WO2004082551A1 - Patient support - Google Patents

Patient support

Info

Publication number
WO2004082551A1
WO2004082551A1 PCT/US2004/007908 US2004007908W WO2004082551A1 WO 2004082551 A1 WO2004082551 A1 WO 2004082551A1 US 2004007908 W US2004007908 W US 2004007908W WO 2004082551 A1 WO2004082551 A1 WO 2004082551A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
layer
apparatus
support
pressure
configured
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2004/007908
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
James J. Romano
Original Assignee
Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
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

Links

Classifications

    • 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
    • A61G7/057Arrangements for preventing bed-sores or for supporting patients with burns, e.g. mattresses specially adapted therefor
    • A61G7/05769Arrangements for preventing bed-sores or for supporting patients with burns, e.g. mattresses specially adapted therefor with inflatable chambers
    • A61G7/05776Arrangements for preventing bed-sores or for supporting patients with burns, e.g. mattresses specially adapted therefor with inflatable chambers with at least two groups of alternately inflated chambers
    • 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
    • A61G7/057Arrangements for preventing bed-sores or for supporting patients with burns, e.g. mattresses specially adapted therefor
    • A61G7/05784Arrangements for preventing bed-sores or for supporting patients with burns, e.g. mattresses specially adapted therefor with ventilating means, e.g. mattress or cushion with ventilating holes or ventilators
    • 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
    • A61G7/057Arrangements for preventing bed-sores or for supporting patients with burns, e.g. mattresses specially adapted therefor
    • A61G7/05784Arrangements for preventing bed-sores or for supporting patients with burns, e.g. mattresses specially adapted therefor with ventilating means, e.g. mattress or cushion with ventilating holes or ventilators
    • A61G7/05792Arrangements for preventing bed-sores or for supporting patients with burns, e.g. mattresses specially adapted therefor with ventilating means, e.g. mattress or cushion with ventilating holes or ventilators with low air loss function, e.g. in mattresses, overlays or beds
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61GTRANSPORT OR ACCOMODATION FOR PATIENTS; OPERATING TABLES OR CHAIRS; CHAIRS FOR DENTISTRY; FUNERAL DEVICES
    • A61G2203/00General characteristics of devices
    • A61G2203/30General characteristics of devices characterised by sensor means
    • A61G2203/34General characteristics of devices characterised by sensor means for pressure

Abstract

A patient support (300) is disclosed including a spacing structure (308), a plurality of air bladders (304) and a cover (312).

Description

PATIENT SUPPORT

Related Applications

This patent application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/454,978, filed March 14, 2003, the disclosure of which is expressly incorporated by reference herein.

Background and Summary of the Invention

This application further expressly incorporates by reference the disclosure of the following: US Patent No. 4,949,414 issued August 21, 1990 to

Thomas et al. titled "Modular Low Air Loss Patient Support System and Methods for Automatic Patient Turning and Pressure Point Relief," US Patent Number 5,794,288 issued on August 18, 1998 to Soltani et al. titled "Pressure Control Assembly for an Air Mattress," US Patent No. 6,212,718 issued on April 10, 2001to Stolpmann et al. and titled "Air-Over-Foam Mattress," US Patent Number 6,240,584 issued on June 5, 2001 to Perez et al titled "Mattress Assembly," and US Patent No. 6,415,814 issued on July 9, 2002 to Barry D. Hand et al. titled "Vibratory Patient Support System," U.S. Patent No. 6,701,556 issued March 9, 2004 to Romano et al., U.S. Patent No. 6,269,504 issued August 7, 2001 to Romano et al., and US Patent Application Serial No. 09/701,499, now U.S. Patent 6,582,456 issued on June 24, 2003 to Hand et al. and titled "Heated Patient Support Apparatus." This application additionally expressly incorporates by reference the PrimeAire® Therapy Surface and the SilkAir® Therapy System both sold by Hill-Rom located in Batesville, Indiana and at 4349 Corporate Road, Charleston, SC 29405. The present invention relates generally to patient supports and more specifically patient supports including a spacing structure and an inflatable layer, such as a plurality of air bladders. As used herein, the term spacing structure for convenience is defined to include at least suitable types of "indented fiber layers" and suitable types of "three dimensional engineered materials." Reference is made to U.S. patents 5,731,062 and 5,454,142 disclosing the three dimensional fiber networks made from textile fabrics that have projections and optional depressions which are compressible and return to their original shape after being depressed. U.S. patents 5,731,062 and 5,454,142 are owned by Hoechst Celanese Corporation, Somerville, New Jersey. Such material is a synthetic thermoplastic fiber network in flexible sheets having projections and/or indentations for use as cushions and/or impact-absorbing components. The descriptions of such patents are incorporated herein by reference to establish the nature of one example of three dimensional engineered material or indented fiber layer disclosed herein. It will be appreciated, however, that the present invention contemplates use of such layers whether or not they are supplied by Hoechst Celanese Corporation and whether or not they are similar to the SPACENET® product.

