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US20090044332A1 - Height adjustable patient support platforms - Google Patents

Height adjustable patient support platforms Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090044332A1
US20090044332A1 US12001675 US167507A US20090044332A1 US 20090044332 A1 US20090044332 A1 US 20090044332A1 US 12001675 US12001675 US 12001675 US 167507 A US167507 A US 167507A US 20090044332 A1 US20090044332 A1 US 20090044332A1
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Prior art keywords
platform
support
patient
lift
bed
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
US12001675
Inventor
Douglas E. Parsell
Mark E. Rodgers
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Bee Cave LLC
Original Assignee
Valence Broadband Inc
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61GTRANSPORT OR ACCOMODATION FOR PATIENTS; OPERATING TABLES OR CHAIRS; CHAIRS FOR DENTISTRY; FUNERAL DEVICES
    • A61G7/00Beds specially adapted for nursing; Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons
    • A61G7/05Parts, details or accessories of beds
    • A61G7/053Aids for getting into, or out of, bed, e.g. steps, chairs, cane-like supports
    • A61G7/0533Lifting poles
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B5/00Detecting, measuring or recording for diagnostic purposes; Identification of persons
    • A61B5/103Detecting, measuring or recording devices for testing the shape, pattern, colour, size or movement of the body or parts thereof, for diagnostic purposes
    • A61B5/11Measuring movement of the entire body or parts thereof, e.g. head or hand tremor, mobility of a limb
    • A61B5/1113Local tracking of patients, e.g. in a hospital or private home
    • A61B5/1115Monitoring leaving of a patient support, e.g. a bed or a wheelchair
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61GTRANSPORT OR ACCOMODATION FOR PATIENTS; OPERATING TABLES OR CHAIRS; CHAIRS FOR DENTISTRY; FUNERAL DEVICES
    • A61G7/00Beds specially adapted for nursing; Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons
    • A61G7/002Beds specially adapted for nursing; Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons having adjustable mattress frame
    • A61G7/012Beds specially adapted for nursing; Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons having adjustable mattress frame raising or lowering of the whole mattress frame

Abstract

The present invention relates to systems and methods for height adjusting patient support platforms, such as, for example, of a bed (e.g., the mattress support platform of a standard hospital bed with side rails), gurney, couch, chair, or recliner, to which a patient may be confined. The systems and methods are designed to lower the height of a patient support platform at least closer (and essentially all the way) to floor level in a relatively quick and controlled manner to reduce fall distances. Lowering the height of a patient support platform corresponding reduces the likelihood and significance of patient injuries resulting from falls when a patient attempts to exit the patient support platform.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/964,415, entitled “Rapidly Height Adjusting Safety Bed”, filed on Aug. 13, 2007. This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/987,137, entitled “Methods And Systems For Monitoring Patient Support Exiting And Initiating Response”, filed on Nov. 12, 2007.
  • BACKGROUND 1. Background and Relevant Art
  • [0002]
    Healthcare facilities provide clinical and/or wellness health care for patients and/or residents (hereinafter collectively referred to as “patients”) residing at such facilities. Hospitals and medical clinics provide clinical health care. Assisted living and nursing homes focus primarily on wellness health care. Other types of facilities, such as, for example, rehabilitation centers, provide significant client and wellness heath care. Although patient health, safety and general well being are or should be paramount concerns for all medical and assisted living facilities, the current standard of care for these facilities does not always ensure adequate safety and care of the patient or resident.
  • [0003]
    Most facilities provide at least some physical monitoring and supervision of patients to ensure they are receiving proper nutrition and medicines, are kept clean, and protected from physical injury. Many facilities include a central station (e.g., a nurse station) that functions as a primary gathering and dispatch location for caregivers. From time to time, at specified intervals, or in response to a patient or resident request, a caregiver can move from the central station to a patient's location (e.g., room) and monitor or provide appropriate care.
  • [0004]
    One area of critical concern is preventing or reducing the incidence of patient falls, which can occur in a variety of circumstance but which commonly result from unauthorized or unassisted bed exiting, wheelchair exiting, and wheelchair to bed transfer. Falls often occur due to the inability of health care facilities to provide continuous, direct supervision of patients. In many cases it may not be feasible to provide round the clock supervision of every patient due to financial and/or logistical restraints. However, without continuous direct supervision there is often no way for a health care provider to know when a particular patient may be engaging in behavior which places them at a high risk for a fall.
  • [0005]
    Notwithstanding the need to provide continuous supervision to prevent patient falls and injury, the United States, Europe, Japan and other parts of the world are currently experiencing a serious shortage of nurses, nursing assistants, doctors, and other caregivers. The shortage of caregivers will only worsen with continued aging of the U.S., European, Japanese and other populations. As the patient to caregiver ratio of a facility increases, the incidence of patient falls is also likely to increase as more patients are left unattended.
  • [0006]
    Thus, various different monitoring mechanisms have been used to detect movements and/or positions of a patient indicative of subsequent bed exiting. One example of an automated patient monitoring system is fixing an electric eye or camera on a location near where a patient is lying. An alarm might sound if a line or plane is broken by the patient. Another example involves devices that detect patient motion. Yet another proposes comparing successive images of a patient to determine patient acceleration and relative location. One particularly creative patient monitoring system claims to be able to monitor and interpret a wide variety of patient movements, including patient falls, by taking and analyzing 3-dimensional images of a patient. Of course, once the patient has already fallen, intervention to prevent the fall is impossible.
  • [0007]
    However, once a potential bed exiting event is detected, physical intervention is typically required to mitigate possible injury from an actual bed exit attempt. Far too often, the time required to alert staff and produce a physical presence within the patient's room exceeds the time required for the patient to attempt a bed exit. Non-physical intervention methods, such as, for example, audio and/or video counseling can extend the window of opportunity for intervention, but an unattended bed exit attempt can still occur.
