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Publication numberUS3643996 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 22, 1972
Filing dateFeb 27, 1970
Priority dateFeb 27, 1970
Publication numberUS 3643996 A, US 3643996A, US-A-3643996, US3643996 A, US3643996A
InventorsWilliam Carnahan
Original AssigneeWilliam Carnahan
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Headrest apparatus for a wheelchair
US 3643996 A
Abstract
A wheelchair having rearwardly projecting frame members on which headrest apparatus is adjustably mounted for movements vertically and horizontally to accommodate patients of varying physiques. Mounting apparatus is provided to permit the headrest apparatus to swing in a horizontal plane and includes a swivel, and mechanism for selectively restricting the movement of the swivel.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent Carnahan Feb. 22, 1972 [54] HEADREST APPARATUS FOR A 527,056 10/1894 Gilson ..297/408 X WHEELCHAIR 2,665,685 1/1954 Kaufman 128/75 2,716,441 8/1955 Jennings ..297/45 [72] Inventor: William Carnahan, 2158 South M-47, 323 735 95 Thompson 297 2 X OWOSSO, Mlch- 43867 3,497,259 2/ 1970 Sherfey ..297/ 391 [22] filed: 1970 Primary Examiner-Casmir A. Nunberg [21] Appl.No.: 14,977 Att0mey--Learman&McCu1loch 57 ABSTRACT [52] US. Cl ..297/4l0, 128/75, 297/392 1 51 int. Cl. ..A47c 7/36, A47c 7/42 A wheelchair having rearwardly Projecting frame members on 58 Field of Search ..297/391-'393,40s, which headrest apparatus is adjustably mounted for move- 297/4l0; 128/75 ments vertically and horizontally to accommodate patients of varying physiques. Mounting apparatus is provided to permit [56] Reerem Cited the headrest apparatus to swing in a horizontal plane and includes a swivel, and mechanism for selectively restricting the UNITED STATES PATENTS movement of the swivel.

White ..297/410 X 9 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures I-IEADREST APPARATUS FOR A WHEELCHAIR FIELD OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to wheelchairs and more particularly to apparatus for supporting the head of a person who is restricted to a wheelchair and who does not have complete muscular control of his upper body. There are many persons who, for various reasons, have lost control of all or a portion of their body muscles. The majority of such persons are unable to sit up unassisted and, consequently, must spend most of their time in bed in the prone position. Continued bed rest frequently results in what is commonly referred to as bed sores, in addition to patient apathy and mental dejection.

It is known that placing such an afflicted person in a wheelchair and securing him th'erein so that he may be wheeled about, both his physical and mental condition are improved. Due to the limited muscular control in the neck and head area of such a person, however, he is not able to maintain his head in anupright position except, perhaps, for a very short time. Thus, it is necessary to provide a headrest or support which will support the patients head when he is being wheeled about but which will permit him to move his head both horizontally and vertically. It has been found that if the headrest is permitted to swing in a horizontal plane, the neck muscles of the patient may be exercised and, in addition, the range of the patient's vision is increased. With patient improvement, it is desirable to provide mechanism which will make it increasingly difficult for the patient to move his head horizontally, thereby gradually strengthening the patients muscles and improving the muscle tone.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PRIOR ART Although prior art devices have been provided in the past for supporting a persons head, there have been no provisions for adjustably mounting such devices on a wheelchair for movement forwardly, rearwardly, and vertically to accommodate patients who have different physiques. Moreover, the known prior art devices of this general type use a suspended swivel, which is positioned above, and generally in concentric alignment with, the axis of the person's upper spine so that any horizontal movement of the head necessarily results in vertical movement of the head, thereby limiting the persons freedom of movement. There also has been no provision in the prior art devices for locking a headrest support in various horizontally disposed positions, nor has there been provided any mechanism for selectively increasing the resistance to movement of the head support to assist the user in strengthening his neck muscles.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY It is an object of the present invention to provide a wheelchair having a headrest movably supported thereon for movement forwardly, rearwardly and vertically to accommodate patients of varying sizes.

