US 3599199 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [in 3,599,199
1 2.! en Earl L Bunting 3.353.|72 l l/l967 Beilfuss 340/286 1 w Coml- 3,254,335 /1966 Staten 340/286 Primary Examiner-John W Caldwell 1221 Filed Dec.6. I968 i [45 panned n Assistant Examiner-ScottF. Partridge I Asinee Bum. Samuel. hm Attorney-Johnson and Kline Bridgeport, Conn.
ABSTRACT: A system for indicating to a plurality of administrative stations, by signal means, the status of the individual '54 SYSTEM po SIMULTANEOUSLY [NNCATING A unit. Preferably, the administrative station adjacent the unit s -rus p muy s -no has means controlling the signals to energize the signaling jchhn'lbrwh m means in all stations simultaneously to Indicate the status of q the unitv For example. in a hospital the system would indicate 5] U.S.Cl. i l s l l 4 l v v l l. 340/2 6. the status of a patient-bed unit, It would be controlled at the 340/287 nurses station to supply the proper signals to energize the [Sll IILCLHHUHHMU. l s v ..G08b /00 Sign means and ale" the cashier admitting ffi 340/286 housekeeper. dietician and other desired administrative sta- 33 I 331313388 tions that the bed is occupied, the patient is to be discharged the patient has left the bed and it should be made up, and that  chum Cm the bed is ready for occupancy so that each administrative sta- UNITED STATES PATENTS tion can be ready to perform its required function. 3,26l ,Ol l 7/l966 Crosthwait 340/286 X Heretofore in a hospital, for example, the records for each .5 l 2 l 0 Bunting 340/286 X patient-bed unit were filed in filing cabinets at each adminis- 2,980,890 4/l96l Staten U 340/286X trative station and the status of each unit was not readily 3,2l4.747 l0/l965 Lurie l 340/286 discernible When there was any change in the unit status, it 3,228.020 l/l966 Gassenheimer et al. 340/286 was necessary for the nurse or someone to advise each station 3.230.52 l/l 66 Lurie /286 individually. The record was then removed from the file and 315L050 5/l966 Given 340/286 acted upon accordingly 5/ BED UNIT g R t i. m,
PATENTED numolsn Q 1 9S BED UNIT mETlclAN J E Z INVEJNTQIZh PM" 2 l T 7 ATTORNEYS svsrassroa SIMUIr-PANEOUSLY INDICATING A UNIT bed unit so that the bed status can be quickly and accurately determined and the proper signal impressed on the system to operate all of thesignal means in such a manner as to alert and advise .thevarious administrative stations. such as cashier, ad-
mittance, housekeeper, dietician or the like, of the bed status.
Preferably, the signal means are electriclights which give an easily visible indication. They are connected in series and, when the system is energized in a predetennined manner, simultaneously impart the desired information to all stations. in some situations means can be provided at the stations for changing the character of the signal means, for example, the color of the lights, to provide additional information.
As a safety measure, a high resistance shunt can be provided for each light to maintain the continuity of the system should the light burn out and, additionally, to indicate that there is a burned out light by reducing the intensity of the other lights.
The system of the present invention, while highly advantageous for patient bed status for hospital use, can also be efl'ective in nursing homes, hotels, motels, factories and in any other situation wherein it is desired to give the status of a unit simultaneously to a plurality of administrative stations by impressing on the. system a predetermined signal and actuating 'the series connectedsignal means in all stations.
Other features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from-the specification and claims when considered in connection with theaocompanying drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of a status system for a patient-bedunit.
-" FIG. 2 is avievnpartly in section, of a switch means.
The present invention is herein illustrated as being used in a hospital to alert various administrative stations as to the status eonnectedsin series-by a single conductomlfi connected to a low voltage Dfiuource ofenergy l7 sufficient to operate the signal means simultaneously, when a predetermined signal is impressed on the system, to indicate, if -desired, one of four statuses-of the patient-bedunit. For example, ifthe lights are off. it indicates that a patient occupies the bed; if the lights are slowlystflashing, it indicaterthat the vpatient is scheduled to leavetthehospital; if-the lights are rapidly flashing, it indicates that thes'patient has left the. bed; and if the lights are on steady, it ison-indication-that thebed is made and is ready for occupancy. lfvadditinnal information is to be provided by the -system, it may have other signals impressed on it to energize themignalsmeans at the stations to function in a distinctive manner to indicate thisadditional status information, for examplertheslights could beenergized to flash with a different frequency or sequence.
' It is preferred to control the operation of the system from the nurses station", which is usually close to the patient-bed unit so' thatthe status-thereof can be quickly and accurately determined andthe proper signal impressed on the system to operate all the signal means toalert the various administrative stations of the unit status. This is accomplished by switch means 18 at the nurses station comprising a single-pole, double-throw switch 19 and a double-pole, double-throw gang switch 20. 1f the two switches are in the position as shown in the drawing, this will connect the series circuit for the signal means to ground through a slow flasher 21. This will automatically provide the necessary signal for causing the lights [5 in each of the signal means at the various administrative stations to flash slowly. The light at the nurses station will be visually checked by the nurse to insure that the proper signal is being given. The slowly flashing light at the cashier's station will alert the cashier that the patient will be needing the bill; at the admitting office the signal alerts the admitting clerk that the bed will be vacant so they can schedule another patient; at the housekeeping station it reports that a bed will be ready to be cleaned and a work ticket can be issued; and the light at the dietary station alerts the dietician that the unit will not need a meal.
