ENVELOPE FOR A BED HAVING SIDE RAILS
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates to beds having side rails. More particularly, the invention is directed to a device for preventing injuries from occurring to bed occupants mainly because they or their appendages become lodged in a space or gap which exists or is created between the bed's fixed or movable side rails and the bed mattress, or mattress support.
Hospitals, nursing homes, institutions and like patient care establishments utilize beds which typically have vertically movable side rails to prevent patients from falling out of beds, and to facilitate, for example, cleaning, removing and replacing bed sheets, mattresses and patients. When the movable side rails are raised and set in their normal working position, the lowermost side rails of even the best beds are in a horizontal position at or just above the upper plane of the mattress. In those instances where the lowermost side rail is above the plane of the mattress, even when the mattress is properly aligned, a hazardous space or gap exists between the mattress and lowermost side rail. Misalignment of 2j the mattress increases the gap. When the lowermost side rail is at or below the upper plane of an aligned mattress, a hazardous gap is created by mattress misalignment or by downward patient pressure on the mattress edge.
It is too well known that because of these bed constructions and spaces or gaps, whether or not due to askew mattresses, bed occupants or patients who are asleep, or cannot control or do not realize the significance of their movements, particularly the elderly, physically handicapped, mentally ill, restless or confused, often injure themselves when their bodies, arms, legs or chests become lodged between the bed side rails, or more commonly between a bed side rail and the bed, mattress or mattress support. Such patients needlessly 40 suffer pressure marks, bruises, dislocated, fractured or broken bones, or still worse, their heads and/or necks become lodged, they lose conciousness and all too often, they thereafter live in a permanent state of vegetation.
A successful but often cruel and otherwise unnecessary means of preventing such injuries has been the use of straight jackets and other appendage restraint means which are fastened to the bed.
A recently devised, more humane means for preventing these injuries is a mattress sling disclosed in copending U.S. Application Ser. No. 021,913 now U.S. Pat. No. 4,232,415. While this device has been successfully employed, there is a need for an improved device which is more economical and is easier to install, use and remove.
It is a main object of this invention to provide such an improved device for preventing the above-described and other injuries from occurring.
Another object of this invention is to provide a device for stabilizing and maintaining a mattress in proper position on a bed having side rails so that a bed occupant is prevented from being exposed to a dangerous gap or space between lower bed side rails, and the bed, mattress, or mattress support.
Another object is to meet the above objectives with a device which provides a bed occupant with freedom of movement, ventilation and visibility.
Still another object is to meet the above objectives with a device which is inexpensive to construct and maintain, and, in relation to a bed and its side rails, is easy to install, use and remove.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the envelope of this invention.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view with portions broken away and portions partially in section, showing the envelope of FIG. 1 in use on the side rails of a conventional hospital bed.
FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary cross sectional view with portions broken away, taken substantially along line 3—3 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the envelope of this invention.
FIG. 5 is an enlarged fragmentary sectional view similar to FIG. 3, as would be taken through the envelope of FIG. 4 were it covering the side rails of a bed.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE
Referring to the drawings in detail, FIG. 1 shows a preferred embodiment of the envelope of this invention, generally designated 10, adapted for use with a bed having a mattress support and one or more substantially horizontal side rails vertically spaced or removed from the upper plane of a mattress placed on the mattress support. Envelope 10 is open and is comprised of an enveloping portion 12, adapted to fit over one or more of the vertically spaced side rails, and a flap 14 extending from the enveloping portion, and adapted to be positioned under a mattress between the mattress and mattress support. More particularly, enveloping portion 12 has an inner sheet 16, an outer sheet 18, top and side edge portions respectively designated 20,22 and 24, and inner and outer sheet bottom edges respectively designated 26,28 which define between them envelope opening O (see FIG. 3). The inner and outer sheets are closed along their corresponding respective top and side edge portions. In the preferred embodiment shown, enveloping portion 12 is a continuous sheet of meshed or netting material which is folded in half and has its respective juxtaposed side edge portions attached or secured together by suitable means such as stitching 30, 32. Depending from inner sheet 16, preferably as a continuation thereof along what for purposes of explanation is a fold line defining inner sheet bottom edge 26, is flap 14 having means, for example pairs of ties 36, 38 attached thereto preferably at positions along its remote edge portion 34, more preferably, at least near the corners of the flap for securing or attaching the flap to a mattress support in a manner that prevents the mattress from shifting out of its proper position thereon, and prevents the bed occupant or his or her appendage from becoming lodged between two side rails and/or between the lowermost of the one or more vertically spaced side rails and the mattress or mattress support. Envelope 10 can be provided with slits represented by dotted lines S' near the longitudinal head and foot ends of flap 14, for example, as shown adjacent and along inner sheet bottom edge 26 at or along the junction of or the fold line between inner sheet 16 and flap 14, for passing patient care apparatus therethrough.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing envelope 10 of FIG. 1 in working position on a bed generally designated 40, which is typical of beds commonly used in