  • [0008]
    From time to time, a staff member may be able to physical enter a patient's room before completion of a bed exiting attempt. However, upon entering the room, the staff member may have limited time to assess and appropriately respond to the attempted bed exit without risking further patient injury. For example, a staff member may arrive at a room to see that a patient has one foot on the floor and one foot still in bed, is hanging over the edge of the bed, etc. Thus, without a quick and appropriate responsive action, a patient fall and resulting injury can still, occur even when a staff member arrives at a patient room before completion of a bed exiting attempt.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0009]
    The present invention relates to systems and methods for height adjusting patient support platforms, such as, for example, of a bed (e.g., the mattress support platform of a standard hospital bed with side rails), gurney, couch, chair, or recliner, to which a patient may be confined. The systems and methods are designed to lower the height of a patient support platform at least closer (and essentially all the way) to floor level in a relatively quick and controlled manner to reduce fall distances. Lowering the height of a patient support platform corresponding reduces the likelihood and significance of patient injuries resulting from falls when a patient attempts to exit the patient support platform.
  • [0010]
    According to one embodiment of the invention, a height adjusting safety bed includes a support platform configured to support a mattress on top. The support platform interoperates with attachment/detachment mechanisms for attachment to/detachment from platform lifts, such as, for example, at each corner of the support platform. Platform lifts are physically attached to the support platform using the attachment/detachment mechanisms, such as, for example, at each corner of the support platform. Platform lifts can utilize virtually any technology or combination of technologies, such as, for example, mechanical, pneumatic, or hydraulic, to raise or lower the support platform. In some embodiments, a spring assist is used to decelerate lowering of the support platform. A corresponding mattress can also be placed on top of and supported by the support platform.
  • [0011]
    The components of the height adjusting safety bed can interoperate to rapidly and in a controlled manner lower the support platform to essentially floor level. The descent is decelerated in a manner that reduces patient jarring. For example, pneumatic lowering yields a lowering characteristic that is sufficiently rapid yet still decelerates slowly enough to significantly reduce patient jarring when reaching essentially floor level. Patient jarring can be further reduced with a spring assisted descent.
  • [0012]
    Staff can use a bed height controller to raise or lower the support platform. In some embodiments, a (manually and/or automatically activatable) rapid lowering control can be activated to rapidly lower the support platform to essentially floor level (e.g., in approximately two seconds or less). Accordingly, when a staff member observes (either directly or via in-room surveillance devices) an exit event, the staff member can activate the rapid lowering control (either remotely from a central station or locally in a patient's room). Further, in-room sensors can detect an exit event and, in response to the detected exit event, the in-room sensors can automatically activate the rapid lowering control. Manually activatable controllers can be integrated with (e.g., externally mounted on) or separately located from the height adjusting safety bed. Separately located controllers can be within a patient's room or even at a nursing station.
  • [0013]
    In addition to rapid lowering due to unwanted bed exiting (automatic or manually driven), the bed height may be manually raised or lowered by staff to facilitate daily transfers of the patient. The ability to precisely control bed height yields superior clinical outcomes for a range of patient heights and transfer modalities (i.e. bed to stand, walker, wheelchair or scooter).
  • [0014]
    During lowering, sensors (e.g., infrared, light beam, etc.) can be used to sense any objects beneath the support platform that would prevent lowering the support platform to essentially floor level. Thus, during lowering, the sensors can be used to ensure that no objects are in the path of the descending support platform. If the sensors detect an object that may result in collision, the sensors can initiate an emergency stop of the platform lifts to stop the descent.
  • [0015]
    In some embodiments, once lowered, a patient is essentially the height of the mattress plus approximately zero to three inches above the floor. This significantly reduces the potential fall distance (e.g., relative to a typical support platform height) for the patient that is attempting to exit the support platform and correspondingly reduces the energy of impact and associated physiological and psychological trauma.
  • [0016]
    These and other objects and features of the present invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the practice of the invention as set forth hereinafter.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0017]
    To further clarify the above and other advantages and features of the present invention, a more particular description of the invention will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof which are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is appreciated that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope. The invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the accompanying drawings in which:
  • [0018]
    FIG. 1A illustrates an example of a height adjusting bed in a raised configuration.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 1B illustrates an example of a height adjusting bed in a lowered configuration.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 1C illustrates an example view of platform lift with a channel allowing vertical movement of a connecting bracket.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 1D illustrates an example locking clamp for attaching detaching a support platform to a platform lift.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 1E illustrates an example pneumatic driven platform lift in a raised configuration.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 1F illustrates an example pneumatic driven platform lift in a lowered configuration.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 1G illustrates an example pneumatic driven platform lift with spring assisted descent in a raised configuration.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 1H illustrates an example pneumatic driven platform lift with spring assisted descent in a lowered configuration.
  • [0026]
    FIG. 1I illustrates an example screw driven platform lift in a raised configuration.
  • [0027]
    FIG. 1J illustrates an example screw driven platform lift in a lowered configuration.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 1K illustrates an example chain and gear driven platform lift in a raised configuration.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 1L illustrates an example chain and gear driven platform lift in a lowered configuration.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 1M illustrates an example of a height adjusting bed including a mattress in a raised configuration.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 1N illustrates an example of a height adjusting bed including a mattress in a lowered configuration.
  • [0032]
    FIGS. 1O-1Q illustrates an example of a height adjusting bed with an attached patient transfer lifter.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 2A illustrates an example of a height adjusting bed in a patient location.
  • [0034]
    FIG. 2B illustrates another example of a height adjusting bed in a patient location.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 3 illustrates a flow chart of an example method for responding to a support exiting event.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0036]
    Embodiments of the present invention extend to systems and methods computer program for adjusting the height of patient supports. The invention more particularly relates to systems and staff activated methods for lower the height of a patient support at least closer (and essentially all the way) to floor level in a relatively quick and controlled manner to reduce fall distances. The systems and methods are designed to reduce the likelihood and significance of patient injuries resulting from falls when a patient attempts to exit the support
  • [0037]
    The term “patient fall” shall be broadly understood to include falling to the ground or floor, falling into stationary or moving objects, falling back onto a support, or any other falling motion caused at least in part by gravity that may potentially cause physical injury and/or mental or emotional trauma.
