CA2616329A1 - Providing mobility support - Google Patents

Providing mobility support Download PDF

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Publication number
CA2616329A1
CA2616329A1 CA 2616329 CA2616329A CA2616329A1 CA 2616329 A1 CA2616329 A1 CA 2616329A1 CA 2616329 CA2616329 CA 2616329 CA 2616329 A CA2616329 A CA 2616329A CA 2616329 A1 CA2616329 A1 CA 2616329A1
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CA
Canada
Prior art keywords
grab bar
support structure
base member
pivotable
sleeve
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
CA 2616329
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French (fr)
Inventor
Patricia M. Banks
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
Individual
Original Assignee
Individual
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Filing date
Publication date
Priority claimed from US11/740,686 external-priority patent/US20070186348A1/en
Application filed by Individual filed Critical Individual
Publication of CA2616329A1 publication Critical patent/CA2616329A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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Abstract

Aspects of the subject matter described herein relate to providing mobility support to assist people in maneuvering. In aspects, a support structure is coupled to a base to secure the support structure in an upstanding position. A grab bar is coupled to the support structure. When the grab bar is lifted substantially vertically from the support structure, the grab bar may be decoupled from the support structure. When the grab bar is lifted such that a horizontal component of force is applied against the support structure, the grab bar resists decoupling from the support structure. Other aspects are described in the Detailed Description.

Description

PROVIDING MOBILITY SUPPORT
BACKGROUND
[0001]As people get older, they are more susceptible to serious injuries that result from falling. In the United States and many other modern countries with aging populations, falls are a leading cause of death in older people. Most fatal falls occur while traversing uneven ground such as steps, curbs, and other uneven surfaces.
Falls associated with bed use (e.g., getting in and out of bed) are the second most common cause of fall deaths. Maneuvering in bathrooms is also difficult for many disabled or older people.

SUMMARY
[0002] Briefly, aspects of the subject matter described herein relate to providing mobility support to assist people in maneuvering. In aspects, a support structure is coupled to a base to secure the support structure in an upstanding position. A
grab bar is coupled to the support structure. When the grab bar is lifted substantially vertically from the support structure, the grab bar may be decoupled from the support structure. When the grab bar is lifted such that a horizontal component of force is applied against the support structure, the grab bar resists decoupling from the support structure.
[0003] This Summary is provided to briefly identify some aspects of the subject matter that is further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter.
[0004]The phrase "subject matter described herein" refers to subject matter described in the Detailed Description unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
The term "aspects" should be read as "at least one aspect." Identifying aspects of the subject matter described in the Detailed Description is not intended to identify key or essential features of the claimed subject matter.
[0005] The aspects described above and other aspects of the subject matter described herein are illustrated by way of example and not limited in the accompanying figures in which like reference numerals indicate similar elements and in which:

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
[0006] FIG. 1 is a view generally illustrating an exemplary device for providing support for mobility in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0007] FIG. 2A-2C are views illustrating some exemplary components that allow a grab bar of a support device to rotate in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0008] FIG. 3 illustrates another embodiment of a supporting device according to aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0009] FIGS. 4A-4D are views illustrating some exemplary components that may be used to restrict the range of rotation of a grab bar in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0010] FIG. 5A is a view illustrating another embodiment of a mobility support device in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0011] FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 5B--5B of FIG.
5A;
[0012] FIGS. 6A and 6B are views that illustrate a mobility device having a bi-stable hinge in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0013] FIGS. 6C and 6D are views that illustrate a mobility device having a hinge with a single stable resting point in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0014] FIGS. 7A-7C are views that illustrate some embodiments in which additional stability may be provided to the support device in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0015] FIGS. 8A-8F are views that illustrate exemplary embodiments for adjusting the height of the grab bar in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0016] FIG. 9A illustrates a support device that includes a table and a grab bar in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0017] FIG. 9B illustrates a two bar embodiment of a support device in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0018] FIG. 9C illustrates another two bar embodiment of a support device in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0019] FIGS. 10A illustrates a grab bar variation in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0020] FIG. 10B illustrates another grab bar variation in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0021] FIGS. 11A and 11 B illustrate an exemplary docking base according to aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0022] FIG. 12 is a view generally illustrating support devices that may be used in a bathroom in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0023] FIG. 13 is a view generally illustrating a support device that may be placed in another location in a bathroom to provide mobility support in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
[0024] FIG. 14 is a view generally illustrating two support devices that may be placed near a bed in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein;
and [0025] FIG. 15 is a view generally illustrating another configuration of support devices that may be used in a bathroom in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION
[0026] FIG. 1 is a view generally representing an exemplary device for providing support for mobility in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. As illustrated, the support device 100 is shown next to a bed 125. The bed 125 may be an electric or non-electric bed, a water bed, an air bed, or any other type of bed designed for people to sleep or rest on. In an embodiment, the support device 100 is designed specifically for use in home bed applications. In other embodiments, the support device 100 is designed specifically for use in hospital bed applications. In yet other embodiments, the support device 100 is designed for use in home and hospital bed applications.
[0027] In other embodiments, the support device 100 may be installed next to a couch, chair, table, shower or bathtub, counter, or other location at which support may be needed. In an embodiment, the support device 100 may include a grab bar 105, a sleeve 110, a stand 115, and a base 120.
[0028] In operation, someone lying on the bed 125 may grab the grab bar 105 to provide support for sitting up or otherwise maneuvering on the bed 125. The person may also use the grab bar 105 for support in getting into or out of the bed 125. In some embodiments, through mechanisms described in more detail in conjunction with FIGS. 2B, 4A-4D, 5A and 5B, and other FIGURES, the grab bar 105 may be secured rotationally so as to remain parallel to the bed 125 while it is being used for support. In one embodiment, the mechanisms that restrict rotation of the grab bar 105 may comprise one or more keys. A person using the support device 100 may allow rotation of the grab bar 105 by removing or unlocking one or more of the keys and may restrict rotation by installing or locking one or more of the keys.
The person may use these keys to allow the grab bar 105 to rotate within the sleeve 110 to provide support while the person moves away from the bed 125. In at least some embodiments, the grab bar 105 may rotate (e.g., pivot) freely without needing to be lifted.
[0029]As described in more detail in conjunction with FIGS. 2A - 2E, the support device 100 may be structured to allow for easy removal of the grab bar 105.
This may help in avoiding entrapment issues that other support devices may have. In entrapment, a person using a support device becomes trapped by the support device and may be unable to free him or herself. Entrapment can lead to death or injury.
[0030] In one embodiment, the base 120 of the support device 100 may be structured to be assembled using reconfigurable parts such that the support device 100 may be placed on the left, right, or near or at the center of the head of the bed 125. The grab bar 105 may be removed or rotated to be parallel or perpendicular to the head of the bed 125 when not in use. In an embodiment, a plurality of the support devices 100 may be placed on the left, right, and/or near the center of the head of the bed 125 in conjunction with providing bed mobility support.
