WO1991006239A1 - Auxiliary toilet seat for physically-impaired users - Google Patents

Auxiliary toilet seat for physically-impaired users Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1991006239A1
WO1991006239A1 PCT/US1990/006344 US9006344W WO9106239A1 WO 1991006239 A1 WO1991006239 A1 WO 1991006239A1 US 9006344 W US9006344 W US 9006344W WO 9106239 A1 WO9106239 A1 WO 9106239A1
Authority
WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
balloon
toilet
user
attachment
upper face
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US1990/006344
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Steven Greenberg
Original Assignee
Steven Greenberg
Priority date (The priority date 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 date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US42970789A priority Critical
Priority to US429,707 priority
Application filed by Steven Greenberg filed Critical Steven Greenberg
Publication of WO1991006239A1 publication Critical patent/WO1991006239A1/en

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Classifications

    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61GTRANSPORT, PERSONAL CONVEYANCES, OR ACCOMMODATION SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR PATIENTS OR DISABLED PERSONS; OPERATING TABLES OR CHAIRS; CHAIRS FOR DENTISTRY; FUNERAL DEVICES
    • A61G7/00Beds specially adapted for nursing; Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons
    • A61G7/10Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons, e.g. special adaptations of hoists thereto
    • A61G7/1001Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons, e.g. special adaptations of hoists thereto specially adapted for specific applications
    • A61G7/1007Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons, e.g. special adaptations of hoists thereto specially adapted for specific applications mounted on or in combination with a toilet
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47KSANITARY EQUIPMENT NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR; TOILET ACCESSORIES
    • A47K13/00Seats or covers for all kinds of closets
    • A47K13/005Auxiliary or portable seats
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61GTRANSPORT, PERSONAL CONVEYANCES, OR ACCOMMODATION SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR PATIENTS OR DISABLED PERSONS; OPERATING TABLES OR CHAIRS; CHAIRS FOR DENTISTRY; FUNERAL DEVICES
    • A61G5/00Chairs or personal conveyances specially adapted for patients or disabled persons, e.g. wheelchairs
    • A61G5/10Parts, details or accessories
    • A61G5/14Standing-up or sitting-down aids
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61GTRANSPORT, PERSONAL CONVEYANCES, OR ACCOMMODATION SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR PATIENTS OR DISABLED PERSONS; OPERATING TABLES OR CHAIRS; CHAIRS FOR DENTISTRY; FUNERAL DEVICES
    • A61G7/00Beds specially adapted for nursing; Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons
    • A61G7/10Devices for lifting patients or disabled persons, e.g. special adaptations of hoists thereto
    • A61G7/1013Lifting of patients by
    • A61G7/1021Inflatable cushions

Abstract

An auxiliary toilet seat assembly operable by physically impaired users is provided. The toilet seat assembly is constructed as an inflatable, angularly elevatable, substantially U-shaped balloon member (10) and a user operable associated apparatus (15) for inlating and deflating the balloon (10). The upper face (9) of the balloon (10) is angularly adjustable to move, upon inflation and deflation of the balloon (10), from a substantially horizontal plane to an inclined ramp for assisting user movements in mounting and dismounting from a conventional toilet bowl. An optional user support member (17) or balloon housing which includes a user support member (17) is also provided.