  • [0038]
    The terms “rest” and “resting” as it relates to a patient resting on a support shall be broadly understood as any situation where the support provides at least some counter action to the force of gravity. Thus, a patient may “rest” on a support while lying still, sitting up, moving, lying down, or otherwise positioned relative to the support so long as the support acts in some way to separate a patient from the floor or surface upon which the support is itself positioned.
  • [0039]
    According to one embodiment of the invention, a height adjusting safety bed includes a support platform configured to support a mattress on top. FIG. 1A illustrates an example of a height adjusting bed 100 in a raised configuration. As depicted, height adjusting bed 100 includes support platform 101 and platform lifts 102. Support platform 101 can be of virtually any material with adequate support to mitigate flexion during patient loading. In some embodiments, support platform 101 is made of a metallic mesh with metallic support beams. The base of each platform lift 102 is resting on the floor and thus can be considered to be at floor level 144.
  • [0040]
    Support platform 101 has corresponding number of connecting brackets 106 that are used to attach support platform 101 to platform lifts 102. Each platform lift 102 has a channel 104 that permits the corresponding connecting bracketing 106 to move vertically within the channel 104. Accordingly, support platform 101 is permitted to move vertically. FIG. 1C illustrates an example view of platform lift 102 with a channel 104 allowing vertical movement of a connecting bracket 106. As depicted, connecting bracket 107 can move vertically to any height between upper stop 141 and lower stop 142.
  • [0041]
    Lower stop 142 can be height 146 above floor level 144. Lower stop 142 being above floor level allows component space 147 to house lift components used to raise and lower connecting bracket 106. Upper stop 143 can be height 148 above floor level 144. Height 148 can be high enough to permit adjustment of support platform 101 to appropriately accommodate patients of varying heights. For example, upper stop 143 can be approximately 34 inches above floor level. In some embodiments, the height of support platform 101 is initially set to the standard height of a hospital or nursing home bed, such as, for example, 21 inches above floor level 144.
  • [0042]
    Each platform lift 102 can include one or more internal components that permit a connecting bracket 106 to attach to/detached from lift components of the platform lift 102. In some embodiments, internal components are specifically configured to receive a connecting bracket 106. For example, the upper portion of lift components can include a horizontal plate with a mechanical connecting feature (e.g., a vertical protrusion, hole, etc.) configured to match with a corresponding connecting feature (e.g., a hole, vertical protrusion, etc.) respectively of a connecting bracket. In other embodiments, the components of a platform lift are not specifically configured to receiving a connecting bracket 106.
  • [0043]
    Height 144 of connecting bracket 106 can be configured to essentially the same as height 146. This permits support platform 101 to be lowered to essentially floor level 144 when height adjusting bed 100 is in it is lowest configuration. For example, FIG. 1B illustrates an example of a height adjusting bed 100 in a lowered configuration. As depicted in FIG. 1B, support platform 101 is essentially at floor level 144.
  • [0044]
    Each connecting bracket 106 can include one or more attachment/detachment features to attach to/detach from the lift components a platform lift 102. Each attachment/detachment feature can be at least partially incorporated in a connection plate 107 of connecting bracket 106. In some embodiments, each attachment/detachment mechanism is fully integrated into a connection plate 107. For example, it may be that connection plate 107 is a locking clamp for connecting to the lift components of platform lift 102. Accordingly, a connection bracket can include one or more connection plates.
  • [0045]
    Other external components can also be used to secure a connection plate 107 to lift components of a platform lift 102. For example, an upper portion lift components can include a horizontal plate with a vertical protrusion, wherein the vertical protrusion has a horizontal hole for receiving a safely pin. A connection plate 107 can include a hole configured to accept the vertical protrusion. When connection plate 107 is seated on the horizontal plate, the hole allows the protruding portion to extend above the connection plate 107. A safety pin can then be inserted into the horizontal hole to secure connecting bracket 106 to the lift components.
  • [0046]
    FIG. 1D depicts an example of an attachment/detachment connection plate 107 for attaching a connecting bracket 106 to and detaching a connecting bracket 106 from the lift components 112 of a platform lift 102. However, virtually any mechanical connecting means, such as, for example, a connecting pin, a screw, a clamp, etc., can be used to attach a connecting bracket 106 to and detach a connecting bracket 106 from the lift components of a platform lift.
  • [0047]
    Returning now to FIGS. 1A and 1B, conduit 103 runs to each platform lift 102. Conduit 103 can be a pneumatic conduit allowing compressed air to travel to and from each platform lift 102. To raise the support platform 101, conduit 103 can be filled with compressed air. To lower support platform 101, compressed air can be released from conduit 103. Accordingly, embodiments of the invention include a pneumatic lift mechanism to raise and lower support platform 101.
  • [0048]
    However, platform lifts 102 can utilize virtually any lift component technology, such as, for example, mechanical, pneumatic, or hydraulic, to raise or lower the support platform 101. In some embodiments, a spring assist is used to decelerate lowering of the support platform 101. In embodiments, using hydraulic lift mechanisms, conduit 103 can be a hydraulic conduit.
  • [0049]
    FIG. 1E illustrates an example pneumatic driven platform lift 102 in a raised configuration. FIG. 1F illustrates an example pneumatic driven platform lift 102 in a lowered configuration. An example pneumatic driven platform lift 102 can be connected to each corner of support platform 101. Each pneumatic driven platform 102 can be connected to conduit 103 and receive compressed air from a common source.
  • [0050]
    As depicted in FIGS. 1E and 1F, connection plate 107 of connecting bracket 106 is attached to pneumatic lift components 112 (e.g., variable sized hollow cylinders) using any of the previously descried mechanisms. The air pressure (psi) within lift components 112 can be adjusted to corresponding adjust the height of support platform 101. Pressure can be increased to raise support platform 101 and pressure can be decreased to lower support platform 101.
  • [0051]
    When the air pressure is increased (flow of compressed air is into lift components 112), lift components 112 expand vertically to raise support platform 101. On the other hand, when the air pressure is decreased (flow of compressed air is out of lift components 112), lift components 112 compress vertically to lower support platform 101. When air pressure is not sufficient to raise support platform (e.g., when essentially all compressed air is released from lift components 112), support platform 101 is lowered to essentially floor level 144.