It is understood that other types of materials similar to the SPACENET® material may be used. For example, the material may be any type of three dimensional engineered material having a spring rate in both the X and Y axes. Preferably such material is open and breathable to provide air passage through the layer. For instance, Model No. 5875, 5886, 5898, and 5882 materials from Mϋller Textile, a molded thermoplastic spacer matrix material available from Akzo Nobel, or other suitable material may be used. Therefore, the term "three dimensional engineered material" is meant to include any of these types of materials used in accordance with the present invention.

The concept is to use three dimensional fiber layer networks made from textile fibers that have projections and optional depressions or other structures which are compressible and which return to their original shapes after being compressed or the equivalents of such layers. The SPACENET® fiber networks are typically made by thermo-mechanical deformation of textile fabrics that are in turn made from thermoplastic fibers. In accordance with the present invention other types of layers with individual spring or spring-like protrusions may be used.

It has been found that two or more such layers, hereinafter referred to as "indented fiber layers" for convenience will assist in the pressure distribution when incorporated into an assembly comprising a well designed support base which may comprise foam or some combination of foam and air. The SPACENET® layers are examples of such "indented fiber layers."

In one embodiment, an apparatus configured to support at least a portion of a body thereon is provided comprising an inflatable first layer including a plurality of support zones, a second layer positioned between the first layer and the portion of the body to be supported, the second layer including a spacing structure, and a controller configured to control the pressure in each support zone of the plurality of support zones of the inflatable first layer. In one example, the inflatable first layer is configured to provide a static support surface wherein a first support zone is configured to be generally pressurized at a first pressure and a second support zone is configured to be generally pressurized at a second pressure, the second pressure differing from the first pressure. In another example, the inflatable first layer is configured to provide at least one therapy to the portion of the body supported thereon. In yet another example, the apparatus further comprises a cover configured to confine at least the second layer of the first layer and the second layer and including a first portion positioned adjacent the portion of the body to be supported, the first portion including a moisture vapor permeable material. In one variation, the cover is coupled to a source of air to provide air circulation through the second layer and the through the moisture vapor permeable material of the first portion of the cover.

In another embodiment, an apparatus configured to support at least a portion of a body thereon is provided comprising an inflatable first layer including a plurality of support zones, the plurality of support zones including a first support zone which generally corresponds to the chest region of the body, a second layer positioned between the first layer and the portion of the body to be supported, the second layer comprising a spacing structure, a controller configured to control the pressure of each support zone of the first inflatable layer and further to control the pressure of the first support zone to provide a percussion therapy to the chest region of the body, and a cover positioned between the second layer and the portion of the body to be supported. In one example, the cover defines an interior region, the second layer being positioned within the interior region. In one variation, the apparatus further comprises a source of air coupled to the cover such that air is forced through the second layer. In another example, the cover defines an interior region, the second layer being positioned within the interior region, and at least a portion of a top surface of the cover is made from a breathable material, the portion of the top surface and the second layer cooperating to provide cooling for the body supported on the portion of the top surface. In one variation, the apparatus further comprises a source of air coupled to the cover to provide air circulation through the second layer.

In yet another embodiment, the spacing structure is provided as a overlay to a second support comprising a plurality of air bladders configured to provide at least one type of therapy including alternating pressure therapy, percussion and vibratory therapy, or rotational therapy. In one example, the overlay support including the spacing structure is generally a sealed overlay. In a further example, the overlay support includes a cover made from a breathable material. In another example, the overlay support including the spacing structure is configured to provide a low air loss therapy. In still another embodiment, an apparatus configured to support at least a portion of a body thereon comprises a first layer comprising a plurality of bladders, the plurality of bladders being configured to provide at least one therapy to the portion of the body supported thereon; a second layer positioned between the first layer and the portion of the body to be supported, the second layer comprising a spacing structure including a plurality of resilient members; and a cover positioned between the second layer and the portion of the body to be supported, the cover including a moisture vapor permeable material. In one example, the apparatus further comprises a fan coupled to the cover to provide air circulation through the second layer and the through the moisture vapor permeable material of the first portion of the cover. In a further embodiment, an apparatus configured to support at least a portion of a body thereon comprises a first layer comprising a first support zone including a first plurality of bladders and a second support zone including a second plurality of bladders, the first plurality of bladders in the first support zone configured to be pressurized at a first pressure and the second plurality of bladders in the second support zone configured to be pressurized at a second pressure; a second layer positioned between the first layer and the portion of the body to be supported comprising a spacing structure including a plurality of resilient members; and a cover positioned between the second layer and the portion of the body to be supported, the cover including a moisture vapor permeable material. In one example, the apparatus further comprises a fan coupled to the cover to provide air circulation through the second layer and the through the moisture vapor permeable material of the first portion of the cover.