Description

AUXILIARY TOILET SEAT FOR PHYSICALLY-IMPAIRED USERS

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention generally relates to toilet seat assemblies and, more particularly, to an angularly adjustable toilet seat operable by a physically-impaired user for facilitating user body- supporting transitions in mounting and dismounting from a conventional toilet bowl.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The need for a toilet seat assembly or construction which assists a user in moving between a seated position and a substantially or quasi- standing position has long been recognized. The need for such a device is particularly acute among the elderly, physically-impaired, handicapped, infirm, and others who find it difficult, if not impossible, to unassistedly seat themselves on and rise from a conventional toilet seat, the supporting surface of which is typically well beneath the knee height of the average adult. Because movement to and from a seated position on a toilet is so difficult a task for such persons, it is frequently necessary to enlist the aid of others to assist them in the use of a conventional toilet. This often results in an embarrassing situation for the user and may be emotionally devastating to those who despair at requiring help to perform such a basic bodily function. Moreover, those individuals who must attend the elderly, physically-impaired, handicapped, infirm and others who are not readily capable of moving between a substantially standing and a seated position are greatly inconvenienced. In an effort to overcome such problems and encourage self-reliance, a variety of seating structures have been devised wherein the user support surface is adjustable to assist the user in moving between seated and substantially standing positions. For example, U.S. Patent No. 3,473,174 to Cool proposes a power-tilted seat which is a component of an upstanding frame member having side sections and interconnecting means. The tilting movement of the Cool seat is implemented by hydraulic cylinders. U.S. Patent No. 4,185,335 to Alvis, like Cool, discloses a movable toilet seat assembly including a frame member which is mounted, as with bolts, to a conventional toilet bowl. The seat movement of the Alvis device is also accomplished with hydraulic cylinders. U.S. Patent No. 2,598,577 to Mattison relates to a toilet seat assembly designed to insure correct posture for facilitating evacuation of the bowels. The Mattison device, which replaces a conventional toilet seat, relies on a pair of thigh pieces pivotally mounted to a toilet bowl at one end and supported by elastic means, such as a spring, at the other. The Mattison seat is maintained in a tilted position by the action of the elastic means until depressed by the weight of a user. Once seated the user must resort to handles which are provided on both sides of the device to assist him or her in rising to a standing position. U.S. Patent No. 3,808,612 to Boyle provides an integral plastic inflatable toilet seat intended solely to provide a soft seating surface for the user. There is neither disclosure nor suggestion in Boyle that the inflatable seat might be employed or constructed in a manner suitable for facilitating user transitions between supported and remote positions. The heretofore known devices suffer from a variety of serious disadvantages. For instance, the Cool and Alvis seat assemblies require cumbersome frames and the use of ungainly and unsightly hydraulic cylinders to effect tilting of the seating surface. Mattison*s toilet seat, apart from a pair of handles, provides no mechanism for assisting the user in returning to a remote or substantially standing position. Boyle is utterly devoid of any structure or apparatus for aiding a user in moving between sitting and standing positions.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a simple and inexpensive seat construction, adapted for ready use with conventional toilet bowls, wherein the seating or support surface may be automatically selectively tilted under the control of the user between a substantially horizontal user-seated position and an angled user-standing or substantially standing position. The seat is adapted to be selectively angled to a variety of tilted positions to accommodate users who, for example, cannot assume a fully- seated horizontal position. These advantageous results are accomplished in the present invention by providing an inflatable, angularly elevatable, substantially U-shaped balloon member, in combination with associated apparatus for selectively and controllably inflating and deflating the balloon member. Additionally, the seat device of the present invention does not interfere with normal use or cleaning of the toilet bowl. Further features and advantages of the present invention will in part be obvious and will in part be apparent from the following detailed description of certain typical and currently-preferred embodiments of the invention as illustrated in the accompanying drawings. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS For a fuller understanding of the present invention, reference is made to the following detailed description of currently preferred embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which like reference numerals denote similar elements throughout the several views: Figure 1 is an elevated perspective view of the balloon member of the invention in a deflated condition; Figure 2 is an elevated perspective view of the balloon member in an inflated condition; Figure 3 is an elevated perspective view of the inflatable balloon member of the invention in conjunction with an associated user support member; Figure 4 is an elevated perspective view of an embodiment of the toilet seat construction of the present invention which includes the balloon member and an associated user member' surface disposed on a conventional toilet bowl; Figure 5 is a cross section taken along the lines 5-5 in Figure 4 and illustrating the user support member and balloon member removably mounted to a toilet bowl and to each other with Velcro-type securement strips; Figure 6 is a cross section taken along the lines 6-6 in Figure 4 and showing the balloon member in an inflated condition lifting a seated