Another object of the invention is to provide a rotatable headrest which is supported on a swivel that permits the headrest to swing in a horizontal plane.

A further object of the invention is to provide a swingable headrest support on a wheelchair which will assist a user in improving his neck muscles by making it increasingly difficult to swing the headrest support.

Another object of the invention is to provide a horizontally movable headrest support on a wheelchair and which is lockable in a plurality of horizontal positions.

Briefly, there is provided in accordance with the present invention a wheelchair having a head support mounted on the rearward end thereof by swivel means which permits the head support to swing in a horizontal plane. Mechanism is provided for selectively varying the resistance to movement of the swivel means and for locking the head support in any one ofa plurality of horizontally disposed positions.

Other objects and advantages will become apparent from the following description when considered in relation to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a wheelchair having headrest apparatus mounted thereon according to the invention;

FIG. 2 is a fragmentary perspective view of the headrest apparatus mounted on the rearwardly extending frame members of the wheelchair;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary, enlarged, vertical sectional view taken on the line 33 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an enlarged, vertical sectional view of another portion of the support means taken on the line 4-4 of FIG. I; and

FIG. 5 is an enlarged, fragmentary sectional plan view taken on the line 5-5 of FIG. 1. 7

Apparatus constructed according to the invention is adapted for use with a conventional wheelchair W having a seat S, a backrest B, a pair of sidearms A, and pairs of front and rear wheels F and R mounted on opposite sides of the chair. The upper portion of the backrest terminates in a pair of spaced apart handles P. Extending along the underside of the wheelchair in the usual manner is a pair of laterally spaced apart frame members 10 which project rearwardly of the rear end of the seat S.

The support apparatus of the present invention is designated generally by the reference character 11 and includes a crossmember or crossbar 12 having coupling or mounting members 14 at its terminal ends which are slidably received on the rearwardly extending frame members 10. Each of the coupling members 14 threadedly receives a radially adjustable anchor screw 16 which can be adjusted radially to clamp and unclamp the members 14 to and from the member 10. When the members 14 are unclamped from the member 10, the apparatus 11 may be adjusted forwardly and rearwardly of the chair.

Extending upwardly from the midportion of the bar 12 is an upright support 17 having a lower, tubular section 18. The upper portion 180 of the tubular section 18 is offset slightly rearwardly relative to the lower portion 18b to enable the section 18a to be positioned a greater distance rearwardly of the back rest B. Rotatably mounted atop the upper end of the tubular section 18 is a second tubular section 20 formed with an inwardly turned, load bearing flange portion 20a in engagement with the terminal end of the tubular section 18 and a tubular terminal end portion 22 received within the upper portion of the tubular section 18. Concentric with and secured to a reduced diameter portion 22a of terminal end portion 22 is a case hardened metal ring 23 which is resistant to wear. Disposed between the wear ring 23 and the inner surface of the tubular section 18 is a friction member 24 which may be formed from any commercially available brake lining material. The friction member 24 may be bonded or otherwise suitably secured to a backing plate 25 which rotatably receives the terminal end portion of an adjusting screw 26 threadedly received within a threaded aperture 18c formed in the wall of the tubular section 18. The plate 25 is secured to the terminal end portion of the screw 26 so as to follow the radial movements of the screw 26. A manually operable knob 27 is provided on the screw 26 to facilitate turning of the latter in the opening 18c. Turning the knob 27 so as to move the screw 26 radially inwardly increases the pressure of the brake lining material 24 against the wear ring 23, thereby increasing the resistance to movement of the tubular section 20 relative to the tubular section 18.

At its upper end the section 20 telescopically receives the lower end of a tubular section 30 which has an external diameter slightly less than that of the tubular section 20 to permit the sections 20 and 30 to slide vertically, relative to each other. To lock the member 30 in place, the upper threaded portion 20b of the member 20 is provided with vertically extending grooves 20b which permit the upper portion of the tubularsection 20 to contract radially and grip the section 30 when anut 32, which has a slightly smaller internal diameter than the outer diameter of portion 20b, is threaded onto the force the upper portion b of the tubular section 20 into engagement with the tubular section 30. The tubular sections 18, 20 and may be formed ofsteel or aluminum.