In yet a further embodiment, an apparatus for supporting at least a portion of a body thereon and for providing at least one therapy to the portion of the body supported thereon selected from the group of alternating pressure therapy, percussion therapy, vibration therapy, and rotational therapy comprises a first layer comprising a first support zone including a first plurality of bladders and a second support zone including a second plurality of bladders, the first layer being configured to provide the at least one therapy to the portion of the body supported thereon; a second layer positioned between the first layer and the portion of the body to be supported and comprising a spacing structure including resilient members; and a cover configured to confine at least the second layer of the first layer and the second layer and including a first portion positioned adjacent the portion of the body supported, the first portion including a moisture vapor permeable material. In one example, the apparatus further comprises a fan coupled to the cover to provide air circulation through the second layer and the through the moisture vapor permeable material of the first portion of the cover.

Additional features and advantages of the invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon consideration of the following detailed description of the illustrated embodiments exemplifying the best mode of carrying out the invention as presently perceived.

Brief Description of the Drawings The detailed description particularly refers to the accompanying figures in which:

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a support comprising a first layer having a plurality of air bladders and a second layer including a spacing structure;

Fig. 2 is a diagrammatic side vide of the support Fig. 1 coupled to an air pressure control system;

Figs. 3-6 are flowcharts corresponding to a first exemplary patient support program to be executed by a controller of the support shown in Figs. 1 and 2.

Detailed Description of the Drawings While the invention is susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, exemplary embodiments thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will herein be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that there is no intent to limit the invention to the particular forms disclosed. Referring to Fig. 1, a support or cushion 300 is shown. Support 300 includes a first layer 302 configured to provide at least one type of therapy including alternating pressure therapy, percussion and vibratory therapy, or rotational therapy including a plurality of air bladders 304a-p and a second layer 306 including a spacing structure 308. Spacing structure 308 in one embodiment comprises one or more indented fiber layers or other such three dimensional engineered material layers having a plurality of resilient members. In one example the SPACENET® material is used as spacing structure 308.

In one example, first layer 302 provides a generally constant pressure profile across air bladder 304a-p. In a further example, first layer 302 is configured such that combinations of adjacent air bladders 304a-p define body support zones which support different portions of the patient at different pressures. In another example, first layer 302 is configured to provide an alternating pressure therapy wherein every other or every third or other multiple of air bladders 304a-p are plumbed together to define bladder sets such that a patient may be supported by first layer 302 while simultaneously relieving pressure points by cyclically dropping and/or elevating the pressure in the respective bladder sets. In one variation, all of air bladders 304a-p provide an alternating pressure therapy. In another variation, at least two of the air bladders 304a-p provide an alternating pressure therapy. In yet a further example at least one of the air bladders 304a-p is configured to provide a percussion therapy wherein the pressure of the at least one air bladder 304a-p is dropped and elevated at a rate sufficient to and amount to impart a vibration to the patient. In one variation, the vibration is directed at a chest region of the patient to aid in the breakdown of undesired materials in the lungs of the patient. In still a further example at least one of air bladders 304a-p is configured to provide a rotational therapy to the patient. Exemplary aspects of alternating pressure therapy, percussion or vibration therapy, rotational therapy, and the configurations of a support to perform the same are shown in US Patent No. 4,949,414 issued August 21, 1990 to Thomas et al. titled "Modular Low Air Loss Patient Support System and Methods for Automatic Patient Turning and Pressure Point Relief," the disclosure of which is herein expressly incorporated by reference and US Patent No. 6,415,814 issued on July 9, 2002 to Barry D. Hand et al. and titled "Vibratory Patient Support System," ," the disclosure of which is herein expressly incorporated by reference

