narrower than the torso shelf 38. The inner longitudinal walls 44 and 46 of the body cavity 36 are inclined at an angle of about fifty degrees from the respective head, torso and foot shelves up to the upper surface 48 of the foam body. The walls at the head and foot of body cavity 36 are substantially vertical but are connected to the respective head and foot shelves by arcuate sections. A channel 50 extends from the head shelf 40 through the foam body to the outer wall of the foam body and functions to permit drainage from the head shelf of any fluid which might accumulate there in the event of a leak in the bladder. This is desirable, since some patients may not be able to move their heads and if a leak in the bladder did occur through inadvertence, accumulation on the head shelf 40 of a small amount of water could drown the patient. Also, it will be noted that the head shelf 40 is horizontal and, as will be more fully discussed hereinafter, the liquid bladder 32 terminates at the inner edge of head shelf 40, so that a patients head is supported by the shelf and not by the bladder.
The liquid bladder assembly 30 will be seen to comprise five sheets of material. The container section or bladder 32 itself is defined by upper sheet 51 and lower sheet 52, which are sealed together by a hermetic seal 54, which may be formed by conventional dielectric sealing techniques and equipment. Sheet 51 is sealed at its respective longitudinal extremities to end closure members 56 and 57. Zipper members 58 are provided at each corner of the upper bladder sheet 51 and mating zipper members are provided at the corner edges of end covers 56 and 57, so that the bladder assembly, when secured, will completely cover the sides of the foam body 20. The bottom ends of the respective closure members 56 and 57 are provided with zipper members 60 which are matingly united with corresponding zipper members on under-sheet 62 which extends along and covers the entire base of foam body 20. Excess material on the sides of upper bladder sheet 51 are adapted to be folded under the foam body, as best illustrated in FIGURES 6, 7 and 8 so that when zippers 58 and 60 are secured to fasten end members 56 and 57 respectively to upper bladder sheet 51 and lower cover sheet 62., foam body 20 is completely enveloped by the bladder assembly 30. This construction keeps the porous foam body clean and facilitates the cleanslng of the assembly by washing of the bladder assembly.
The sheeting from which the bladder assembly is formed is preferably heavy duty, flexible, plastic sheeting having a very low permeability, so that transpiration of air and water through the sheeting is reduced to a minimum. A preferred material is 20 mil vinyl sheeting, such as sold by Union Carbide under the trademark Krene. This material desirably contains a bacteriostat to deter growth of bacteria which may come in contact with the material. Of course, other thicknesses and types of sheeting can be utilized, it being understood that the specific sheet material used forms no part of this invention. It should be noted that vinyl is a particularly desirable material because of its ready dielectric scalability, thus providing inexpensive and strong seals.
Lower sheet 52 of the liquid bladder 32 is provided with a sealed entry port 64 to which is secured a length of plastic tubing 65 which extends through an appropriate aperture 66 in the foam body 20, and which tubing terminates in a valve member 67 which extends through upper sheet 51 of the bladder. Valve member 67 is spring biased in the closed condition and is adapted to open upon insertion of a Crawford fitting 68, which is secured to a length of flexible tubing 69 for filling and emptying of the bladder 32. Tubing 69 terminates at its proximal end in an aspirator-type valve 70, diagrammatically shown in FIGURE 2, which is connected to the faucet 71 of a conventional sink 72. Bottom section 73 of the aspirator valve is adapted to be moved from a first position in which a Venturi-type aperture is open to a second position where that aperture is partially blocked. When the Venturi-type aperture is open, water from tap 71 passes directly through the Venturi and into the sink, creating, by virtue of the Venturi action, a suction force which will aspirate water from bladder 32 and empty the same. When the Venturi-type aperture is blocked, flow of water from faucet 71 will pass into tubing 69 to fill the bladder 32.
As best illustarted in FIGURES 1 and 7, the base of a U-shaped bar member 76 sits under the foam body 20 With the legs of the bar member 76 extending up about two-thirds of the thickness of the foam body and are contiguous therewith. Fastened, as by welding, to the upper edges of the respective legs of member 76, are cross-pieces 77 which have rounded ends. This member 76 serves to constrain the foam from buckling outwardly such as might occur when a patient is being removed from the bed. The cross-bars 77 are sufliciently below the upper surface of the foam to prevent their injuring a patient being removed from the bed.