user to facilitate a transition to a substantially standing position; Figure 7 is an exploded view of a second embodiment of the toilet seat construction of the invention illustrating the combination of the balloon member, a housing for the balloon member, and a conventional toilet bowl; Figure 8 is an elevated perspective view of the toilet seat construction of Figure 7; Figure 9 is a cross-sectional side view taken along the lines 9-9 in Figure 8; Figure 10 is an exploded view of a third embodiment of the toilet seat construction of the invention showing the combination of a balloon member having a front compartment with a fixed contour, a correspondingly contoured user support member, and a conventional toilet bowl; Figure 11 is an elevated perspective view of the toilet seat construction shown in Figure 10; and Figure 12 is a cross-sectional side view taken along the lines 12-12 in Figure 11 and illustrating inflation of the rear compartment of the balloon member to assist the transition of a seated user to a substantially standing position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The present invention provides a seat construction useful in conjunction with a conventional toilet bowl and/or toilet seat for assisting the user in moving between a substantially or quasi-standing position remote from the toilet seat and a seated or supported position atop the seat. Unless otherwise specified, the term toilet is used herein to indicate a conventional toilet bowl with or without a conventional, normally pivotally attached toilet seat. In accordance with the present invention, the seat attachment is constructed, - in its most basic form, as an inflatable, angularly elevatable, substantially U-shaped balloon 10, having a front portion 11, a rear portion 12, a top surface 9 and an associated apparatus for inflating and deflating the balloon, the latter being diagrammatically depicted in Fig. 1 as a source 8 of pressurized or compressed fluid such, for example, as a gas. Although shown and currently preferred as substantially U-shaped, the balloon member may of course be fabricated or take on a variety of alternate shapes within the scope and contemplation of the invention. The balloon 10 is most preferably fabricated of a flexible, substantially nonelastic or nonstretchable material as will become apparent as this description proceeds. Figs. 1 and 2 illustrate the structurally simplest embodiment of the seat construction or toilet attachment of the present invention which, as therein shown, comprises a balloon 10. Fig. 2 shows the balloon 10 in its fully inflated condition. In that condition, its top surface 9 defines a tilted or inclined user- supporting surface or ramp adapted for assisting a user in positioning himself or herself directly on the inclined top seating surface of the balloon. Alternatively, as shown in Fig. 3, a separate user-supporting member 17, adapted to overlie the balloon surface 9, may be provided in integral conjunction therewith. The balloon 10 may be constructed of any material known to those skilled in the art and which is capable of sustaining repeated inflation and deflation such, for example, as a flexible plastic or thermoplastic material. It is presently preferred to use a suitably heavy-gauge vinyl material such as that commonly employed in the fabrication of pool or water floats and rafts. In any event, it is presently considered important that the construction material exhibit little or substantially no elasticity so that the "fully inflated" condition of the balloon defines a predetermined, generally intended maximum peripheral shape and size as will hereinafter become apparent. As shown in Fig. 1, a source of compressed or pressurized gas, such as ambient air, may be used to inflate the balloon 10, although other fluids, including liquids, may alternatively be employed. In a typical contemplated arrangement, shown in Fig. 4, the inflation fluid may be provided by an electrically-operated or otherwise driven pump 15 that draws in ambient air and directs the air, under suitable pressure, into the balloon through a conduit 14. A user-operable switch 7 — mounted for example on the floor proximate the toilet or otherwise within ready reach of the user of the inventive seat construction — may also be provided for controlling the flow of electric current to such a pump. It should be understood, of course, that any means or apparatus that is conveniently operable by the user of the inventive seat construction for selectively inflating and enabling deflation of the balloon structure may be employed in accordance with the invention. Thus, to deflate the inflated balloon so as to return the user to a normal, substantially horizontal seated position, the inflation fluid may be expelled or released from the balloon 10 through operation of a manually- actuatable valve 13 in the conduit 14; the valve 13, which may be of any appropriate construction, may also serve as a pressure relief valve for preventing unintended overinflation of the balloon. Accordingly, any known or suitable structure or arrangement for inflating and deflating the balloon 10 may be employed so long as the degree of inflation is sufficiently controllable to allow use of the balloon in a variety of a partially and selectively inflated and deflated conditions dependent on the specific requirements and general comfort of the individual user. Referring now to Fig. 1, balloon 10 is shown in its base or fully deflated condition. As used herein, the term "fully deflated" is intended to denote a condition in which a sufficient volume of fluid has been released from the balloon interior — and, correspondingly, a sufficient volume of fluid may remain in the balloon — so that the top seating surface 9 of the balloon defines a substantially horizontal plane. Thus, it is generally contemplated that, at least in the balloon construction illustrated in Figs. 1 and 2, at least some fluid or gas will remain in the balloon 10 in its "fully deflated" condition which, therefore, is to be distinguished from what may be referred to as the balloon's "fully evacuated" condition. Thus, when balloon 10 is selectively inflated from its base condition, the top seating surface 9 becomes an adjustably-inclined or angled ramp. It