In the illustrated embodiment, an impermeable sheet 310 is positioned between spacing structure 308 and the plurality of air bladders 304a-p and is configured to keep fluids and moisture away from bladders 304a-p. A cover 312 overlays spacing structure 308 and is secured to impermeable sheet 310 with a suitable fastener 311. Example suitable fasteners include snaps, hook and loop fasteners, or zippers. As such, cover 312 and impermeable sheet 310 cooperate to enclose spacing structure 308 within an interior region between cover 312 and impermeable sheet 310. The combination of spacing structure 308, impermeable sheet 310, and cover 312 is portable and can be placed upon any suitable support layer, such as first layer 302 including plurality of bladders 304a-p. It is further contemplated that cover 312, and/or impermeable sheet 310 is configured to be secured to first layer 302 with a suitable fastener.

Alternatively, the cover and the impermeable sheet are made as a single unit or bag with an opening wherein the spacing structure is placed in an interior region thereof. The opening is closed with any suitable fasteners, such as snaps, hook and loop fasteners, or zippers. The single unit or bag may then be placed upon and/or coupled to any suitable support layer, such as first layer 302 including plurality of bladders 304a-p.

As a further alternative, a top portion 314 of first layer 302, such as the top portions of air bladders 304a-p are made from an impermeable material and combine to form an impermeable sheet. As such, spacing structure 308 is placed in the interior region formed by cover 312 and the impermeable sheet created by the top portion of the first layer. Cover 312 is secured to first layer 302 with any suitable fasteners, such as snaps, hook and loop fasteners, or zippers.

As yet a further alternative, the cover is a single unit or bag with an opening wherein spacing structure 308 and first layer 302 including the impermeable sheet formed from the top portion of first layer 302 are placed in an interior thereof. As such, the cover encloses both the first layer and the second layer.

As still a further alternative, the cover is a single unit with an opening wherein spacing structure 308is placed. The cover and spacing structure 308 are then positionable and/or securable to first layer 302. As such, the cover is interposed between the impermeable sheet of first layer 302 and spacing structure 308.

Referring back to the illustrative embodiment shown in Fig. 1, a top portion 315 of cover 312 is made from a moisture vapor permeable material which allows air and moisture to pass there through. Illustratively, a coupler 318 is attached to cover 312 and is configured to be coupled to a source of air, such as fan 320, through a tube 322. As such, air supplied by fan 320 passes through tube 322 and enters the interior region between cover 312 and impermeable sheet 310 through opening 316 in cover 312. The air entering opening 316 is forced through spacing structure 308 and exits top portion 315 of cover 312 to provide cooling for a person being supported by support 300. In one example, fan 320 includes a heating element such that the air provided to the interior region may be heated above the ambient temperature. In one variation controller 334 controls the heating element and thus the temperature of the air. In an alternate embodiment, cover 312 includes a plurality of apertures in the top portion to provide low air loss therapy. In another example, top portion 315 of cover 312 is formed to contain a heating element such as Gorix™ material. Controller 334 is electrically coupled to the heating element. The heating element is used to warm the patient on support 300. An example support incorporating a heating material is disclosed in copending US Patent Application Serial No. 09/701,499, filed on November 29, 2000 by Hand et al. and titled "Heated Patient Support Apparatus," the disclosure of which is herein expressly incorporated by reference.

In another alternate embodiment first layer 302 is combined with a low air loss layer comprising a plurality of air chambers such as the mattress assembly shown in at least one of US Patent Number 5,794,288 issued on August 18, 1998 to Soltani et al. titled "Pressure Control Assembly for an Air Mattress," US Patent Number 6,240,584 issued on June 5, 2001 to Perez et al titled "Mattress Assembly," and the SilkAir® Therapy System both sold by Hill-Rom located in Batesville, Indiana and at 4349 Corporate Road, Charleston, SC 29405. In one embodiment, wherein support 300 does not provide low air loss therapy, cover 312 of support 300 still overlays spacing structure 308 as described above, however cover 312 does not include a portion made from a moisture vapor permeable material. Support 300 does further include a pad (not shown) including a wicking material that is positionable upon cover 312 and securable to cover 312 or other portions of support 300. The wicking material is configured to pull moisture away from the patient positioned on the pad such that the skin of the patient can be kept generally dry.