  • [0052]
    FIG. 1G illustrates an example pneumatic driven platform lift 102 with spring assisted descent in a raised configuration. FIG. 1H illustrates an example pneumatic driven platform 102 lift with spring assisted descent in a lowered configuration. As depicted in FIGS. 1G and 1H, pneumatic driven platform lift 102 also includes spring 108. An example pneumatic driven platform lift platform 102 with spring assisted descent can be connected to each corner of support platform 101. Each pneumatic driven platform 102 with spring assisted descent can be connected to conduit 103 and receive compressed air from a common source.
  • [0053]
    In a raised configuration, spring 108 expands within platform lift 102. As support platform 101 is lowered, spring 108 compresses providing resistance to and slowing the descent of platform lift 102. Accordingly, spring 108 is essentially a shock absorber to lessen any jarring of a patient when support platform 101 is lowered.
  • [0054]
    It should be understood that in FIGS. 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1D, lift components 112 can be hydraulic lift components and conduit 103 can be hydraulic conduit. Accordingly, in these embodiments, support platform 101 can be raised and lowered using fluid instead of compressed air.
  • [0055]
    FIG. 1I illustrates an example screw driven platform lift 102 in a raised configuration. FIG. 1J illustrates an example screw driven platform lift 102 in a lowered configuration. An example screw driven platform lift 102 can be connected to each corner of support platform 101. Each screw driven platform 102 can be connected to a drive motor 114. Threaded connection plates 107U and 107L can include threads that match threads 113. Thread connection plates 107U and 107L can include a clamp that facilitates attachment to/detachment from threads 113.
  • [0056]
    Thus, drive motor 114 can rotate threads 113 in one direction (e.g., clockwise) to raise support platform 101 and can rotate threads 113 in another opposite direction (e.g., counter clockwise) to lower support platform 101. Drive motors 114 can be connected to a control line (either digital or analog) and a power (electrical) connection. The control lines control the power applied to and direction of the drive motors 114 so that the drive motors 114 uniformly turn in the same direction at the same speed. In the lowest position, support platform 101 is lowered to essentially floor level 144.
  • [0057]
    FIG. 1K illustrates an example chain and gear driven platform lift 102 in a raised configuration. FIG. 1L illustrates an example chain and gear driven platform lift 102 in a lowered configuration. An example chain and gear driven platform lift 102 can be connected to each corner of support platform 101. Each chain and gear driven platform 102 can be connected to a drive motor 114.
  • [0058]
    Connection plate 107U is connected to chain 115 at connection point 121. Connection plate 107L is connected to change 115 at connection point 122. Connection plates 107U and 107L can be connected to chain 115 using a connecting pin. Thus, drive motor 114 can rotate gear 116 and/or gear 117 in one direction (e.g., counter clockwise) to raise support platform 101 and can rotate gear 116 and/or gear 117 in another opposite direction (e.g., clockwise) to lower support platform 101. Drive motors 114 can be connected to a control line (either digital or analog) and a power (electrical) connection. The control lines control the power applied to and direction of the drive motors 114 so that the drive motors 114 uniformly turn in the same direction at the same speed. In the lowest position, support platform 101 is lowered to essentially floor level 144.
  • [0059]
    FIG. 1M illustrates an example of a height adjusting bed 100 including a mattress 123 in a raised configuration. FIG. 1N illustrates an example of a height, adjusting bed 100 including a mattress 123 in a lowered configuration. In a raised configuration, support platform 101 is height 131 (e.g., 21 inches) above floor level. Thus, a patient resting on mattress 123 would be the sum of height 131 plus mattress height 132 above floor level 144. In a lowered configuration, support platform is height 133 (e.g., zero to three inches) above floor level. Thus, a patient resting on mattress 123 would be the sum of height 133 plus mattress height 132 above floor level 144.
  • [0060]
    FIGS. 1O-1Q illustrates an example of a height adjusting bed 100 with an attached patient transfer lifter. As depicted in FIG. 1O, pivoting lift arm 154 is mechanically secured to support platform 101 at pivot 158. Pivot 158 permits pivoting lift arm 154 to be rotated 360 degrees. Thus, pivoting lift arm 154 can be rotated to extend over platform lift 102 and over a portion of support platform 101.
  • [0061]
    FIG. 1O further depicts wheelchair 153 relative to height adjusting bed 100. The height of seat 157 is height 161 (e.g., some standard distance above floor level 144). Initially, support platform 101 is also transitioned to essentially height 161 as well. Pivoting arm 154 can be pivoted to extend past platform lift 102 such that flexible lift cradle 155 is positioned above seat 157. A patient in wheelchair 153 can then be transferred to and secured in flexible lift cradle 155.
  • [0062]
    FIG. 1P depicts another view of wheelchair 153 relative to height adjusting bed 100. After a patient is secured in flexible lift cradle 155, support platform 101 can be raised to height 162. Raising support platform 101 to height 162 permits flexible lift cradle 155 and the secured patient to pivot out of wheelchair 153.
  • [0063]
    FIG. 1Q depicts another view of wheelchair 153 relative to height adjusting bed 100. In FIG. 1Q, flexible lift cradle 155 has been pivoted and is positioned over a portion of support platform 101. When positioned over support platform 101, a patient can be transferred from flexible lift cradle 155 to support platform 101.
  • [0064]
    FIG. 2A illustrates an example of a height adjusting bed 100 in a patient location 203. Patient location 203 can be a room in a healthcare facility or patient 218's home. In some embodiments, patient location 203 is configured for patient monitoring, more particularly with respect to monitoring potential support exiting, detecting a position and/or movement of a patient that is predictive of support exiting, obtaining human verification of actual support exiting, and intervening if support exiting is confirmed.
  • [0065]
    As depicted, height adjusting bed 100 can include pneumatically controlled platform lifts 102. Each pneumatically controlled platform lift 102 is connectable to compressed air source 227 and release valve 228. Each of the pneumatically controlled platform lifts 102 are similarly configured to include lift components 112. Each of the pneumatically controlled platform lifts 102 can also include a spring 108.