[0031]Turning to FIG. 2A, in one embodiment, the bottom of the grab bar 105 may rest on a surface 205 within the sleeve 110. The grab bar 105 and the sleeve may be structured such that the grab bar 105 remains in (e.g., is coupled to) the sleeve 110 until the grab bar 105 is lifted substantially straight out of the sleeve 110.
As can be seen in FIG. 2A, the receiving hole 210 of the sleeve 110 may be formed to be slightly larger in diameter than the outer diameter of the sleeve 110.
The weight of the grab bar 105's handle may cause the inserted portion 215 of the grab bar 105 to form a slight angle from vertical within the sleeve 110. It has been found that this arrangement causes the grab bar 105 to resist removal (e.g., decoupling) from the sleeve 110 as long as the inserted portion 215 continues to exert a horizontal force against the sides of the sleeve 110. When, however, the grab bar 105 is lifted substantially vertically near the curve 220 of the grab bar 105, it is relatively easy to remove the grab bar 105 from the sleeve 110.
[0032] In one embodiment, this arrangement of the grab bar 105 and sleeve 110 forms a toolless decoupling mechanism in that a person may remove the grab bar 105 from the sleeve 110 without using a tool.
[0033] In one embodiment, it is believed that the resistance to removal results from frictional and gravity forces. For example, when an upward force that tends to pull the grab bar 105 substantially vertical is greater than frictional and gravity forces associated with the grab bar 105, the grab bar 105 may be removed from the sleeve 110.
[0034] Additional weight or upward pull along the length of the grab bar 105 that generates a component of force not parallel to the sleeve 110 may cause the grab bar portion 215 within the sleeve 110 to increase its resistance to vertical movement, thus providing an effective mechanism that stops the accidental removal of the grab bar 105 from the sleeve 110. For example, if a person using the grab bar 105 to get out of bed is unstable and yanks downward or upward on the grab bar 105, the yanking will not in most cases be such to remove the grab bar 105 from the sleeve 110. Rather, the yanking will, in most cases, cause a component of force not parallel to the sleeve 110 to increase the sleeve 110's resistance to vertical movement and avoid removal of the grab bar 105 from the sleeve 110.
[0035] Turning to FIG. 2B, the sleeve 110 may include a washer 225 and a screw 230 that may also be used to provide resistance to both upward and rotational movement of the grab bar 105. The washer 225 may be sized to be substantially in contact with a portion of the grab bar 105 inserted into the sleeve. In one embodiment, tightening or loosening the screw 230 causes the washer 225 to press more or less firmly against the grab bar 105 thus causing more or less resistance to upward and rotational movement of the grab bar 105. In another embodiment, the screw 230 may be used to contract or expand the inner diameter of the washer to cause the washer 225 to provide more or less resistance to upward and rotational movement of the grab bar 105.
[0036]A key 235 may be inserted through an opening 237 in the side of the sleeve 110 to restrict the range of rotational movement of the grab bar 105. The grab bar portion 215 inserted into the sleeve 110 may have a slot 240 cut out therein.
The sides of the slot 240 may engage with the key 235 to restrict rotational movement of the grab bar 105 to a selected range. By varying the width of the slot 240 of the grab bar 105, the range of rotation allowed by the key 235 may be changed. For example, a relatively thin slot may allow relatively little rotation of the grab bar 105 while a relatively wide slot may allow proportionally larger rotation of the grab bar 105.
[0037] In an embodiment, the rotation of the grab bar 105 may be entirely or substantially restricted. For example, if another key is inserted on another side of the sleeve (as illustrated in FIG. 4A) or the slot 240 in the grab bar portion 215 inserted into the sleeve 110 is made sufficiently small in width, the range of rotational movement of the grab bar 105 may be substantially zero degrees.
[0038] In other embodiments, other keys may be used to restrict the rotation of the grab bar 105. Some exemplary keys include those available from McMaster-CarrO
and having part numbers 1226BA51, 12265A53, 80625A32, 80625A34, 12265A55, 12265A57, 80625A36, 80625138, and other similar keys may be affixed to the sleeve 110 to engage with the grab bar 105 to restrict its rotation. These part numbers were shown in a catalog available from McMaster-Carr at the time of the filing of the parent of this application.
[0039] FIG. 2C illustrates another embodiment of a support device according to aspects of the subject matter described herein. In this embodiment, the grab bar 245 may attach to the sleeve 250 (which may no longer have a hole therein to receive the grab bar 245) through the use of a hinge 255 that allows the grab bar 245 to rotate.
The hinge 255 may utilize a pin (similar to that shown in FIG. 2D) to allow the grab bar 105 to be decoupled from the sleeve 110 [0040] FIG. 2D illustrates an exemplary hinge for coupling a grab bar to a sleeve according to aspects of the subject matter described herein. In one embodiment, the hinge 265 may not allow for easy removal of the grab bar from the sleeve. In this embodiment, the pin 260 securing the hinge 265 may need a special tool, sufficient strength, or expertise to be removed. In another embodiment, the hinge may include a hidden pin 260 that is not readily discernable to a person with dementia or the like.
This may be used to make it more difficult for such a person to decouple the grab bar from the sleeve.
[0041] FIG. 2E illustrates another exemplary hinge for coupling a grab bar to a stand.
By lifting up the leaf 275 of the hinge 270, the leaves of the hinge 275 may be separated. By attaching a grab bar to the leaf 275, a stable support device with an easily removed grab bar may be constructed.
