US 3842455 A
A water bed for use with persons suffering long-term disabilities comprises a centrally located portion filled with a fixed amount of water or other suitable fluid and two pairs of inflatable air cells associated therewith. By selective inflation of the air cells the depth of the fluid can be raised or lowered without changing the amount of fluid in the bed. This feature allows a patient to effectively lower the depth of the fluid to a point where the patient can turn himself over; something extremely difficult to accomplish with the greater depth.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Unit Sates F ate 1 H 1 3,842,455
Whitney Oct. 22 1974 l l FLUllD CONTAllNlNG MATTRESS Fri/nary lz'xaminer-Bobby R. Guy
I I L L I Assistant Examiner Andrcw N l. Calvert I I  Inventor 22 2:; gi Y THE- n Attorney, Agennor Firm-William H. McNelll; Cyril i A. Krenzer  Filed: June 28, 1973  Appl. No.: 374,361 ABSTRACT I A water bed for use with persons suffering long-term i Appllcatmn Data 7 disabilities comprises a centrally located portion filled  f; 5 6 ggf with a fixed amount of water or other suitable fluid and two pairs of inflatable air cells associated therewith. By selective inflation of the air cells the depth of IIl M34855; the fluid can be raISed or Iowered without g g I58] i 348 WB the amount of fluid in the bed. This feature allows a patient to effectively lower the depth of the fluid to a point where the patient can turn himself over; something extremely difficult to accomplish with the  References Cited greater depth.
UNITED STATES PATENTS An additional feature is presented in an alternate 3,585,660 6/1971 Gottfried et al. 5/348 WB embodiment whereby a widened area is provided in 3.6 9/1972 einstein 5/348 WB the liquid containing patient supporting portion of the TOblnlCk mattress to accommodate the shoulders of the patient 3 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures /0 54 d j/ I zv f T l /24 z i 36 /4 6 J, 54 LL46 .3:
i l fil/i l l I l l f:a53r-- I 38 l j| 50 I I I L l .21 Kitty; 1% 52 'l lLs u l l I I FLUID CONTAINING MATTRESS CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION This application is a continuation-in-part of Ser. No. 213,605, filed Dec. 29, 1971 inthe name of John K. Whitney, the inventor named in the instant application now U.S. Pat. No. 3,802,004.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to therapeutic mattresses of the type generally known as water beds. Such mattresses have been used for patients suffering burns over extensive body areas and for other patients requiring long confinement in bed. Patients under the latter category often suffer from general fatigue, muscular pains, and in some instances, decubitus ulcers or pressure sores.
To combat the above-cited conditions hospitals and similar institutions have utilized water beds. These beds, in their simplest form, comprise merely a waterproof bag or bladder of vinyl or rubber or similar material filled with a suitable fluid, such as water. While they function to support the patient by the displacement principle they are very difficult to handle, resembling in this regard a ballon filled with water. Furthermore, it is virtually impossible for a patient to change position thereon without assistance from other people. Additionally, it is very difficult to maintain this type of water filled bed upon a conventional mattress, as is usually done.
To correct some of the above deficiencies, improved water beds have been provided with a rigid frame of wood or metal to contain the bag; however, this made it impossible to utilize the folding or raising features of hospital beds and did nothing to alleviate the problems of a patient attempting to change positions. As mentioned above, this either required the assistance of someone other than the patient or a complex control valve which could allow the patient to drain the fluid from the bag, change position and then refill the bag with fluid.
OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is an object of this invention to obviate the disadvantages of the prior art.
It is another object of the invention to enhance fluid filled beds.
It is yet another object of the invention to provide a fluid bed which contains a fixed amount of fluid, the depth of which can be easily controlled by a patient or hospital personnel.
Yet another object of the invention is the provision of a fluid filled bed which can be used with a conventional hospital bed without destroying the capability of the bed in raising the head thereof.
These objects are accomplished in one aspect of the invention by the provision of a mattress for use with bed-ridden patients which comprises a patient supporting portion containing a fixed amount of a body supporting fluid and having means associated therewith for changing the depth of said fluid without effecting the amount of fluid contained in the body supporting portion.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a plan view of the inventionwith some parts broken away;
FIG. 2 is an elevational sectional view taken along the line 2-2 of FIG. 1;
'FIG. 3 is an elevational sectional view taken along the line 33 of FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is an elevational sectional view similar to FIG. 3 but showing one set of air cells inflated;
FIG. 5 is an elevational sectional view taken generally along the line 5-5 of FIG. 1 but showing both sets of air cells inflated;
FIG. 6 is an elevational sectional view taken along the longitudinal axis of the mattress and showing installation upon a bed with a patient thereon;
FIG. 7 is an elevational sectional view showing an altemate embodiment; and
FIG. 8 is a plan view of an alternate construction.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS For a better understanding of the present invention, together with other and further objects, advantages and capabilities thereof, reference is made to the following disclosure and appended claims in connection with the above-described drawings.
Referring to the drawings with greater particularity, there is shown in FIG. 1 a fluid containing mattress 10 incorporating the features of the invention. The mattress 10 comprises a patient supporting portion 12 adapted to contain a fixed amount of a suitable fluid, such as water or oil. Associated with portion 12 are means 14 for changing the depth of the fluid. Means 14 comprises two pairs of air cells 16 and 18 respectively, each pair comprising a small diameter cell 20 and a larger diameter cell 22. The pairs of cells 16 and 18 extend longitudinally along the outer edges of the substantially rectangular mattress 10..