is presently preferred that the maximum elevation of balloon 10 be in the range of approximately 6 to 10 inches above the horizontal plane of top surface 9 when the balloon is in its fully deflated condition. Put another way, when fully inflated the rear portion 12 is elevated approximately 6 to 10 inches higher than the front portion 11 of the balloon surface 9. It should be understood, however, that the maximum degree or amount of elevation is a matter of design choice and may be higher or lower than the preferred 6 to 10 inch range depending, at least in part, on the specific requirements of the intended individual or type of user. With further reference to Fig. 1 and the fully deflated balloon 10, it is particularly desirable, although not necessary, that upon deflation the excess wall material of the flexible balloon automatically folds into and forms integral pleats or corrugations 16. Any known or otherwise suitable arrangement for implementing such pleated folding may be employed in the fabrication or formation of the balloon. The toilet attachment of the present invention is useful in conjunction with any conventional toilet bowl adapted to support a toilet seat and having a substantially horizontal upper surface and front, rear and opposed side portions. In use, the balloon 10 is configured and dimensioned for supported accommodation in overlying relation atop a conventional toilet bowl, or atop a conventional toilet seat typically pivotally hinged to the bowl. In order to prevent unintended slippage or sliding or other relative movement of the balloon during periods of use, it is particularly desirable that the balloon be removably secured to the toilet, as for example by placing mating Velcro-type hook-and-loop fastener strips 35 on the balloon and on the toilet surface such as is shown in Fig. 5. Of course, any alternate arrangement for removably or readily releaseably mounting the balloon 10 on and to the toilet may be employed, although it is much preferred that the arrangement be both structurally simple and sufficiently unobtrusive so as not to deleteriously affect the appearance of the toilet when the same is used as heretofore known without the balloon 10 of the present invention. Furthermore, the balloon 10 may, if desired, be permanently or nonreleaseably secured to the toilet by any appropriate means. Once so positioned on the toilet — and assuming the balloon 10 to be in its fully delated or base condition — in order to facilitate movement from a substantially standing or remote location to a seated position over the toilet the user introduces compressed air or other inflating fluid into the balloon through conduit 14, as by actuating the pump 15. When the balloon is thereby sufficiently inflated to carry the top surface 9 to the desired angle or elevation, the user positions him or herself on the now-inclined top surface 9. The user can then assume a substantially horizontal seated position over the toilet by actuating the valve 13 to controlledly deflate the balloon 10 by releasing some of the fluid contained therewithin and thereby return the top surface 9 to its substantially horizontal orientation. It should be understood that by selectively deflating the balloon the user can predeterminately vary the angle of inclination of the top surface 9 and thereby assume a variety of seated orientations. This is an important consideration for those individuals who are unable to comfortably assume or remain in a fully horizontal seated position. To resume standing or otherwise move off of the seat of the present invention, the seated user once more activates the pump 15 to suitably reinflate the balloon and return its top surface 9 to a desired angle of elevation. As the balloon is thereby inflated, the user is gently lifted up to a position which facilitates his or her movement off of and away from the toilet seat, as to a substantially standing position. In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a separate user support member adapted to fit in overlying relation to balloon 10 may also be provided as an integral element of the inventive assembly. The user support member, identified in Fig. 3 by the general reference numeral 17, may be constructed of a relatively rigid material so as to provide a seating surface similar to that of a conventional toilet seat or, on the other hand, may be fashioned in whole or in part from a material that provides a soft or flexible seating surface for increased user comfort. In either case, any suitable materials may be employed to form the member 17. To prevent undesirable and unintended relative movement of the support member during periods of use, the member 17 may be secured or affixed or coupled to balloon 10. Any suitable arrangement for either removably or permanently mounting the member 17 to the balloon 10 may be employed as a matter of design choice. Figs. 3 and 4 depict two currently contemplated forms of such a user support member. The support member 17 of Fig. 3 can be seen to include a seating surface 18 and a downwardly- depending skirt 19 dimensioned to extend about the outer periphery of the balloon 10 at its rear portion 12. In use, the support member 17 is disposed in overlying supported relation on the balloon 10 and, more particularly, resting atop the balloon's upper surface 9. It will be appreciated that when the balloon 10 is fully deflated the seating surface 18 of user support member 17 defines a substantially horizontal plane. When the balloon is inflated, on the other hand, the member 17 is elevated together with the balloon surface 9 so that the seating surface 18 defines a selectively- inclined surface. And, as where the balloon 10 is used alone — i.e. without the associated member 17 — the angle of inclination of the seating surface 18 depends on the degree of inflation of the balloon and generally corresponds to or follows the elevation of the balloon's top surface 9. The skirt 19 may further be dimensioned and configured so that, in at least the deflated condition of the balloon, the skirt is disposed peripherally outward and to the rear of the back of the toilet bowl. In constructions wherein the balloon 10 is not arranged for automatic corrugated or pleated folding of its wall as the balloon is