[0042] FIG. 3 illustrates another embodiment of a supporting device according to aspects of the subject matter described herein. In this embodiment, the stand may be welded into a set configuration. The stand 305 may include multiple sets of bottom leaves (e.g., bottom leaves 310 and 311 and bottom leaves 315 and 316) to allow for more than one grab bar 320 to be attached to the stand simultaneously or to allow a height adjustment of the grab bar 320. The grab bar 320 may have a rotation stop 325 that restricts the rotational movement of the grab bar 105.
In addition, the stand 305 may have a grab bar storage attachment 330 for storing the grab bar 320 when not in use. The grab bar 320 may have a hole in the end 335 allowing the grab bar 320 to be placed on the grab bar storage attachment 330.
[0043]The supporting device 300 may include a surface 340 upon which a foot of a bed may be placed. This may be done, for example, to increase the stability and decrease the lateral and tipping movement of the supporting device 300. The support legs 345 and 346 may also provide additional stability.
[0044]Turning to FIG. 4A, as described previously, the keys 235 and 405 may be used to restrict the rotational movement of the grab bar 105 to substantially zero degrees or some other range of rotation.
[0045] FIG. 4B illustrates another example of a mechanism that may be used to restrict rotational movement of the grab bar in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. A structural member 410 having cutouts 415 and 420 may be formed to slide within the sleeve 110 at either of two orientations. The range of rotation for the grab bar 105 may be changed depending on the width of the cutouts 415 and 420 and the width of the slot 240 on the grab bar 105. To quickly change between two different ranges of rotation, the structural member 410 may be removed from the sleeve 110 and turned over such that the other cutout engages the edges of the slot 240 of the grab bar 105.
[0046] FIG. 4C illustrates another example of a mechanism that may be used to restrict rotational movement of the grab bar in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. The grab bar 440 may have a rotation stop 425 attached thereto that engages with a collar 430 attached to the sleeve 435. When the rotation stop 425 engages with a side of the collar 430, it stops the rotation of the grab bar 440 in that direction. In an embodiment, the gap of the collar 430 may be fixed at construction time to determine the rotational range of the grab bar 440. In another embodiment, the gap of the collar 430 may be varied dynamically after construction (e.g., through pins, cutouts, or the like) to change the rotational range of the grab bar 440. In various embodiments, the grab bar 440 may have a slot similar to the slot 240 of FIG. 2B.
[0047] FIG. 4D illustrates another example of a mechanism that may be used to restrict rotational movement of the grab bar in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. A hinge 445 that couples the grab bar 450 to the sleeve 455 may have a rotation stop 460 that restricts rotation of the grab bar 450 to a certain range of rotation. The grab bar 450 may rotated on the hinge 445 until it engages with the rotation stop 460 at which point it may rotate no further in that direction. The rotational range of the grab bar 105 may be varied by changing the dimensions of the rotation stop 460 as appropriate.
[0048] FIG. 5A is a view illustrating another embodiment of a mobility support device in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. In an embodiment, the sleeve (e.g., sleeve 110 of FIG. 1) is replaced with a heavy gauge tubing 505 (hereinafter sleeve 525) that is part of the stand used to receive and support the grab bar 510.
[0049] In an embodiment, a pin 515 may be inserted through both sides of the sleeve 525 and through a groove in the grab bar 510. The radial dimensions of the groove determine the rotational range of the grab bar 510. In addition, the pin 515 provides additional support for keeping the grab bar 510 in the sleeve 110.
[0050] In another embodiment, the pin 515 may not extend all the way through both sides of the grab bar 510. Rather the pin 515 may extend into one side of the grab bar 510. In this embodiment, the rotational range of the grab bar 510 may also be increased or decreased by changing the radial size of the groove.
[0051]The bottom of the grab bar 510 may rest on a surface created by the pin 520.
The sleeve 525 may have multiple holes in the side thereof sized to fit the pin 520.
By moving the pin 520 to various of the holes, the height of the grab bar 510 may be changed.
[0052] The grab bar 510 may have multiple grooves 530-535 to allow for changing the height of the grab bar 510 so that the pin 515 may be reinserted into the grab bar 510 after the height has been changed.
[0053] The sleeve 525 may have a rubberized liner 540 or some other resistive surface to provide additional resistance to rotational and vertical movement of the grab bar 510.
[0054] FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 5B-5B of FIG.
5A. As shown, the two grooves 545 and 550 may extend around the grab bar to provide rotational range for the grab bar 510 when the pin 515 is inserted through the grab bar 510.
[0055] FIGS. 6A and 6B are views that illustrate a mobility device having a bi-stable hinge in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. With springs or other suitable mechanisms, the hinge 605 is structured to have two stable resting points. When the grab bar 610 is rotated away from one of the resting points, the mechanism provides a restoration force that tends to rotate the grab bar back to the resting point to which it is closest. For example, it may be desired to have one resting point correspond to having the grab bar 610 parallel to the bed and another resting point correspond to having the grab bar 610 perpendicular to the bed.
In this embodiment, after a person releases the grab bar after use, the grab bar 610 tends to come to rest either next to the bed or next to the wall.