Referring to FIGURE 4, a representative gather 78 of sheet 51 is shown in the longitudinal seam of liquid bladder 32. The gather is an accumulation of excess material sealed in a fantype manner into the seam 54, conveniently providing an excess of available material to move in any direction around the gather to prevent any tensioning, i.e. hammocking, of the upper sheet 51 of the bladder. A plurality of such gathers are located about the seam of the liquid bladder.
As can be seen in FIGURE 2, the upper seam of bladder 32 is located at the inner edge of head shelf 40. In this way, during normal operation of the bladder, no water is present on the head shelf itself. This prevents the possibility of motion sickness occurring by virtue of movement of the patients head and eliminates the prospect of a paralyzed patient being smothered by the bladder surface.
In a preferred from of this invention the liquid bladder 32 has secured thereto an air bladder 80. The air bladder 80 comprises an upper sheet 81 and a lower sheet 82, peripherally bonded to form a closed bag. Secured to the lower sheet 82 and extending longitudinally along the air bladder on either side thereof are zipper members 83 and 84 which matingly unite with cooperating zipper members on the upper surface of bladder 32 (FIG. 2). Extending transversely within the bladder are baffle members 85, which baffle members terminate several inches from the seam of the air bladder. The bafile members are secured to the upper and lower sheets 81 and 82 of the bladder by being sealed thereto. The bafl le members shown are approximately two inches high and are spaced approximately six to eight inches apart. In accordance with this construction, it is necessary that the spacing between baflle members be no more than about four times the height of the bafiie members, and preferably the baffle height will be approximately one-half of the distance between baffles. It is also to be noted that the baflle members each extend across at least one-half of the bladder width, and preferably across subtantially the entire width of the bladder. This construction eliminates excessive ballooning of the bladder between baffle member so that the bladder when inflated will have the substantially planar surface illustrated in FIGURE 5. The baffle members also function to restrain the upper and lower air bladder surfaces 81 and 82 so that, upon filling of the bladder and after filling upon movement of the patient, air will not be forced to excessively accumulate in one portion of the bladder, thereby tending to disrupt the stability of the patient and possibly tip the patient out of the bed. The bladder serves two important purposes which are essential to the proper functioning and convenient use of the flotation apparatus. The bladder when filled provides a relatively hard and'stable surface upon which the patient can be manipulated for various nursing functions. Also, the bladder can lift the patient above the upper edge of the foam body to facilitate removal of the patient from the flotation apparatus. The bladder is provided on its underface with a valve 89 into which the tube of a conventional air pump (not shown) can be conventiently inserted for filling of the bladder. The upper surface of the bladder is provided with a quick release valve 90 which can readily be opened to permit rapid exhaust of the air in the bladder. Optionally an overpressure valve 91, set at a fixed pressure, conveniently 0.6 .lb./ sq. in., can be incorporated into the air bladder to prevent over-inflation of the bladder, and to insure that the bladder will not burst.
Upper sheet 81 of the bladder has a lip 87 which extends beyond the upper seal thereof and has a zipper member 88 at its end which is adapted to be joined to a mating zipper member which is located on end member 57 of the bladder cover, thus further insuring stability of the air bladder with respect to the remainder of the flotation assembly.
The air bladder 80 is approximately two-thirds of the length of the body cavity 36 and will extend from the head to the buttocks of the average patient. By so constructing the air bladder a good supporting surface is obtained without risking accumulation of air at the patients feet to tip the patient.
The material of the air bladder and baflles preferably is a tough, flexible heavy-duty plastic material which can easily be cleaned and is relatively impermeable to air, such as vinyl.
In securing the zippers to the vinyl air bladder and liquid bladder assemblies it is preferable that the zipper bindings be coated with vinyl so that they may be dielectrically sealed to the sheeting of those bladders. This is a convenient technique for obtaining strong, inexpensive bonds without risking puncture of the vinyl sheeting.