  • [0066]
    Each of the pneumatically controlled platform lifts 102 are connectable to compressed air source 227 and release valve 228 via conduit 103. Compressed air source 227 and release valve 228 can operate to adjust the height of height adjusting bed 100. For example, compressed air source 227 can force compressed air into conduit 103 to raise the height of height adjusting bed 100. On the other hand, release valve 228 can release compressed air from conduit 103 to lower the height of height adjusting bed 100.
  • [0067]
    Height controller 231 can be used to control compressed air source 227 and release valve 228 so that a staff or family member can adjust the height of height adjusting bed 100. For example, during a controlled exit by patient 218 (e.g., for purposes of a transfer), the height of height adjusting bed 100 can be raised or lowered from a standard height (e.g., 21 inches) to compensate for the height of patient 218. The height can be adjusted to a standing (or walker assisted) position for patient 218. Patient 218 can position himself/herself on the edge of height adjusting bed 100 and then the bed is raised (if patient 218 is taller) or potentially lowered (if patient 218 is shorted) to transition to standing position. Height controller 231 can be connected directly to compressed air source 227 and release valve 228 or can be connected to computer system 202. Height adjusting control 231 can be integrated with (e.g., externally mounted on) or separately located from height adjusting safety bed 100, such as, for example, within a patient's room or even at a nursing station.
  • [0068]
    Rapid lowering control 229 is a manually activated control that can be used to signal release valve 228 to release any compressed air in conduit 103 in a relatively short period of time (e.g., approximately 2 seconds). Rapid lowering control 229 can be connected directly to release valve 228 or can be connected to computer system 202. Rapid lowering control 229 can be integrated with (e.g., externally mounted on) or separately located from height adjusting safety bed 100, such as, for example, within a patient's room or even at a nursing station.
  • [0069]
    Sensors 212 can include any or a number of different types of sensors, such as, for example, pressure pads, scales, light or IR beam sensors, cameras, acoustic sensors, and induction field sensors, that monitor patient 218 to detect potential bed exiting events. Sensors 212 can be physically attached to height adjusting bed 100 and/or physically located elsewhere at patient location 203 (e.g., wall mounted, floor mounted, ceiling mounted, free standing, etc.) Cameras can be useful in monitoring lateral (i.e., side-to-side) and longitudinal (i.e., head-to-foot) patient movements, although it may also monitor other movements.
  • [0070]
    Sensors 212 can also includes an audio-video interface that can be used to initiate one-way and/or two-communication with patient 218. The A/V interface can include any combination of known A/V devices, e.g., microphone, speaker, camera and/or video monitor. According to one embodiment, the A/V interface is mounted to a wall or ceiling so as to be seen by patient 218 (e.g., facing the patient's face, such as beyond the foot of the patient's bed). The A/V interface can include a video monitor (e.g., flat panel screen), a camera mounted adjacent to the video monitor (e.g., below), one or more microphones, and one or more speakers. The A/V interface may form part of a computer system 202 that controls the various communication devices located in the patient room.
  • [0071]
    Thus, sensors 212 can be connected to and interoperate with computer system 202 to determine whether some combination of sensed inputs is indicative of a potential bed exiting event. For example, event detection module 216 can include one or more algorithms (for performing image analysis, video processing, motion analysis, etc.) that process a set of sensed inputs to determine if a potential bed exiting event is occurring.
  • [0072]
    Alternately, one or more of sensors 212 can be connected directly to release valve 228. The one or more sensors can signal release valve 228 to release any compressed air in conduit 103 in a relatively short period of time.
  • [0073]
    Computer system 202 can be connected to compressed air source 227 and release valve 228 to control the height of height adjusting bed 100 when appropriate. Computer system 202 can also signal release valve 228 to release any compressed air in conduit 103 in a relatively short period of time.
  • [0074]
    In some embodiments, air pressure levels are used to measure patient body weight. When a patient enters a bed, the increase in measured air pressure may be utilized to predict patient body weight. Patient body weight data may be electronically transferred from the bed lift system to the clinical/quality assurance system for the given medical facility.
  • [0075]
    In these embodiments, pneumatically driven lift supports house an air pressure gauge within pneumatic sleeves. Calibration of air pressure levels can be converted to weight data on total platform weight (bed+patient). Coordination of weight data with image analysis data can be used to intelligently indicate “weight with patient in bed” and “weight of empty bed.”
  • [0076]
    Similar mechanisms can be used to control the height of a height adjusting bed using hydraulics. When lowering a height adjusting bed, fluid can be recollected in an appropriate reservoir (e.g., at the fluid supply source).
  • [0077]
    In embodiments that utilize mechanical lift components, height controllers, rapid lowering controls, sensors, and computer systems can be connected to drive motors 114.
  • [0078]
    FIG. 2B illustrates another example of a height adjusting bed 100 in a patient location 203. As depicted in FIG. 2B, patient location 203 can be network connected to central station 204. For example, computer system 201 can be connected to a common network with computer system 202. When a combination of sensed inputs is indicative of a potential bed exiting event, computer system 202 can send notification 217 to computer system 201. Provider 205 can receive notification 217 and, when appropriate, intervene. For example, provider 205 can send electronic communication back to computer system 202 or can dispatch responder 207 to patient location 207.
  • [0079]
    Thus, embodiments of the invention facilitate manual and/or automated responses to bed exiting events to reduce the potential fall distance for a patient that is attempting to exit a support platform. For example, a staff member or family member can enter a patient's room (by happenstance, during normal rounds, in response to a notification, etc.) and visual detect that the patient is attempt to exit their bed. In response, the staff member or family member can activate rapid lowering control 229 to signal release valve 228 to rapidly release compressed air (or fluid) in conduit 103 and thus quickly lower the bed's support platform, for example, to essentially floor level.