[0056] By appropriately sizing the restoration mechanism, the restoration force may be adjusted to be stronger or weaker as desired. In other embodiments, if available, a hinge with one, three, or more stable resting points may be substituted for the hinge 605.
[0057] FIGS. 6C and 6D are views that illustrate a gravity hinge that tends to restore the grab bar to a single resting point after being released in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. The hinge 615 may be formed using an inclined ramp around the pin 620 such that by rotating the grab bar 625, potential energy is transferred to the grab bar 625 in the form of the grab bar 625 having a greater height. When the grab bar 625 is released, gravity may then pull the upper portion of the hinge 615 down the inclined ramp to return the grab bar 625 to a resting point where the upper portion of the hinge 6615 is at the bottom of the inclined ramp.
[0058]To this end, FIG. 6C shows the grab bar 625 in a position where the grab bar 625 has been rotated away from its resting point. This is indicated by the increased height of the grab bar 625 as well as the gap 630 between the lower and upper leaves of the hinge 615. FIG. 6D shows the grab bar 625 at its resting point.
This is indicated by the lowered height (with respect to FIG. 6C) of the grab bar 625 as well as the absence of a gap between the leaves of the hinge 615.
[0059] In an embodiment, the hinge 615 may be fitted with a mechanism that restricts rotation past the top of the incline. This may be done to avoid an abrupt drop of the grab bar 625 as the bar is rotated up the inclined ramp until it falls back to the no-gap position.
[0060] FIGS. 7A-7C are views that illustrate various embodiments in which additional stability may be provided to the support device in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. Turning to FIG. 7A, the base of a support device may have a surface 705 constructed to rest under a foot 710 the bed. If the foot 710 the bed is at another location on the bed such that it does not rest on the surface 705, a"false" foot may be attached to the bed frame and placed upon the surface 705. In this manner, the weight of the bed may assist in providing stability to the support device.
[0061] In addition, other structural members 715 and 720 may be formed to wrap around the bed frame. These other structural members 715 and 720 may be attached to the support device through bolts and nuts, for example.
[0062] Turning to FIG. 7B, a support leg 725 may slide within a support sleeve 730.
The support leg 725 may be positioned depending on which side of the bed the support device 100 is positioned. To hide the support leg 725 from view, for example, the support leg 725 may be slid under the bed. Once the support leg is positioned at a desired location, the support leg 725 may be fixed in place by bolts, pins, or the like passing through the support sleeve 730 into the support leg 725.
Screws may pass through the holes 735-742 and into a structural framing member of a wall (e.g., a plate) or floor to firmly affix the support leg to a particular location and provide added stability to the support device 100.
[0063] In addition to, or in lieu of, attaching the support leg to the wall or floor, the base plate 745 may be screwed into the floor at various locations to provide additional stability to the support device.
[0064]Turning to FIG. 7C, to attach directly to odd-sized beds or movable beds including hospital beds, an attachment member 750 may be used. The attachment member 750 may be attached to the stand 755. In an embodiment, the support device 760 may not have a base member to attach the support device to the floor or wall. Rather, the support device 760 may be secured to the bed through the attachment member 750 only. In this manner, the support device 760 may move with the bed which may be particularly helpful for hospital beds and other mobile beds, for example.
[0065] FIGS. 8A-8F are views that illustrate exemplary embodiments for adjusting the height of the grab bar in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. Turning to FIGS. 8A and 8B, the sleeve 110 and stand 115 may have holes that allow a pin 805 to be inserted therein. By removing the pin 805, the height of the sleeve 110 may be adjusted by aligning holes within the stand 115 with holes within the sleeve 110. After the desired height is found, the pin 805 may be reinserted into the stand 115 and sleeve 110 to fix the height of the grab bar 105.
[0066]Turning to FIGS. 8C and 8D, a screw mechanism 807 may be inserted into the sleeve 815 to provide a surface 820 upon which to rest the bottom edge of the grab bar 105. To adjust the height of the grab bar 105, the screw mechanism may be removed from the sleeve 815 and lengthened or shortened by rotating the screw 825 while holding the screw sleeve 810 fixed. The screw mechanism 807 may then be reinserted into the sleeve 815 and the grab bar 105 placed thereon to change the height.
[0067] In FIGS. 8E and 8F, a hydraulic mechanism 830 may raise or lowers a surface upon which the bottom edge of the grab bar 105 rests to change the height of the grab bar 105. The hydraulic mechanism 830 may include a lever 835, switch, or the like to cause lowering or raising.
[0068] In an embodiment, the hydraulic mechanism 830 may form a stand or be placed at the bottom of the stand into which a sleeve such as the sleeve 110 of FIG.
1 may be placed. In this embodiment, the hydraulic mechanism 830 may raise or lower the receiving surface of the stand to raise or lower the height of the sleeve and consequently the grab bar 105.
[0069] In other embodiments, a pneumatic or electric mechanism may be substituted in place of the hydraulic mechanism 830 to raise or lower the grab bar 105.
[0070] FIG. 9A illustrates a support device that includes a table and a grab bar in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. The table 905 may include a collar 910 that slips over a sleeve collar 915 that receives the grab bar 105.