deflated, at least a portion of the balloon wall material may optionally be received or stored in a space suitably defined between the skirt 19 and the rear portion or back of the toilet bowl. This feature of the user support member 17 maintains a tidy appearance and can prevent inadvertent damage to otherwise exposed portions of the balloon 10. Illustrated in Fig. 4 is another construction of a user support member, there designated 34 and including a seating surface 36, for use in conjunction with an inflatable balloon member 10. Unlike the member 17 of Fig. 2, the support member 34 does not include a downwardly- depending skirt, but is otherwise similar in that the member 34 may be either removably or permanently secured to the balloon 10 to prevent unintended and potentially injurious relative movement during periods of use. In accordance with yet another embodiment of the invention, illustrated in Figs. 7 to 9 of the drawings, a housing is provided to receive and substantially fully envelop the balloon 10. As best seen in Fig. 7, the housing comprises the combination of a user support member 17 and a base 20 which is adapted to fit on the upper horizontal surface 30 of a conventional toilet in interposed relation between the toilet and the balloon. The user support member 17 — and particularly the seating surface 18 thereof — is angularly movable or adjustable between a first, substantially horizontal position when the balloon is in its fully deflated condition and a second, ramped or upwardly tilted position when the balloon is in its fully inflated condition. As shown in Fig. 7, the support member 17 is pivotally mounted, at its end overlying the front portion 11 of the balloon, by hinges 32 to the base 20. It should be understood, however, that such pivotal mounting of the member 17 to the base 20 is not required, and that any alternate arrangement for securing the support member 17 against relative movement during periods of use may be employed. Indeed, although some form of securement is preferred, embodiments of the invention omitting any specific elements for expressly attaching or coupling the various parts of the inventive assembly are also contemplated. User support member 17 may, as previously described in connection with other embodiments of the invention, may optionally incorporate a downwardly-depending skirt 19. In addition, the base 20 may incorporate stabilizing tabs 24 extending downwardly about the opposed sides of the toilet bowl to prevent undesired lateral movement of the base 20 and hence the entire assembly when during periods of use. The base may further include a depending splash guard 22 which overlies or covers at least a portion of the interior peripheral wall at the back of the toilet for performing a sanitary function as well as providing an additional retaining element to curtail vertical movement of the base. The balloon 10 may also be releaseably secured to the base 20 with, for example, Velcro- type fastener strips, or may be permanently affixed to the base 20 or other portion of the housing as a matter of design choice. Indeed, as should be apparent in the drawings the embodiment of Figs. 7 to 9 is particularly well suited for use in installations of a relatively permanent nature. Nevertheless, a particular advantage of the toilet seat attachment of the invention is that its use in conjunction with a toilet bowl does not interfere with the normal operation and use of the toilet by those not requiring assistance in moving between substantially standing and sitting positions with respect to the toilet bowl. A third embodiment of the present invention, shown in Figs. 10 to 12, includes a balloon member 40 and, optionally, an associated user support member 46. The balloon 40 is divided into a first, forward compartment 42 and a second, relatively rearward compartment 44. At least a portion of the balloon is inflatable to define a top surface 48 that, with increasing inflation, is selectively adjusted between a relatively horizontal first position and an angularly ramped or tilted second position corresponding, respectively, to the fully deflated and fully inflated conditions of the balloon. In this last embodiment of the invention the top surface 48 is predeterminately contoured in both the fully deflated and fully inflated conditions of the balloon so as to provide an arcuate protuberance or distension at the forward end of each leg of the substantially U-shaped balloon 40. The optional support member 46 is provided with a configuration generally conforming to the contour of the balloon's top surface 48 in the fully deflated condition of the balloon. In the balloon construction illustrated in Figs. 10 - 12, the contour of the first compartment 42 is fixed — i.e. its size and shape does not change as the balloon is inflated and deflated. This may be implemented, for example, by forming the first compartment 42 of a solid material having relatively rigid or flexible or resiliently elastic properties, or by permanently or semi-permanently filling the compartment with a fluid of either liquid or gaseous form. Thus, it is not necessary to repeatedly inflate and deflate the first compartment 42 of the balloon 40. The second compartment 44, on the other hand, is readily inflatable and deflatable with a suitable fluid to angularly adjust the elevation of the balloon's top surface 48 between its first and second positions for assisting a user in sitting on and rising from the toilet. As previously discussed, any suitable apparatus or arrangement for implementing inflation and deflation of the second compartment 44 of the balloon may be employed. Furthermore, although the balloon 40 is depicted for use in association with a user support member 46, the balloon may be used alone or further combined with a base member (not shown) in the manner of the embodiment illustrated in Figs. 7 to 9. While certain preferred embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated, it will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that variations and modifications may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the above description should be construed as illustrative, and not in a limiting sense, the scope of the invention being defined by the following claims.