The small diameter cells 20 are individually and independently fillable as at sealable intakes 24. The larger diameter cells 22 have a common sealable intake 26. The interconnection between the: spaced apart larger diameter cells 22 is accomplished via formed pillow sections 28 and 30 which are positioned at the head end 32 and the foot end 34 of the mattress l0. The patient supporting portion 12 is provided with a fluid intake 36, which is, of course, sealable.
The under surface of mattress 1.0 is provided with at least two sets of straps 38 for attaching mattress 10 to a conventional mattress 40, such as is shown in FIG. 6.
While many forms of construction are possible, preferred embodiments are shown in FIGS. 2-7. Referring specifically to FIG. 7 it will be seen that mattress 10 is constructed of three sheets of a suitable material, such as vinyl of about 0.020 in thickness. The sheets are rectangular and substantially of the same size, that is, they conform to the size of a conventional hospital mattress, and a first sheet 42 forms the bottom of mattress 10. A second sheet 44 overlies the first sheet and is sealed thereto completely around the peripheral edge as at 45. Two longitudinal seals 46 and 48 are spaced inwardly from the longitudinal, peripheral seal a distance sufficient to form the required diameter of larger cell 22. Two transverse seals 50and 52 (see FIG. I) are spaced inwardly from the transverse peripheral seal a distance sufficient to form thepillow sections 28 and 30. The common jointure areas between seals 46, 48, 50, and 52 are provided with interconnecting air passages 54, which can be simple areas of no-seal containing therein hollow plastic tubes 56 of sufficient rigidity to resist deformation when the fluid portion of the mattress is filled.
A third sheet 58 overlies the first and second sheets and is sealed thereto about the peripheral edge. Two longitudinal seals 60 and 62 are consummated between the third sheet 58 and the second sheet 44, these seals being spaced inwardly from the peripheral seal a distance sufficient to form the smalldiameter cells 20. The remaining space 64 which exists between the cells provides the patient supporting portion 12 which will be filled with fluid.
Another embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 2-6. Herein, the only difference between the construction described above is the addition of a fourth sheet 66 which overlies the third sheet 58 and is sealed thereto at its peripheral edge 68. In this embodiment it is the space between the fourth sheet and the third sheet that is filled with fluid, the area 64 between the third and second sheets becoming a dead air space and serving as added protection against leaks.
In use, generally the small diameter air cells, which are called stabilizing cells, are inflated to their required height and the patient supporting portion 12 is'filled with the necessary amount fluid, such as water. For a v mattress conformed for use with a typical hospital mattress, the amount will be about 20 gallons. It should be here noted that while the discussions herein revolve about hospital size beds, there is no reason why the instant invention could not be made to conform to double, queen or king size beds if so desired.
With only the small air cells 20 inflated, the depth of the fluid will be about 2 inches. By inflating the larger diameter air cells 22 (see FIG. 5) the transverse width of the mattress 10 is shortened, thus raising the depth of the fluid to about 6 inches. The transverse shortening of the mattress provides considerable slack in the top sheet of the mattress, whether this be third sheet 58 of FIG. 7 or fourth sheet 66 of FIG. 5, insuring that a patient lying thereon is truly supported by the fluid with all of its concommitant benefits, such as equal support and low pressure.
In FIG. 6 is shown another advantage of the instant invention. Because of the provision of the inflatable air cells to contain the water or other fluid, this mattress will accommodate itself to the shape of the underlying mattress 40 thus allowing the head of the bed to be raised as shown.
The provision of the pillow sections 28 and also provide a firmer support for the head of the patient, thus reducing the tendency for critically ill patients to develop seasickness, a common occurrence with fluid ments as by the addition of one or longitudinal seals 31,
as shown in FIG. I.
An alternate construction of the mattress 10 is shown I in FIG. 8. Herein, the patient supporting portion 12 is provided with a widened area 13 adjacent the head end 15 of the mattress. The widened area 13 comprises two opposed sections 17a, 17b respectively, each having substantially the form of an elongated isosceles trapezoid. The trapezoidal sections are formed in the large diameter cells 22 thus reducing these cells somewhat at that particular area while simultaneously enlarging the liquid carrying patient supporting portion 12, thus providing increased width to accommodate the shoulders of a patient. The widened area is provided by forming the trapezoidal sections 17a, 17b in longitudinal seals 46, 48 respectively.
While there have been shown and described what are at present considered to be the preferred embodiments of the invention, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications can be made herein without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A mattress for use with bed-ridden patients comprising: a patient supporting portion containing a fixed amount of body supporting liquid and means associated with said patient supporting portion for changing the depth thereof without changing the amount of said fixed amount of liquid; said patient supporting portion having a head end and a foot end and being substantially rectangularin configuration and having a widened area comprised of two opposed sections each having the form of an elongated isosceles trapezoid adjacent said head end to accommodate the shoulder area of a patient; said rectangular patient support portion comprising a liquid-tight bag having at least one sealable fill opening; and wherein said means for changing the depth of said liquid comprises two pairs of air cells, each pair having a small diameter cell and a large diameter cell, one each of said pairs extending longitudinally along said rectangular bag and being operatively attached thereto, said widened areas being formed in said large diameter cells.
2. The mattress of claim I wherein a pillow section filled with air is provided at the head end and the foot end of said matress.
3. The mattress of claim 2 wherein said small diameter cells are individually and independently fillable with air and said larger diameter cells have a common fill position, the connection between said larger diameter cells being via said pillow sections whereby said pillow sections are inflated with said larger diameter cells.