The table 905 and the grab bar 105 may rotate independently of each other and may have the same or different ranges of rotation. The grab bar 105 may operate as described previously with respect to single grab bar embodiments in allowing for height adjustment, easy removing of the grab bar, restriction of rotation of the grab bar, and so forth.
[0071] FIG. 9B illustrates a two bar embodiment of a support device in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. The grab bars 105 and 920 operate as described above in conjunction with FIG. 9A with one of the bars taking the place of the table 905. As described previously in conjunction with FIG.
3, in another embodiment, the hinge structure of FIG. 3 may also be used to provide support for two bars at different heights.
[0072] FIG. 9C illustrates another two bar embodiment of a support device in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. The support device 925 may have a first sleeve 110 and stand 115 that provides support for a first grab bar 105 at a first height. The support device 925 may also have a second sleeve 930 inserted into a stand 935 that is secured to a wall 945 via screws, bolts, or other fasteners at a height different than the first stand 115. Together, the sleeves 930 and 110 and stands 935 and 115 allow two grab bars 105 and 940 to assist a person in getting into or out of bed or maneuvering thereon. Each of the sleeves 110 and 930 cooperating with the stands 115 and 935, respectively, may function as described previously with respect to single grab bar embodiments in allowing for height adjustment, easy removing of the grab bar, restriction of rotation of the grab bar, and so forth.
[0073] In another embodiment, a plurality of hinge leaves similar to the bottom leaves 310, 311, 315, and 316 of FIG. 3 may be mounted on the wall. A grab bar suitable for use with these hinges may be used for mobility support.
[0074] FIGS. 10A illustrates a grab bar embodiment in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. Turning to FIG. 10A, an adjustable extension 1005 may be inserted into the end 1010 of the grab bar 1015. The adjustable extension 1005 may rotate at fixed increments about a point 1020 of rotation such that the adjustable extension 1005 tends to remain at an angle of rotation until sufficient force is applied to move the adjustable extension 1005 to another angle.
One exemplary embodiment of a hinge allowing fixed increments is described in U.S.
Patent Number 5,662,596 to David Ernest Young, entitled "TRUE BI-PIVOTAL
ORTHOPEDIC AND ORTHOTIC HINGE WITH INCREMENTAL MOTION
CONTROL," which patent is hereby incorporated by reference with regards to its teachings regarding this hinge.
[0075] Alternatively, a button, pin, or the like, may lock the adjustable extension 1005 at a particular angle. Until the button is depressed, the pin removed, or some other action is taken to unlock the adjustable extension 1005, the angle may remain fixed.
After this action occurs, the angle of the adjustable extension 1005 may be changed until the button, pin, or the like is again used to lock the angle of the adjustable extension 1005.
[0076]The adjustable extension 1005 may comprise a tube that is inserted into the grab bar 1015. The adjustable extension 1005 may be secured to the grab bar through a pin, bolt, or the like. The adjustable extension 1005 may have holes in the tube through which the pin may be inserted to vary the extension length of the adjustable extension 1005.
[0077] FIG. 10B illustrates another grab bar embodiment in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. The grab bar 105 may include a handle that extends perpendicular to the length of the grab bar 1030. This handle 1025 may provide additional support for people using the support device 100 for mobility support.
[0078] FIGS. 11A and 11 B illustrate an exemplary docking base according to aspects of the subject matter described herein. The docking base 1105 may be secured to a floor 1110 and have a sleeve 1115 to receive a stand 1120. The stand 1120 may include a spring-loaded ball 1125 that engages with a hole in the sleeve 1115 to secure the stand 1120 to the sleeve 1115. To remove the stand 1120 from the sleeve 1115, a button 1130 may be pressed which pushes the ball 1125 into the interior of the stand 1120 and disengages the ball 1125 from the hole.
[0079] It will be recognized by those skilled in the art that many other quick-release mechanism may be used as a docking base to obtain the function described above.
In one embodiment, for example, a docking base may be installed such as to be substantially flush with the floor surface. For example, a plate having an appropriate sized sleeve may be fastened to the floor. A lever or button on the stand may be used to disengage the stand from the sleeve. A cap may be placed on the sleeve of the docking base when it is not supporting a stand for aesthetics or safety, for example.
[0080] In another embodiment, a docking base may be installed next to a wall surface. For example, referring to FIG. 9C, the stand 935 fastened to the wall may serve as a docking base in which to place a grab bar. In yet another embodiment, a docking base that is fastened to, embedded in, or otherwise attached or secured to the wall may include a mechanism for attaching to the stand 935.
In this configuration, the docking base may provide solid support to the stand without having a component of the docking station on the floor. The mechanism for attaching the stand 935 to the docking base may comprise a quick-release mechanism that allows the stand 935 to be readily attached and removed.
[0081]As another embodiment, struts may be fastened to the floor and the stand may have components to slide into the struts and to fix the location of the stand.
Some exemplary struts and associated hardware that may be used in this way are available as part numbers 3533T*, 3545T*, 3190T*, 32525T*, and 1819T* from McMaster-Carr@) where "*" stands for one or more other alphanumeric characters.