In operation, the liquid bladder would normally be filled, preferably with water, prior to the placement of a patient on the patient flotation assembly. Crawford fitting 68 of the bladder fill device is then inserted into receptacle 67, and aspirator head 70 is inserted on sink faucet 71 such as by screwing. Valve actuation member 73 is then set to close the Venturi exit and water is turned on, filling the liquid bladder, such as with water 31. The liquid bladder is properly filled when the water level is approximately two inches below the upper surface 48 of the foam body. In this condition the upper sheet 51 of the bladder has a substantial amount of slack present, to accommodate the displacement which will take place when a patient is placed upon the bladder 32 and to allow for movement of the patient upon the bladder 32 when the patient is lying there. Fine adjustments of water level can be made with the patient in place upon the bladder, by appropriate movement of the valve member 73 to block or open the Venturi-type passage in the valve to respectively fill or evacuate the bladder. During normal usage the air bladder would be deflated and would be zipped to the upper surface of the bladder. At such time as it is desired to perform nursing functions on the patient or to lift the patient for removal from the flotation unit, an air pump (not shown) can be attached to valve member 89 and the air bladder filled until reasonably firm. The air bladder 80 then provides a firm, substantially planar surface upon which to manipulate the patient. It will, of course, be appreciated that a true flotation of the patient is not accomplished when the air bladder is in use and it should be promptly emptied by opening valve 90 when use is completed.
As seen in FIGURE 9, the patient 109, when using the apparatus of this invention will be floatably supported upon the water in the bladder from heel to shoulders with his head resting on head shelf 40 beyond the upper seam of liquid bladder 32. Upon movement of the patient in the bed hammocking will not occur unless the movement is truly excessive, since the liquid bladder assembly is so secured to the foam body that the seams of the bladder will remain at the upper edges of the foam body, and will not slide down, tending to bulge and therefore create hammocking.
Furthermore, movement of the patient will not tend to cause hammocking because of the available slack in the upper sheet 51 of the liquid bladder, and the excess material presented at darts 78.
It should be noted that the darts 78 are located peripherally around the liquid bladder to provide excess material if needed.
It also should be noted that, as a further precautionary measure against hammocking, a stretchable, resilient plastic material may be used for the upper surface of the liquid bladder.
It will be appreciated that many modifications of this invention can be made by those having ordinary skill in the art without departing from the spirit and sco e of the invention. For example, other fastening means than zippers can be used for closing the liquid bladder assembly or for securing the air bladder to the liquid bladder. Also, other valve mechanisms than those shown could be used for the filling and exhaust of the liquid and air bladders.
What we claim is:
1. Apparatus useful in the prevention and treatment of decubitus ulcers comprising: an elastomeric foam body, said foam body defining a cavity adapted to receive a human being, the cavity-defining portion of said body comprising a lowermost intermediate surface adapted to receive the trunk of a human, an elevated head shelf at one end adapted to receive the head and neck of a human, and an elevated shelf at the other end adapted to receive the feet of a human, a bladder located in said cavity and adapted to be filled with water to floatingly support a patient resting in said cavity, said bladder comprising a pereipherally sealed upper surface and lower surface, said lower surface being adapted to substantially conform to the outline of said cavity below said head shelf, valve means mounted in said bladder to permit filling and emptying thereof, said upper surface including suflicient material to permit floatable support of a patient lying on said bladder, a plurality of gathers of said upper surface located about the sealed periphery thereof, the intersection of said upper and lower surface being located at the top of said foam body along the sides and the distal end thereof, and at the inner edge of the head shelf, and an impervious cover removably secured to said bladder and completely enveloping said foam body to provide a removable, cleanable surface and to substantially immobilize the periphery of said bladder.
2. Apparatus comprising: a closed container having an upper surface and adapted to floatingly support a human being substantially along the entirety of one body surface, and an inflatable bladder adapted to support the head and torso of a human body and secured to the upper surface of said container, said bladder comprising an elongated sealed body having an upper surface and a lower surface, valve means mounted in said bladder to permit said bladder to be inflated and deflated, and a multiplicity of flexible, transverse baffle members extending across a majority of the width of said bladder, each said baflfle having a height substantially equal to the desired inflated height of said bladder and being secured along its length to the inner faces of said surfaces of said bladder.