Claims

What is claimed is:
1. A toilet seat attachment operable for assisting a physically-impaired user in moving between a seated position in which the user is supported on the attachment for normal use of a toilet and an unseated position remote from the seat, said attachment being adapted for use in conjunction with a conventional toilet having a front and a back and a substantially horizontal top surface disposed about the periphery of an open central waste-receiving portion of the toilet, said attachment comprising: an inflatable balloon disposable in supported relation atop the top surface of the toilet and having a central opening for registration with the open central waste-receiving portion of the toilet, an upper face for receiving a user in seated relation atop said attachment for normal waste- evacuating use of the toilet, and a lower face for supporting the balloon on the top surface of the toilet; and means operable for selectively inflating said balloon by filling the balloon with a fluid so as to cause the upper face of the balloon to move from a first orientation in which said upper face defines a substantially horizontal user-supporting surface to a second orientation in which said upper face defines a relatively ramped surface inclined upwardly from the front toward the back of the toilet, said balloon being substantially wedge- shaped in said second orientation and said wedge shape being bounded by said upper and lower faces of the balloon, and for selectively deflating the balloon by controllably releasing fluid from within the balloon so as to cause the upper face of the balloon to return from said second to said first orientation, wherein the inclination of said upper face of the balloon in said second orientation is selected for facilitating user movement between a seated position in which the user is supported on the attachment and an unseated position remote from the seat.
2. The toilet seat attachment of claim 1, wherein said means for inflating and deflating the balloon comprises user-operable means for pumping a fluid into said balloon.
3. The toilet seat attachment of claim 2, wherein said user-operable means comprises an electrically-operable pump.
4. The toilet seat attachment of claim 1, wherein the balloon member comprises means for implementing integral pleating of the balloon upon deflation thereof.
5. The toilet seat attachment of claim 1, further comprising a user support member disposed in overlying supported relation on the upper face of the balloon for supporting a user seated on the attachment.
6. The toilet seat attachment of claim 5, wherein said user support member has front and back portions and defines a substantially horizontal plane when the balloon is in a deflated condition, said member further comprising a depending skirt at said back portion of the member and extending into overlying relation with the back of the toilet to provide a back splash.
7. The toilet seat attachment of claim 1, further comprising a housing for substantially enveloping the balloon, said housing comprising a user support member atop the balloon and a base which is adapted to fit on the top surface of the toilet in interposed relation between the toilet and said balloon, said user support member being movable between a first position when the balloon is in a deflated condition and a second position when the balloon is in an inflated condition.
8. The toilet seat attachment of claim 7, wherein said user support member has front and back portions and defines a substantially horizontal plane when the balloon is in a deflated condition, said member further comprising a depending skirt at said back portion of the member and extending into overlying relation with the back of the toilet to provide a back splash.
9. The toilet seat attachment of claim 8, wherein said base further comprises means for releasably securing the base to the toilet.
10. The toilet seat attachment of claim 1, wherein said balloon is formed of a flexible, substantially nonstretchable material.
11. The toilet seat attachment of claim 1, wherein said balloon is substantially U-shaped.
12. The toilet seat attachment of claim 1, wherein said balloon includes a substantially central opening disposed in substantial alignment with the open central portion of the toilet when the balloon is operatively supported atop the top surface of the toilet.
13. The toilet seat attachment of claim 7, wherein said user support member is pivotably secured to said base for relative movement between said first and second positions.
14. A seat construction for supporting a user for normal use of a toilet, comprising: (a) a toilet having a substantially horizontal upper surface, an open central waste- receiving portion and front, rear and two side portions; (b) an inflatable, angularly elevatable, substantially U-shaped balloon member dimensioned to fit in overlying supported relation on the toilet and including a central opening for registration with the open central waste-receiving portion of the toilet, said balloon member having an upper face for supporting a user and a lower face for supporting the balloon member on the toilet; (c) means for removably attaching said balloon member to the upper surface of the toilet; and (d) user-operable means for inflating and deflating said balloon member, wherein the top surface of the balloon member upon inflating is adjustably tiltable to provide a variably inclined surface, elevated from front to back, for assisting a user in sitting on and rising from supported relation on said seat construction for normal use of the toilet, said inflated balloon member • being substantially wedge-shaped and said wedge shape being bounded by said upper and lower faces of the balloon member.
15. The seat construction of claim 14, wherein said means for inflating and deflating the balloon comprises means for pumping a fluid into said balloon member.
16. The seat construction of claim 14, further comprising a user support member adapted for receipt in overlying relation with said balloon member.
17. The seat construction of claim 14, wherein said balloon member comprises means for implementing integral pleating of a wall portion of the balloon member upon deflation thereof.
18. The seat construction of claim 14, further comprising a housing dimensioned to substantially envelop said balloon member, said housing comprising a user support member for overlying the balloon member surface and a base for supported relation on the upper surface of the toilet, wherein said user support member is movable from a first position when the balloon is in a deflated condition to a second position when the balloon is inflated.