Referring to Fig. 2, in one embodiment, a width of individual air bladders 304a-p of first layer 302, illustratively such as a width 305 of air bladder 304a is preferably between about 1 inch to about 2.5 inches, between about 1 inch to about 2 inches, or between about 1.5 inches to about 2.5 inches and a height of individual air bladders 304a-p, illustratively, such as a height 307 of air bladder 304a is about 6 inches to about 8 inches. The preferred width 305 of air bladder 304a reduces the amount of shear experienced by a patient lying on support 300 when at least a portion of support 300 is configured to provide alternating pressure as compared to larger bladder widths, such as about 6 inches to about 8 inches.

In one embodiment, first layer 302 is divided into a plurality of support zones 324a-d. Support zone 324a generally corresponds to the leg and foot region of the patient supported on support 300. Support zone 324b generally corresponds to the seat and thigh region of the patient supported on support 300. Support zone 324c generally corresponds to the chest region of the patient supported on support 300. Support zone 324d generally corresponds to the head region of the patient supported on support 300. Although, four support zones are shown, it is within the scope of the present invention to have various configurations comprising one or more support zones.

Each support zone 324a-d contains at least one bladder 304 and preferably includes a plurality of bladders. As shown in Figs. 1 and 2, support zone 324a includes bladders 304a-d, support zone 324b includes bladders 304e-j, support zone 324c includes bladders 304k and 3041, and support zone 324d includes bladders 304m-p. Further, it is within the scope of the present invention to vary either the overall number of air bladders or the number of air bladders in at least one support zone or both.

Air is supplied to each bladder 304a-p through bladder supply lines 326a-p coupled to respective bladders 304a-p as illustratively shown in Fig. 2.

Bladder supply lines 326a-p are supplied by one of two main supply lines 328a and 328b. In an alternative embodiment a single main supply line is coupled to all of the bladder supply lines. In a further alternate embodiment, three or more supply lines are coupled to various groupings of air bladders. Illustratively, each bladder supply line 326a-p is coupled to either main supply line 328a or main supply line 328b through a fixed valve 330 or a three-way valve 332. As shown in Fig. 2, bladders 304a and 304c are coupled to line 328a through fixed valve 330a, bladders 304b and 304d are coupled to line 328b through fixed valve 330b, bladders 304e, 304g, and 304i are coupled to line 328a through three-way valve 332a, bladders 304f, 304h, and 304j are coupled to line 328b through three-way valve 332b, bladder 304k is coupled to line 328a through fixed valve 330c, bladder 3041 is coupled to line 328b through fixed valve 330d, bladders 304m and 304o are coupled to line 328a through fixed valve 330e, bladders 304n and 304p are coupled to line 328b through fixed valve 330f. The configuration shown in Fig. 2 is for illustrative purposes and it is within the scope of the present invention to use only three-way valves, only fixed valves, or other configurations of three-way valves and fixed valves to couple the air bladders to the supply lines. Further it is within the scope of the present invention to use variable valves such as electronic control valves. Fixed valves 330a-f are configured to control the rate of flow into and out of corresponding air bladder 304a-d, 304k and 3041, and 304m-p. In one embodiment, fixed values 330a-f each are configured to permit the same rate of fluid flow into and out of corresponding air bladder 304a-d, 304k and 3041, and 304m-p. In another embodiment, fixed valves 330 of at least one support zone 324 of support zones 324a-d is configured to permit a different rate of fluid flow into and out of the corresponding bladders 304, such that the at least one support zone is inflatable to a different pressure than the remaining support zones. In yet another embodiment, at least one of fixed valves 330a-f is replaced with a variable valve wherein the rate of fluid flow into and out of the corresponding bladder 304 is adjustable. In one example, the variable valve is an electronic control valve that is configured to communicate with controller 334 and to adjust the rate of flow based on a signal provided by controller 334.

Three-way valves 332a and 332b are configured to couple respective air bladders 304e, 304g, 304i and 304f, 304h, 304j to respective supply lines 328a and 328b in a first orientation and to vent respective air bladders 304e, 304g, 304i and 304f, 304h, 304j to atmosphere in a second orientation. Three-way valves 332a and 332b are provided in zone 324b to permit zone 324b to provide a percussion therapy while zones 324a, 324c, and 324d maintain a constant pressure profile or provide an alternating pressure therapy. In a first example, zones 324a, 324c, and 324d are held at a constant pressure profile, although potentially a different pressure profile for each respective zone, and zone 324b is configured to provide an alternating pressure therapy or a percussion therapy. In a second example, zones 324a, 324c, and 324d are configured to provide an alternating pressure therapy and zone 324b is configured to provide a percussion therapy. As stated earlier air is supplied to bladders 304a-p from supply lines