These parts are shown on page 1400 of a catalog available from McMaster-Carr at the time of the filing of the parent of this application. In an embodiment, fixing the location of the components that slide into the strut may be performed by rotating one of the components and/or the entire stand after sliding the component into the strut.
This rotation may lock the component at a fixed location within the strut.
[0082] FIG. 12 is a view generally illustrating support devices that may be used in a bathroom in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. As mentioned previously, a support device (such as the support device 1200) may be placed in a location at which support may be needed. One such location is next to a toilet 1205. The support device 1200 may include a base 1210 that is shaped to be placed next to the toilet 1205. The base may include holes (not shown) through which fasteners may be placed to secure the base to the floor or wall.
[0083] In an embodiment, a sleeve 1215 may be made of tubular metal or another composite or substance and may allow for height adjustment as previously described. As shown the grab bar 1225 includes a rotational stop 1220 like the rotational stop 425 of FIG. 4C, although in other embodiments, the grab bar may include other mechanisms for restricting the rotational movement of the grab bar as described previously.
[0084] The support device 1200 may be equipped with a mechanism with a stable resting point such that the grab bar 1225 tends to remain perpendicular to the wall 1230. This may be done, for example, to keep the bar within easy reach of a person who may use the bar to get on and off the toilet 1205. Such mechanisms have been described previously with respect to FIGS. 6A-6D.
[0085] In some embodiments, the support device 1200 operates similarly to support devices described previously with a difference being the location of the support device 1200 (i.e., in a bathroom).
[0086] In one embodiment, the support device 1200 may be by itself (i.e., without other similar support devices) in the bathroom. In another embodiment, however, another support device 1235 may be mounted on the wall 1240 to provide additional support for gefting on and off the toilet 1205. The grab bar 1245 may be shortened and include a modified end 1250 to provide a vertical end to grab for a person maneuvering on or off the toilet 1205.
[0087]Also note, that in one embodiment, the grab bar 1245 may be shorter than the grab bar 1225 and may have two or more stable resting points (e.g., against the wall and extended towards the toilet). In other aspects, the support device 1235 may operate as the support devices described previously.
[0088] FIG. 13 is a view generally illustrating a support device that may be placed in another location in a bathroom to provide mobility support in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. As can be seen, the support device 1200 may be placed between a toilet 1205 and a bathtub 1310 to provide support for maneuvering to, from, on, and around the toilet 1205 and the bathtub 1310. The grab bar 1225 may be adapted to extend to the toilet 1205 and the bathtub 1310 and to provide support to the person when getting on or off the toilet 1205 and in or out of or otherwise maneuvering with respect to the bathtub 1310.
[0089] FIG. 14 is a view generally illustrating two support devices that may be placed near a bed in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein.
The two support devices 1405 and 1410 may be placed at the head and foot of the bed 1415 to provide support for a person maneuvering onto, off, or on the bed.
Note that the two support devices 1405 and 1410 allow for extra support while still allowing a person to freely get his or her legs into and out of bed without a barrier.
[0090] In addition, the support devices 1405 and 1410 (and especially 1410) may be used for rehabilitation exercises. The support devices 1405 and 1410 operate and may be configured as to range of motion, heights, resting points, and so forth as described previously with respect to the support devices mentioned herein without departing from aspects of the subject matter described herein.
[0091] FIG. 15 is a view generally illustrating another configuration of support devices that may be used in a bathroom in accordance with aspects of the subject matter described herein. The support device 1500 is similar to the support device 1200 of FIG. 12 but also includes an arm rest 1505 and a different grab bar end 1510.
[0092]The arm rest 1505 may be fastened onto (e.g., with straps), integrated into, or otherwise attached to the grab bar and provide support for the arm of a person while getting on and/or off of the toilet 1205. The arm rest 1505 may be constructed such that it is capable of bearing a substantial portion or all of the weight of a person. The arm rest 1505 may include a rubberized, foam, or other surface for a person to put his or her arm on. The arm rest 1505 may be form-fitted to have a shape comfortable to a person's arm. The arm rest 1505 may be detachable or fixed in placed as desired.
[0093]As can be seen from the foregoing detailed description, aspects have been described related to providing mobility support. While aspects of the subject matter described herein are susceptible to various modifications and alternative constructions, certain illustrated embodiments thereof are shown in the drawings and have been described above in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intention to limit aspects of the claimed subject matter to the specific forms disclosed, but on the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, alternative constructions, and equivalents falling within the spirit and scope of various aspects of the subject matter described herein.