19. The toilet seat attachment of claim 1, wherein the balloon member comprises a first front compartment having a predetermined fixed contour and a second, inflatable and deflatable rear compartment, wherein upon inflation of said second compartment the upper face of the balloon defines a relatively ramped surface inclined upwardly from the front to the back of the toilet.
20. The toilet seat attachment of claim 1, wherein said balloon member further comprises a portion having a fixed contour that at least partly defines said upper face of the balloon.
21. The toilet seat attachment of claim 1, wherein the balloon member comprises a first front compartment and a second, inflatable and deflatable rear compartment, wherein upon inflation of said second compartment the upper face of the balloon defines a relatively ramped surface inclined upwardly from the front to the back of the toilet.
22. In combination: a toilet having a front and a back and a substantially horizontal top surface disposed about the periphery of an open central waste-receiving portion of the toilet; and a toilet seat attachment operable for assisting a physically-impaired user in moving between a seated position in which the user is supported on the attachment for normal use of the toilet and an unseated position remote from the seat, said attachment comprising: an inflatable balloon disposed in supported relation atop the top surface of the toilet and having a central opening for registration with the open central waste-receiving portion of the toilet, an upper face for receiving a user in seated relation atop said attachment for normal waste-evacuating use of the toilet, and a lower face for supporting the balloon on the top surface of the toilet; and means operable for selectively . inflating said balloon by filling the balloon with a fluid so as to cause the upper face of the balloon to move from a first orientation in which said upper face defines a substantially horizontal user- supporting surface to a second orientation in which said upper face defines a relatively ramped surface inclined upwardly from the front toward the back of the toilet, said balloon being substantially wedge-shaped in said second orientation and said wedge shape being bounded by said upper and lower faces of the balloon, and for selectively deflating the balloon by controllably releasing fluid from within the balloon so as to cause the upper face of the balloon to return from said second to said first orientation, wherein the inclination of said upper face of the balloon in said second orientation is selected for facilitating user movement between a seated position in which the user is supported on the attachment and an unseated position remote from the seat.
23. A toilet seat attachment operable for assisting a physically-impaired user in moving between a seated position in which the user is supported on the attachment for normal use of a toilet and an unseated position remote from the seat, said attachment being adapted for use in conjunction with a conventional toilet having a front and a back and a substantially horizontal top surface disposed about the periphery of an open central waste-receiving portion of the toilet, said attachment comprising: an inflatable balloon disposable in supported relation atop the top surface of the toilet and having a central opening for registration with the open central waste-receiving portion of the toilet and an upper face for receiving a user in seated relation atop said attachment for normal waste-evacuating use of the toilet; means operable for selectively inflating said balloon by filling the balloon with a fluid so as to cause the upper face of the balloon to move from a first orientation in which said upper face defines a substantially horizontal user-supporting surface to a second orientation in which said upper face defines a relatively ramped surface inclined upwardly from the front toward the back of the toilet, and for selectively deflating the balloon by controllably releasing fluid from within the balloon so as to cause the upper face of the balloon to return from said second to said first orientation, wherein the -inclination of said upper face of the balloon in said second orientation is selected for facilitating user movement between a seated position in which the user is supported on the attachment and an unseated position remote from the seat; and a user support member disposed in overlying supported relation on the upper face of the balloon for supporting a user seated on the attachment, wherein said user support member has front and back portions and defines a substantially horizontal plane when the balloon is in a deflated condition, said member further comprising a depending skirt at said back portion of the member and extending into overlying relation with the back of the toilet to provide a splash guard.
24. A toilet seat attachment operable for assisting a physically-impaired user in moving between a seated position in which the user is supported on the attachment for normal use of a toilet and an unseated position remote from the seat, said attachment being adapted for use in conjunction with a conventional toilet having a front and a back and a substantially horizontal top surface disposed about the periphery of an open central waste-receiving portion of the toilet, said attachment comprising: an inflatable balloon disposable in supported relation atop the top surface of the toilet and having a central opening for registration with the open central waste-receiving portion of the toilet and an upper face for receiving a user in seated relation atop said attachment for normal waste-evacuating use of the toilet; means operable for selectively inflating said balloon by filling the balloon with a fluid so as to cause the upper face of the balloon to move from a first orientation in which said upper face defines a substantially horizontal user-supporting surface to a second orientation in which said upper face defines a relatively ramped surface inclined upwardly from the front toward the back of the toilet, and for selectively deflating the balloon by controllably releasing fluid from within the balloon so as to cause the upper face of the balloon to return from said second to said first orientation, wherein the inclination of said upper face of the balloon in said second orientation is selected for facilitating user movement between a seated position in which the user is supported on the attachment and an unseated position remote from the seat; and a housing for substantially enveloping the balloon, said housing comprising a user support member atop the balloon and a base which is adapted to fit on the top surface of the toilet in interposed relation between the toilet and said balloon, said user support member being movable between a first position when the balloon is in a deflated condition and a second position when the balloon is in an inflated condition, said user support member having front and back portions and defining a substantially horizontal plane when the balloon is in a deflated condition, and said user support member further comprising a depending skirt at said back portion of the member and extending into overlying relation with the back of the toilet to provide a splash guard.