  • [0080]
    Alternately, sensors 212 can sense specified inputs indicative of an attempted bed exit, such as, for example, obstruction of an IR or light beam, change in weight of a support platform, etc. In response, sensors 212 can directly signal release valve 228 to rapidly release compressed air (or fluid) in conduit 103 and thus quickly lower the bed's support platform to essentially floor level.
  • [0081]
    It may also be that event detection module 216 processes a set of sensed inputs to determine that a potential bed exiting event is occurring. In response, computer system 202 can signal release valve 228 to rapidly release compressed air (or fluid) in conduit 103 and thus quickly lower the bed's support platform to essentially floor level. Along with or subsequent to lowering the bed's support platform, computer system 202 can send notification 217 to central station 204.
  • [0082]
    In other embodiments, when set of sensed inputs indicate that a potential bed exiting event is occurring, computer system 202 sends notification 217 to computer system 201 for verification prior to lowering height adjusting bed 100.
  • [0083]
    In response to notification 217 (whether it be to verify an attempted bed exit prior to lowering height adjusting bed 100 or to indicate that height adjusting bed 100 has been lowered), provider 205 can use in-room surveillance devices (e.g., to activate the A/V interface to patient location 203) to observe/interact with patient 218 and verify the bed exiting event. When a bed exiting event is verified, provider 205 can initiate further network communication (e.g., to computer system 202) to remotely signal release valve 228 to rapidly release compressed air (or fluid) in conduit 103 and thus quickly lower the bed's support platform to essentially floor level. In either case, a staff member, for example, responder 207, can be dispatched to patient location 213 for assistance.
  • [0084]
    In embodiments that utilize mechanical lift components, motors 114 can be activated to rapidly turn a screw drive or chain and gears and thus (potentially rapidly) lower the bed's support platform, for example, to essentially floor level.
  • [0085]
    Accordingly, in response to a potential bed exiting event, height adjusting bed 100 can be rapidly lowered in a controlled manner to essentially floor level through the actions of an individual, in response to directly sensed inputs, or as a result of data processing activities. The descent can be decelerated in a manner that reduces patient jarring. For example, pneumatic lowering yields a lowering characteristic that is sufficiently rapid yet still decelerates slowly enough to significantly reduce patient jarring when reaching essentially floor level. Patient jarring can be further reduced with a spring assisted descent (e.g., using spring 208) when using any of pneumatic, hydraulic, or mechanical lift components.
  • [0086]
    In some embodiments, height adjusting bed 100 includes an emergency stopping mechanism and one or more sensors (e.g., infrared, light beam, etc.). The emergency stopping mechanism can stop the descent of support platform 100, even during a rapid descent in response to an attempted bed exit. The stopping mechanism can be a single mechanical mechanism external to platform lifts 102 or can be integrated into each platform lift 102. The one or more sensors are configured to detect objects beneath support platform 101 and signal the emergency stopping mechanism to stop platform descent when an object is detected.
  • [0087]
    During lowering, sensors can be used to sense any objects (e.g., a patient's foot, leg, etc.) beneath the support platform that would prevent lowering the support platform to essentially floor level and/or cause injury to a patient. Thus, during lowering, the sensors can be used to ensure that no objects are in the path of the descending support platform. If the sensors detect an object that may result in collision, the sensors can initiate an emergency stop of support platform 101 and/or platform lifts 102 to stop the descent.
  • [0088]
    In some embodiments, once lowered, a patient is essentially the height of the mattress plus approximately zero to three inches above the floor. This significantly reduces the potential fall distance (e.g., relative to a typical support platform height) for the patient that is attempting to exit the support platform.
  • [0089]
    In some embodiments, a height adjusting bed is connected to a stationary compressed air (or fluid) source of sufficient pressure (e.g., 100+ psi) to raise a height adjusting bed to a desired (e.g., standard) height. For example, hospital and rehabilitation facility rooms can have in-wall compressed air lines (tapped into the building infrastructure) of sufficient pressure to pneumatically lift a height adjusting bed.
  • [0090]
    In other embodiments, such as, for example, home environments, a height adjusting bed is connected to a moveable compressed air (or fluid) source of sufficient pressure to raise a height adjusting bed to a desired height. For example, a mobile compressor or tank of compressed air can be used to pneumatically lift a height adjusting bed. The mobile compressor or compressed air tank can be physically located in separate room from the patient.
  • [0091]
    A height adjusting bed can include a mechanical latch that locks the support platform (temporarily) at a current height. The mechanical latch can be engaged to lock the bed at a current height prior to moving in the bed while a patient remains resting on the support platform. The mechanical latch allows the compressed air (or fluid) source to be disconnected with out the support platform lowering. When the bed arrives at its destination, compressed air (or fluid) can be reconnected and the mechanical latch disengaged. Since staff members are likely in close physical proximity during bed movement, there is a reduced chance of an unattended fall. Alternately, a patient can be restrained during transport to avoid a fall.
  • [0092]
    In some embodiments, a movable cart is connectable to height adjusting bed 100. The moveable cart can be positioned within and attached to each platform lift. Thus, height adjusting bed 100 can be secured to the moveable cart and moved (with or without patients resting on support platform 101) between different physical locations within a facility.
  • [0093]
    FIG. 3 illustrates a flow chart of an example method 300 for responding to a support exiting event. Method 300 will be described with respect to the components of patient location 203.
  • [0094]
    Method 300 includes an act of accessing input from sensors that are monitoring a patient resting on a patient support platform, the support platform being a specified height above floor level (act 301). For example, computer system 202 can access input from sensors 212 that are monitoring patient 218 resting on support platform 101. Support platform 101 can be a specified height (e.g., approximately 21 inches) above floor level.
  • [0095]
    Method 300 includes an act of detecting from the accessed input that the patient is attempting to exit the patient support platform (act 302). For example, computer system 202 can detect that patient 218 is attempting to exit support platform 101. Event detection module 216 can execute various algorithms related to patient 218's movements, positions, etc, to detect that patient 218 is attempting to exit support platform 101.