3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2, wherein the height of said baflies is at least one-fourth of the distance between baffles.
4. A bladder comprising elongated upper and lower members peripherally joined to form a closed container having a longitudinal axis, valve means mounted in said bladder to permit filling and emptying of said bladder, and a plurality of spaced, flexible baffle members mounted in said bladder transverse to said axis and having upper and lower ends respectively united to the upper and lower members, each such baffle having a length of at least onehalf of the bladder width at the battle location, the spacing between baflles being less than that about four times the baflie height.
5. Apparatus as set forth in claim 4 wherein the ratio of baffle height to the spacing between baflles is at least approximately 1:2, and the baffles are of a length substantially equal to the bladder width.
6. An article comprising an elongated body of elastomeric foam, said body defining an elongated cavity having inclined walls and a shape approximating the outline of a human body and including an elevated head shelf, a bladder located in said cavity and comprising peripherally sealed upper and lower sheets, said bladder having an upper end located at the proximal edge of said head shelf and sides and a lower end located at the upper edges of said cavity, valve means mounted in said bladder to permit filling and emptying thereof whereby said bladder may be filled with water to a level about one inch below the supper surface of said body and said filled bladder will floatably support a human being, said upper sheet being of shape and dimension to provide a substantial excess of material when a patient is floatably supported on said bladder, a plurality of spaced gathers in said upper sheet sealed about the periphery of said bladder, and cover means releasably secured to said bladder and cooperating therewith to completely envelop said foam body.
7. An article as set forth in claim 6 wherein said foam body is a body of flexible, ether-type polyurethane foam.
8. An article as set forth in claim including a second bladder located on the upper surface of the first bladder, means releasably securing said second bladder to said first bladder, said second bladder extending from said distal end of head shelf approximately two-thirds of the length of said cavity, said second bladder comprising peripherally united upper and lower sheets valve means mounted in said second bladder to permit filling and emptying thereof, and a plurality of spaced, flexible baflies extending across said second bladder and sealed to the upper and 10 lower surfaces thereof, each such baflle extending across at least one-half of the second bladder width, the height of each baflie being at least one-fourth of the spacing between baflles.
9. Apparatus useful in the prevention and treatment of decubitus ulcers comprising: a support body defining a cavity adapted to receive a human being, a bladder in said cavity and adapted to be filled with water to floatingly support a patient resting in part within said cavity, first valve means connected to said bladder to permit filling and emptying of said bladder, an inflatable member supported by said bladder and disposed within said cavity when uninflated, and second valve means connected to said inflatable member to permit inflation and deflation thereof, whereby upon suitable inflation of said inflatable member said human being is lifted out of and above said cavity.
10. In patient-supporting apparatus for the prevention and treatment of decubitus ulcers, the improvement comprising the combination of:
first means for buoyantly supporting a patient in a second means for firmly supporting the patient in a manner facilitating the handling and removal of the patient from the apparatus, said second means comprising an inflatable member disposed beneath said patient and adapted for selective inflation and deflation.
11. The improvement in patient-supporting apparatus according to claim 10, wherein said inflatable member has a plurality of flexible baffle members therein, said baffle members extending between the upper and lower surfaces of said inflatable member and being secured thereto so as to influence the shape of said inflatable member when it is inflated.
12. In patient-supporting apparatus for the prevention and treatment of decubitus ulcers, including first means for buoyantly supporting a patient in a fluid, the improvement comprising second means for firmly supporting the patient in a manner facilitating the handling and removal of the patient from the apparatus, said second means comprising an inflatable member disposed beneath said patient and adapted for selective inflation and deflation.
13. The improvement in patient-supporting apparatus according to claim 12, wherein said inflatable member has a plurality of flexible baflle members therein, said baflle members extending between the upper and lower surfaces of said inflatable member and being secured thereto so as to influence the shape of said inflatable member when it is inflated.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,108,293 10/1963 King 5348 3,308,491 3/1967 Spence 5348 3,340,551 9/ 1967 Hopkins 5-348 3,354,476 11/1967 Scales 5348 CASMIR A. NUNBERG, Primary Examiner US. Cl. X.R. 561; 128-33, 376