25. The toilet seat attachment of claim 24, wherein said base further comprises means for releasably securing the base to the toilet.
26. A toilet seat attachment operable for assisting a physically-impaired user in moving between a seated position in which the user is supported on the attachment for normal use of a toilet and an unseated position remote from the seat, said attachment being adapted for use in conjunction with a conventional toilet having a front and a back and a substantially horizontal top surface disposed about the periphery of an open central waste-receiving portion of the toilet, said attachment comprising: an inflatable balloon disposable in supported relation atop the top surface of the toilet and having a central opening for registration with the open central waste-receiving portion of the toilet and an upper face for receiving a user in seated relation atop said attachment for normal waste-evacuating use of the toilet; and means operable for selectively inflating said balloon by filling the balloon with a fluid so as to cause the upper face of the balloon to move from a first orientation in which said upper face defines a substantially horizontal user-supporting surface to a second orientation in which said upper face defines a relatively ramped surface inclined upwardly from the front toward the back of the toilet, and for selectively deflating the balloon by controllably releasing fluid from within the balloon so as to cause the upper face of the balloon to return from said second to said first orientation, wherein the inclination of said upper face of the balloon in said second orientation is selected for facilitating user movement between a seated position in which the user is supported on the attachment and an unseated position remote from the seat; said balloon member further comprising a first front compartment having a predetermined fixed contour and a second, inflatable and deflatable rear compartment, wherein upon inflation of said second compartment the upper face of the balloon defines a relatively ramped surface inclined upwardly from the front to the back of the toilet.
27. A toilet seat attachment operable for assisting a physically-impaired user in moving between a seated position in which the user is supported on the attachment for normal use of a toilet and an unseated position remote from the seat, said attachment being adapted for use in conjunction with a conventional toilet having a front and a back and a substantially horizontal top surface disposed about the periphery of an open central waste-receiving portion of the toilet, said attachment comprising: an inflatable balloon disposable in supported relation atop the top surface of the toilet and having a central opening for registration with the open central waste-receiving portion of the toilet and an upper face for receiving a user in seated relation atop said attachment for normal waste-evacuating use of the toilet; and means operable for selectively inflating said balloon by filling the balloon with a fluid so as to cause the upper face of the balloon to move from a first orientation in which said upper face defines a substantially horizontal user-supporting surface to a second orientation in which said upper face defines a relatively ramped surface inclined upwardly from the front toward the back of the toilet, and for selectively deflating the balloon by controllably releasing fluid from within the balloon so as to cause the upper face of the balloon to return from said second to said first orientation, wherein the inclination of said upper face of the balloon in said second orientation is selected for facilitating user movement between a seated position in which the user is supported on the attachment and an unseated position remote from the seat; said balloon member further comprising a first front compartment and a second, inflatable and deflatable rear compartment, wherein upon inflation of said second compartment the upper face of the balloon defines a relatively ramped surface inclined upwardly from the front to the back of the toilet.
PCT/US1990/006344 1989-10-31 1990-10-31 Auxiliary toilet seat for physically-impaired users WO1991006239A1 (en)

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WO1996012433A1 (en) * 1994-10-25 1996-05-02 Nobi Oy Toilet seat
US6324705B1 (en) * 2000-06-30 2001-12-04 Hugo Z. Zephier Commode chair with enhanced user support
FR2853826A1 (en) * 2003-04-18 2004-10-22 Felix Emmanuel Relouzat Water closet seat lifting device, has body including orifice that is equipped with cork to permit refilling of device with compressed air, and membrane that guards compressed air and liberated it on demand of body

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WO1996012433A1 (en) * 1994-10-25 1996-05-02 Nobi Oy Toilet seat
US6324705B1 (en) * 2000-06-30 2001-12-04 Hugo Z. Zephier Commode chair with enhanced user support
FR2853826A1 (en) * 2003-04-18 2004-10-22 Felix Emmanuel Relouzat Water closet seat lifting device, has body including orifice that is equipped with cork to permit refilling of device with compressed air, and membrane that guards compressed air and liberated it on demand of body

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