  • [0096]
    Method 300 includes an act of lowering the height of the support platform from the specified height to a lower height to reduce the potential fall distance of the patient in response to detecting that the patient is attempting to exit the patient support platform (act 303). For example, support platform 101 can be lowered from its specified height to some lower height response to detecting that patient 218 is attempting to exit support platform 101. Lowering of support platform reduces the potential fall distance of patient 218. In some embodiments, support platform 101 is rapidly (e.g., in two seconds or less) lowered to essentially floor level (e.g., zero to three inches above floor level) in response to detecting that patient 218 is attempting to exit support platform 101. Accordingly, the potential fall distance for patient 218 can be reduced from 21 inches (or any other current height) plus mattress width, to zero to three inches plus mattress width before patient 218 can complete the attempted exit from platform support 101.
  • [0097]
    Computer system 202 can automatically lower support platform 101 in response to the attempted support exit. Alternately, as previously described, sensors 212 can cause support platform 101 to be rapidly lowered without intervention from computer system 202. In either event, release valve 228 can be sent a signal to release any compressed air (or fluid) from the lift mechanism of support lifts 102. When mechanical lifts are used, a similar signal can be sent to drive motors.
  • [0098]
    Embodiments of the present invention may comprise or utilize a special purpose or general-purpose computer including computer hardware, as discussed in greater detail below. Embodiments within the scope of the present invention also include physical and other computer-readable media for carrying or storing computer-executable instructions and/or data structures. Such computer-readable media can be any available media that can be accessed by a general purpose or special purpose computer system. Computer-readable media that store computer-executable instructions are physical storage media. Computer-readable media that carry computer-executable instructions are transmission media. Thus, by way of example, and not limitation, embodiments of the invention can comprise at least two distinctly different kinds of computer-readable media: physical storage media and transmission media.
  • [0099]
    Physical storage media includes RAM, ROM, EEPROM, CD-ROM or other optical disk storage, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to store desired program code means in the form of computer-executable instructions or data structures and which can be accessed by a general purpose or special purpose computer.
  • [0100]
    A “network” is defined as one or more data links that enable the transport of electronic data between computer systems and/or modules and/or other electronic devices. When information is transferred or provided over a network or another communications connection (either hardwired, wireless, or a combination of hardwired or wireless) to a computer, the computer properly views the connection as a transmission medium. Transmission media can include a network and/or data links which can be used to carry or desired program code means in the form of computer-executable instructions or data structures and which can be accessed by a general purpose or special purpose computer. Combinations of the above should also be included within the scope of computer-readable media.
  • [0101]
    Further, it should be understood, that upon reaching various computer system components, program code means in the form of computer-executable instructions or data structures can be transferred automatically from transmission media to physical storage media. For example, computer-executable instructions or data structures received over a network or data link can be buffered in RAM within a network interface module (e.g., a “NIC”), and then eventually transferred to computer system RAM and/or to less volatile physical storage media at a computer system. Thus, it should be understood that physical storage media can be included in computer system components that also (or even-primarily) utilize transmission media.
  • [0102]
    Computer-executable instructions comprise, for example, instructions and data which cause a general purpose computer, special purpose computer, or special purpose processing device to perform a certain function or group of functions. The computer executable instructions may be, for example, binaries, intermediate format instructions such as assembly language, or even source code. Although the subject matter has been described in language specific to structural features and/or methodological acts, it is to be understood that the subject matter defined in the appended claims is not necessarily limited to the described features or acts described above. Rather, the described features and acts are disclosed as example forms of implementing the claims.
  • [0103]
    Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the invention may be practiced in network computing environments with many types of computer system and electronic device configurations, including, personal computers, desktop computers, laptop computers, hand-held devices, multi-processor systems, microprocessor-based or programmable consumer electronics, network PCs, minicomputers, mainframe computers, mobile telephones, PDAs, one-way and two-way pagers, and the like. The invention may also be practiced in distributed system environments where local and remote computer systems, which are linked (either by hardwired data links, wireless data links, or by a combination of hardwired and wireless data links) through a network, both perform tasks. In a distributed system environment, program modules may be located in both local and remote memory storage devices.
  • [0104]
    Computer systems can be connected to a network, such as, for example, a Local Area Network (“LAN”), a Wide Area Network (“WAN”), or even the Internet. Thus, the various components can receive data from and send data to each other, as well as other components connected to the network. Networked computer systems may themselves constitute a “computer system” for purposes of this disclosure.
  • [0105]
    Networks facilitating communication between computer systems and other electronic devices can utilize any of a wide range of (potentially interoperating) protocols including, but not limited to, the IEEE 802 suite of wireless protocols, Radio Frequency Identification (“RFID”) protocols, infrared protocols, cellular protocols, one-way and two-way wireless paging protocols, Global Positioning System (“GPS”) protocols, wired and wireless broadband protocols, ultra-wideband “mesh” protocols, etc. Accordingly, computer systems and other devices can create message related data and exchange message related data (e.g., Internet Protocol (“IP”) datagrams and other higher layer protocols that utilize IP datagrams, such as, Transmission Control Protocol (“TCP”), Remote Desktop Protocol (“RDP”), Hypertext Transfer Protocol (“HTTP”), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (“SMTP”), etc.) over the network.
  • [0106]
    The present invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims rather than by the foregoing description. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.

Claims (23)

  1. 1. A bed, comprising:
    a support platform;
    a plurality of platform lifts, each platform lift including:
    a lift component configured to raise and lower in response to an appropriate signal;
    a channel permitting external components attached to the lift component to raise and lower with the lift component;
    a corresponding plurality of connecting brackets affixed to the support platform, each connecting bracket including a connection plate, each connection plate extending into a channel of a platform lift and attached to a lift component of a corresponding platform lift; and
    a conduit connected to each of the platform lifts, the conduit for transferring a substance at each platform lift used to regulate the height of each of the plurality of lift components respectively.
  2. 2. The bed as recited in claim 1, each platform lift further comprising:
    a spring configured to lower the rate of deceleration of the corresponding lift component when the lift component is rapidly lowered to essentially floor level.