When the gang switch 20 is moved to the right as viewed in the drawing, it will connect the circuit to ground through the fast flasher 22. This will alert the cashier that thepatient is on his way to pay the bill; it will also advise the admitting office that the bed will soon be ready; it alerts the housekeeper that the bed is ready for cleaning and should be taken care of promptly.
When the switch 19 is thrown to the left, it will connect the system to ground through the "on contact and the light [5 in all of the stations will remain a steady "on. This-switching is done at the nurses station after the bed has been made up and so advises the housekeeping station and alerts the admitting office that the room is ready for the admission of a new patient. If the gang switch 20 is moved to the left, the circuitwill be connected to the "off" contact which will extinguish all of the lights. This is accomplished at the nurses station when the patient has been assigned to the room and the bed is occupied. The switch will stay in this position until a new cycle of operations is required.
It will be noted in the drawings that the signal means at the nurses station has a second light30 which is connected to a second light 31 at the cashier: station by a conductor 32. These lights 30, 31 are in a second circuit which may be substituted for the lights 15 in the two stations. These lights are the same but are of a different character, for example, a different color, from lights 15. A switch 33 at the cashier: station will permit the cashier to substitute these two light: 30, SI for lights 15 in each station after the patient has made a proper settlement with the cashier so as to indicate to the nurses station, as well as to the cashier's station that the financial arrangements with respect to this unit have been taken care of. Thus, the character of the signal means at the nurses station and cashier's station is altered by the action of the switch 33 and provides additional information at said stations.
' mation at the admitting station. For example, lights 15 and 34 can be pink and blue respectively to designate the sex of the unit so that a man will not be assigned to a-ladies' ward or vice versa.
. in each of the above situations, while the character of the signal means is changed, the energization of the system is not altered so that the signal means will continue to give one of the four signals impressed on the system, as controlled at the nursea station, to show the status of the patient-bed unit.
In some stations it may be desirable to provide additional information; for example, in the cashier: station it may be advisable to indicate that the bill has been prepared in response to a slow flashing light and is. awaiting. the patient, or in the admittingofiice an indication maybe given that the bed needs repair and that the particular unit should not be assigned. This can be readily accomplished by providing the actuator of the switch means with a readily changeable colored button. One such arrangement is shown in FIG. 2 wherein the actuator 35a of the switch 35 has a removable cap 36 of plastic of a predetermined color to provide additional status information.
As a safety measure it will be noted that each of the lights is provided with a normally ineffective bypass which becomes operative in the event the light burns out. While this may take many forms, in the illustrated form of the invention a high resistance 40 is provided in shunt relation with each light so that in the event one of the light burns out, the circuit will not open but will be transferred through the shunt. This being a high resistance shunt will cause the lights to be dimmed and alert the administrative stations to the fact that a light is burned out and it can be checked by following the circuit through the various administrative stations.
Should it be desired to include other administrative stations in the system, it is merely necessary to connect a similar signal means at such station in series with the other stations of the system and adjust the voltage source to operate the added signal means as required.
With the present system it will be clear that visual signals are given in each of the administrative stations to indicate the status of the patient-bed unit and to alert each of the administrative stations as to the activity that is required with respect to the unit. These signals function instantaneously and provide a visual means for determining the status in a simple, accurate and expeditious manner.
While the present system has particular use in hospitals, it can, by proper selection of the components of the system, be also used in nursing homes, hotels, motels, factories or in any situation wherein it is desired to simultaneously give to a plurality of stations the status of a particular unit in such a manner that is readily and easily recognized.
Variations and modifications may be made within the scope of the claims and portions of the improvements may be used without others.
I. A system for automatically indicating to a plurality of stations the patient-bed status of an individual bed unit in a hospital, comprising a nurses station adjacent said unit and: plurality of administrative stations, each station having signaling means, and single conductor means for each unit electrically connecting all of the signaling means in series, said single conductor means having one terminal connected to a source of power, said nurses station having switching means for connecting the other terminal of the single conductor means to ground for turning on the system and for selectively applying one of a plurality of signals to the system to energize the signaling means in each station to denote the patient-bed status of the unit.
2. The invention as defined in claim I wherein one of the administrative stations is the cashier's station, and wherein means is provided at said station for altering the character of the signaling means at the nurses station and cashier's station to indicate the status of the patients account.
3. The invention as defined in claim 1 wherein one of administrative stations is the admitting office and wherein means is provided at said station for altering the character of the signaling means at said station to provide additional information with respect to said bed unit.
4. The invention as defined in claim I wherein the signaling means comprises electric lights.
5, The invention as defined in claim 4 wherein said lights can be selectively energized by switch means at said nurses" station to provide a steady, slow flashing or fast flashing light, and extinguished to provide said plui'ality of signals.
6. The invention as defined in claim 2 wherein the signall means at the nurses station comprises a pair of mamas? colored lights and wherein the signal means in thtfeaiihi'ei station comprises a pair of similar differently colored lights; and switch means at said cashier's station for selectively ene rgizingsimilarly colored lights in each station.
7. he invention as de med in claim 6 wherein the signaling means at the admitting ofl'lce comprises differently colored lights and switch means at said station for selecting the color of the light to be energized.
P0-1W1 UNITED STAES P iTENT OFFECE CERE IFlQATE 0r CQRRECTIUN Patent No 3 599; 99 Dated August 10: 97
Inventofls) Earl L. Bunting It is certified that error appears in the above-identified 'patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:
In column 3, line 11, "light should read --lights-;
In column 1, line 3'5 "claim 6" should read --claim 3-.
Signed. and sealed this 11th day of January 1972.
EDEJARD ILFLBTCHER, JR. ROBERT G-OTTSCHALK Attestlng Uff'lCGI' Acting Commissioner of Patents