Claims (24)

1. A device for assisting a person to maneuver in a bathroom, the device comprising:

a support structure having a first and a second end, the first end adapted to couple to a base member to secure the support structure in a substantially vertical orientation; and a pivotable grab bar adapted to couple to the second end of the support structure, the pivotable grab bar having a toolless decoupling mechanism to decouple the grab bar from the support structure, the pivotable grab bar being adapted to rotate within a set range while coupled to the support structure.
2. The device of claim 1, wherein the base member is adapted to be fastened to a floor of the bathroom via screws that extend into the floor.
3. The device of claim 1, wherein the base member comprises a docking station adapted to extend into the floor, the docking stating including a hole adapated to receive the support structure.
4. The device of claim 1, wherein the base member is adapated to be fastened between a toilet and a bathtub and wherein the pivotable grab bar is adapted to extend to the toilet and the bathtub and to provide support to the person when getting on or off the toilet and in or out of the bathtub.
5. The device of claim 1, wherein the base member comprises a plate with holes therein, the holes sized to receive fasteners to secure the base member to a floor of the bathroom.
6. The device of claim 1, wherein the toolless decoupling mechanism comprises a weight of and a friction associated with the pivotable grab bar that must be overcome to decouple the grab bar from the support structure, the toolless decoupling mechanism adapted to increase the friction when a force upon the pivotable grab bar causes an increase in horizontal force on the support structure.
7 The device of claim 1, wherein the support structure includes a height adjustment mechanism to adjust the height of the grab bar.
8 The device of claim 1, wherein the set range comprises substantially zero degress.
9 The device of claim 1, wherein the set range comprises substantially one hundred and eighty degrees.
10. The device of claim 1, wherein the set range comprises substantially three hundred and sixty degrees.
11. The device of claim 1, wherein the base member is adapted to be fastened to a wall of the bathroom via screws that extend into the wall.
12. The device of claim 11, wherein the pivotable grab bar includes an hand hold end adapted to extends vertically when the pivotable grab bar is coupled to the second end of the support structure, the hand hold structured to provide a vertical gripping surface for a person sitting on a toilet next to the device.
13. The device of claim 1, further comprising an arm rest connected to the pivotable grab bar, the arm rest providing a surface for an arm of a person, the surface capable of supporting a subtantial portion or all of a weight of the person.
14. The device of claim 13, wherein the arm rest includes a rubberized surface.
15. A method for installing one or more devices to assist a person in manuevering in a bathroom, the method comprising:

securing a base member to a floor of the bathroom;

attaching a support structure to the base member to place the support structure in a substantially vertical orientation; and providing a pivotable grab adapted to couple to the support structure, the pivotable grab bar having a toolless decoupling mechanism to decouple the grab bar from the support structure.
16. The method of claim 15, wherein the pivotable grab bar is adapted to rotate within a set range while coupled to the support structure.
17. The method of claim 15, further comprising inserting a sleeve into the support structure, the sleeve structured to receive a portion of the pivotable grab bar to couple the grab bar to the support structure.
18. The method of claim 17, further comprising inserting the portion of the grab bar into the sleeve.
19. The method of claim 15, further comprising securing another support structure to a wall of the bathroom, the other support structure in a subjstantially vertical orientation, the other support structure adapted to couple to the pivotable grab or another pivotable grab bar having a structure of the pivotable grab bar.
20. The method of claim 15, wherein securing the base member to the floor of the bathroom comprises securing the base member to an area of the floor between a toilet and a shower such that the pivotable grab bar when coupled to the support structure is capable of reaching near or to the toilet and the shower.
21. A device for assisting a person to maneuver near a bed, the device comprising:

a base member structured to abut next to a floor next to a foot of the bed, a support structure having a first and a second end, the first end adapted to couple to a base member to secure the support structure in a substantially vertical orientation; and a pivotable grab bar adapted to couple to the second end of the support structure, the pivotable grab bar having a toolless decoupling mechanism to decouple the grab bar from the support structure, the pivotable grab bar being adapted to rotate within a set range while coupled to the support structure
22. The device of claim 21, wherein the base member includes a support surface upon which weight from the bed may be placed to provide additional stability to the device.
23. The device of claim 21, wherein the the base member is substantially under the bed and has a sufficient portion not under the bed to couple to the support structure.
24. The device of claim 21, wherein the the grab bar is structured to rotate in a range of motion around the foot of the bed to assist a person in rehabilitation excercises.
CA 2616329 2007-04-26 2008-02-01 Providing mobility support Abandoned CA2616329A1 (en)

Applications Claiming Priority (2)

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US11/740,686 2007-04-26
US11/740,686 US20070186348A1 (en) 2005-09-01 2007-04-26 Providing mobility support

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Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
CN109248036A (en) * 2018-11-15 2019-01-22 冷燕侠 Multi-functional upper limbs acra support device

Cited By (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
CN109248036A (en) * 2018-11-15 2019-01-22 冷燕侠 Multi-functional upper limbs acra support device

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