Mounted on the upper portion of the tubular member 30 is a headrest or support member, generally designated H, including a generally U-shaped horizontally disposed member 31 having its base connected to the tubular section 30 with a bolt 32 and a nut 32a. The legs 31a of the U-shaped headrest are adapted to extend along opposite sides of the patients head, as shown in FIG. 1, and include apertures 31b therein in the area normally occupied by the patients ear. Extending downwardly from the forward portion of the legs 31a of the U- shaped member is a generally U-shaped chin strap 34 on which the chin of the user is adapted to be supported. Extending upwardly along the rearward portion of the legs 31b is another U-shaped member 36 which serves as a rest for the back of the head. The portions 31, 34 and 36 of the head support H may comprise individual sections of tubular material secured together with suitable fastening means and wrapped in resilient material which has a wear-resistant covering thereover.

The head support H is adjusted vertically to a particular patient by adjusting the tube 30 relatively to the tube 20 so that the chin strap 34 is slightly below the normal position of the users chin, thus enabling the user to exercise his neck muscles in a vertical direction by raising his head off the chin strap 34. The chin strap 34 would be used as a rest in the event the patients neck muscles tire. The tubular members 18, 20, and 22 cooperate to define a swivel on which the head support H is pivotally movable in a horizontal plane about the longitudinal axis of the tubular members 18,20 and 30.

In operation, the patient is seated in the wheelchair W and straps, not shown, are used about the waist and shoulders to strap the patient into the chair. The head support member H is adjusted vertically, by unscrewing the member 32 and adjusting the tube 30 relatively to the tube 20 before again replacing the nut 32. The head support H is adjusted forwardly or rearwardly as necessary by unscrewing the screws 16, moving the bar 12 forwardly or rearwardly depending upon the size of the patient, and then tightening the screws 16. If the users strength is such that he is able to keep his head raised for a sustained period of time, and he is able to move the head support H in a horizontal plane with ease, the screw 27 may be turned inwardly to increase the force with which the brake lining material 24 engages the wear strip 23, thereby impeding the movement of the tube 20 relative to the tube 18. The increased resistance to movement thereby increases the effort which the patient must exert to turn the headrest support H, thereby strengthening the patients neck muscles.

If it is desired to fix the head support H in any selected position about the longitudinal axis of the member 30, the support H may be moved to the desired position and the member 27 may be turned inwardly an amount sufficient to force the members 23 and 24 into locked engagement to prevent any further movement of the head support in the horizontal plane.

Since it is obvious that changes and modifications can be made in the above described details without departing from the nature and spirit of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the details except as set forth in the appended claims.

lclaim:

1. in combination: a wheelchair having a seat;

a backrest,

a rearward end, and

generally horizontally extending frame members projecting rearwardly from opposite sides of said rearward end; and

therapeutic apparatus adapted for use with a patient seated in the wheelchair for supporting a patients head including;

upstanding support means rearwardly of said backrest;

head support means on said upstanding support means adjacent the upper end thereof and extending forwardly of said backrestand said support means; said upstanding support means including swivel means mounting said head support means for movement in a horizontal plane only;

means mounting said upstanding support means on said frame members for forward and rearward movement to adjust the position of said head support means relatively to said wheelchair; and

means for securing said mounting means in a selected position of adjustment on said frame members.

2. The combination of claim 1 wherein said upstanding support means includes an upright support post along the rearward end of said wheelchair, and said swivel means is generally in alignment with said post.

3. The combination of claim 1 wherein said upstanding support means includes a generally vertically extending post and a transversely extending member at the lower end of said post, and wherein said mounting means includes means on opposite ends of said transversely extending member received by said rearwardly projecting frame members for releasably clamping said transversely extending member to said rearwardly projecting frame members.

4. The combination of claim 1 including adjustable resistance means for selectively resisting movement of said swivel means, and means for adjusting said resistance means to vary the force required to move said head supporting means in said horizontal plane.