  3. 3. The bed as recited in claim 1, further comprising:
    an emergency stopping mechanism to stop lowering of the support platform; and
    one or more sensors, each sensor configured to:
    sense objects beneath the support platform that would collide with the support platform during descent; and
    and signal the emergency stopping mechanism to stop lowering the platform in response to detecting an object that would collide with the support platform.
  4. 4. The bed as recited in claim 1, further comprising:
    a mechanical latch that locks the support platform at a current height.
  5. 5. The bed as recited in claim 1, further comprising:
    a mattress that rests on top of the support platform.
  6. 6. The bed as recited in claim 1, further comprising:
    a pivoting lift arm attached to the support platform, the pivoting lift arm pivotable to extend past the edges of the support platform; and
    a flexible lift cradle coupled to the pivoting lift arm, the flexible lift cradle configured to secure a patient for transferring the patient to and from the support platform.
  7. 7. The bed as recited in claim 1, wherein each platform lift comprises a pneumatic lift component configured raise and lower, including rapidly lowering to essentially floor level in response to compressed air being evacuated from the pneumatic lift component.
  8. 8. The bed as recited in claim 1, wherein each platform lift comprises a hydraulic lift component configured raise and lower, including rapidly lowering to essentially floor level in response to fluid being evacuated from the hydraulic lift component.
  9. 9. The bed as recited in claim 1, wherein each platform lift comprises a mechanical lift component configured raise and lower, including rapidly lowering to essentially floor level in response to an electrical signal.
  10. 10. The bed as recited in claim 1, wherein each platform lift comprises a lift component configured raise and lower, including rapidly lowering the support platform to between zero and three inches above floor level in two seconds or less.
  11. 11. The bed as recited in claim 1, wherein the conduit comprises a conduit for receiving compressed air at each platform lift used to regulate the height of each of the plurality of lift components respectively.
  12. 12. The bed as recited in claim 1, wherein the conduit comprises a conduit for receiving fluid at each platform lift used to regulate the height each of the plurality of lift components respectively.
  13. 13. The bed as recited in claim 11 or 12, further comprising:
    an pressure gauge for measuring the pressure in the conduit.
  14. 14. The bed as recited in claim 1, further comprising:
    a compressed air source coupled to the conduit for supplying compressed air to the lift components; and
    a release valve coupled to the conduit for releasing compressed air from the lift components.
  15. 15. The bed as recited in claim 1, wherein each lift component is configured to rapidly lower to essentially floor level in response to a signal indicating a potential bed exiting event.
  16. 16. A system for responding to a bed exiting event, the system comprising
    a bed, comprising:
    a support platform;
    a plurality of platform lifts, each platform lift including:
    a pneumatic lift component configured to raise and lower in response to changes in compressed air supplied to the pneumatic lift, including rapidly lowering to essentially floor level in response to a signal indicating a potential bed exiting event;
    a spring configured to lower the rate of deceleration of the corresponding lift component when the lift component is rapidly lowered to essentially floor level; and
    a channel permitting external components attached to the lift component to raise and lower with the lift component;
    a corresponding plurality of connecting brackets affixed to the support platform, each connecting bracket including a connection plate, each connection plate extending into a channel of a platform lift and attached to a pneumatic lift component of a corresponding platform lift;
    a conduit connected to each of the platform lifts, the conduit for transferring compressed air at each platform lift used to regulate the height each of the plurality of lift components respectively;
    a compressed air source coupled to the conduit for supplying compressed air to the lift components;
    a release valve couple to the conduit for releasing compressed air from the lift components; and
    one or more sensors connected to the release valve, the sensors configured to:
    sense inputs to monitor a patient resting on the support platform; and
    provide a combination of sensed inputs indicative of the patient attempting to exit the support platform.
  17. 17. The system as recited in claim 16, wherein the sensors are further configured to send a signal to the release valve to release the compressed air from the pneumatic lift components in response to a combination of sensed inputs indicating that the patient is attempting to exit the support platform.
  18. 18. The system as recited in claim 16, wherein each pneumatic lift component is configured to rapidly lower the support platform to between zero and three inches above floor level in two seconds or less when compressed air is released from the conduit.
  19. 19. The system of claim 16, further comprising a computer system, the computer system connected to the one or more sensors and the release valve, the computer system including:
    system memory;
    one or more processors;
    one or more physical storage media having stored thereon an event detection module, the event detection model configured to:
    receive provided sensed inputs from the one or more sensors; and
    detect when a combination of provided sensed inputs is indicative of the patient attempting to exit the support platform.
  20. 20. The system as recited in claim 19, wherein the event detection module is further configured to send a signal to a central station indicating that the patient is attempting to exit the support platform.
  21. 21. The system as recited in claim 20, wherein the event detection module is further configured to:
    receive a second signal from the central station the second signal indicating that the support platform is to be rapidly lowered to essentially floor level; and
    send a third signal to the release valve to release the compressed air from the pneumatic lift components in response to receiving the second signal.
  22. 22. The system as recited in claim 19, wherein the event detection module is further configured to send a signal to the release valve to release the compressed air from the pneumatic lift components in response to detecting that the combination of provided sensed inputs indicate that the patient is attempting to exit the support platform.
    send a signal to a central station indicating that the patient is attempting to exit the support platform
    to a combination of sensed inputs indicating that the patient is attempting to exit the support platform.
  23. 23. A bed, comprising:
    a support platform;
    a plurality of platform lifts, each platform lift including:
    a lift component configured to raise and lower in response to an appropriate signal, including rapidly lowering to essentially floor level in response to a signal indicating a potential bed exiting event; and
    a channel permitting external components attached to the lift component to raise and lower with the lift component;
    a corresponding plurality of connecting brackets affixed to the support platform, each connecting bracket including a connection plate, each connection plate extending into a channel of a platform lift and attached to a lift component of a corresponding lift component; and
    one or more driver motors, each drive motor configured to regulate the height of one or more of the plurality of lift components respectively, each drive motor configured with an electrical connection to receive electrical power for raising and lowering its respective lift components.
US12001675 2007-08-13 2007-12-11 Height adjustable patient support platforms Abandoned US20090044332A1 (en)

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