5. The combination of claim 1 wherein said upstanding support means includes a plurality of relatively rotatable tubular sections having telescoping portions; said head supporting means being mounted on one of said tubular sections for movement in a horizontal plane; and cooperating means on said telescoping portions for selectively adjusting the resistance to rotation of one tubular section relative to another.

6. The combination of claim 5 wherein said tubular sections are circular in cross section; one of said tubular sections including a reduced diameter tubular end portion coaxially fitted within an end portion of the adjacent tubular section; said cooperating means comprises a radially adjustable circumferentially extending braking strip disposed between the coaxially fitted portions of said tubular sections; and means for adjusting the radial position of said braking strip.

7. In combination with a wheelchair, a therapeutic headrest support adapted for use with a patient seated in the wheelchair comprising:

generally upright, elongate support means mounted on said wheelchair rearwardly of its seat;

head support means extending forwardly of said upright support means and over said seat for supporting a patients head; and

swivel means mounting said head support means on said upright support means for rotary movement in a substantially horizontal plane and about an axis corresponding to the longitudinal axis of said upright support means.

8. The combination of claim 7 including means for locking said head support in a selected one of a plurality of positions in said horizontal plane.

9, The combination of claim 7 wherein said wheelchair includes frame members extending rearwardly thereof; and means mounting said upright support means on said frame members for movement forwardly and rearwardly thereof.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7215 *Mar 26, 1850 Improvement in printing-presses
US527056 *Dec 9, 1893Oct 9, 1894 Photographic head and body rest
US2665685 *Jul 30, 1952Jan 12, 1954Kaufman ManuelTraction device
US2716441 *Jan 16, 1950Aug 30, 1955Gerald M JenningsCollapsible chair
US2828735 *Jun 19, 1956Apr 1, 1958Belton S ThompsonTraction device
US3497259 *Jun 28, 1968Feb 24, 1970William E SherfeyHead or back support for wheelchairs
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3764180 *Jul 31, 1972Oct 9, 1973L MulhollandNeck rest and shoulder support structure for physically handicapped patients
US3938820 *Aug 21, 1974Feb 17, 1976Nabinger Herman GInvalid cart and lift
US4385627 *Jul 29, 1980May 31, 1983Nelson Gayle VHead stabilizer accessory
US4583532 *Oct 15, 1984Apr 22, 1986Jones J PaulBack traction device
US5116359 *Dec 5, 1990May 26, 1992Moore Joseph LHead, neck and shoulder therapeutic exercise device
US6270160 *Jan 13, 2000Aug 7, 2001Kenneth D. BlakeHead and neck support
US7393057 *May 26, 2006Jul 1, 2008Lorraine FraserPortable adjustable headrest
US7571502 *Oct 11, 2006Aug 11, 2009Sunrise Medical Hhg, Inc.Semi-rigid anterior head alignment system
US8528978 *Nov 2, 2011Sep 10, 2013The Boeing CompanyTransport vehicle seat back with integrated upright sleep support system
US8622412 *Sep 13, 2012Jan 7, 2014Alexis Enterprises Ltd.Wheelchair with lift
US8646842 *Jun 20, 2011Feb 11, 2014Linda BarfussSalon chair having positionable support
US20070273194 *May 26, 2006Nov 29, 2007Lorraine FraserPortable adjustable headrest
US20080238174 *Mar 29, 2007Oct 2, 2008Matthew Damian CinquantaTraveler's head support and optional jaw support device for onboard resting
US20120319447 *Jun 20, 2011Dec 20, 2012Linda BarfussSalon chair having positionable support
US20130106163 *Nov 2, 2011May 2, 2013The Boeing CompanyTransport vehicle seat back with integrated upright sleep support system
Classifications
U.S. Classification297/410, 297/392, 606/241
International ClassificationA61G5/00, A61G5/12, A47C7/36, A47C7/38, A61G5/10
Cooperative ClassificationA47C7/38, A61G2005/1091, A61G5/12, A61G2005/121, A61G2005/1054
European ClassificationA47C7/38, A61G5/12