328a and 328b. Supply lines 328a and 328b are coupled to an air supply, such as pump 336, through three-way valves 340a and 340b, respectively. Any air supply and three-way valves 340a and 340b known to one skilled in the art of mattresses and hospital equipment can be provided for the operation of the present invention. Three- way valves 340a and 340b are configured to couple corresponding main supply lines 328a and 328b to air supply 336 in a first orientation and to couple corresponding main supply lines 328a and 328b to atmosphere in a second orientation. When pump 336 is coupled to at least one of supply lines 328a and 328b, the pressure in the at least one of supply lines 328a and 328b is proportional to the output of pump 336. Pressure sensors 344a and 344b monitor the pressure in the respective supply lines 328a and 328b.

Controller 334 is configured to control the operation of pump 336, three-way valves 332a and 332b, and three-way valves 340a and 340b. Further, if any of fixed valves 330a-f are variable valves, such as electronic control valves, controller 334 can control the variable valve. Further, pressure sensors 344a and 344b are connected to controller 334 such that controller 334 can monitor the pressure of supply lines 328a and 328b. In one example, pressure sensors (not shown) are provided between bladders 304a-p and valves 330a-f and 332a and 332b such that controller 334 can monitor the pressure of the air supplied to air bladders 304a-p. In another example, pressure sensors (not shown) are provided in the interior of at least one of air bladders 304a-p such that controller 334 can monitor the pressure inside the at least one of air bladders 304a-p. Exemplary controllers, valves, pressure sensors, and overall air pressure systems are shown in US Patent No. 6,212,718 issued on April 10, 2002 to Stolpmann et al. titled "Air-Over-Foam Mattress" and in the

PrimeAire® Therapy Surface sold by Hill-Rom located in Batesville, Indiana and at 4349 Corporate Road, Charleston, SC 29405.

Controller 334 is further configured to control fan 320, such that fan 320 is configured to force air through tube 322 into the interior region between cover 312 and impermeable sheet 310. Portion 315 of cover 312 is made from a moisture vapor permeable material that allows air and moisture to pass there through. The air entering the interior region from fan 320 is forced through spacing structure 308 and portion 315 to provide a low air loss therapy wherein a person being supported by support 300 is cooled due to the movement of air. The controller 334 maintains the proper amount of air movement provided by fan 320.

In an alternate embodiment, fixed valves 330a-f are replaced with three-way valves similar to three-way valves 332a and 332b. As such, each air bladder 304a-p, under the direction of controller 334 may individually be coupled to a supply line of pressurized air such as 328a or coupled atmosphere. In a further alternate embodiment, fixed valves 330a-f and three-way valves 332a and 332b are replaced with check valves and control orifices which are configured to control the supply of air to each air bladder 304a-p. Further, each air bladder is connected to an exhaust line which is coupled to atmosphere. An exemplary configuration of check valves, control orifices and exhaust lines is provided in US Patent Number 5,794,288 to Soltani et al. titled "Pressure Control Assembly for an Air Mattress, the disclosure of which is herein expressly incorporated by reference.

Fig. 2 further shows a power supply 342 configured to supply electrical power to drive support 300. In the illustrated embodiment, power supply 342 is connected to controller 334 and from controller 334 provides the power for the rest of the system, including fan 320 and pump 336. In another embodiment power supply 342 is directly connected to at least one additional component, such as pump 336 or fan 320. Although support 300 has illustratively been shown as having four support zones 324a-d, it is within the scope of the present invention to have only a single support zone spanning the length of support 300. In one example, the single support zone provides a constant pressure profile across air bladders 304a-p. In another example, the single support zone provides an alternating pressure therapy wherein either every other, every third, or other multiples of air bladders 304a-p are plumbed together.

Referring to Figs. 3-18, an exemplary embodiment of patient support software 360 is shown. Patient support software 360 is configured to be executed by controller 334 in association with the operation of support 300. Referring to Fig. 3, controller 334 and support 300 are turned on or powered up, as represented by block 362. As represented by block 364, the operator is able to selects at least one of three therapies: a low air loss therapy 366, an alternating pressure therapy 368, or a percussion therapy 370. In one example it is possible to select multiple therapies, such that alternating pressure therapy 368 and low air loss therapy 366 are executed simultaneously or such that percussion therapy 370 and low air loss therapy 366 are executed simultaneously. In an alternative embodiment percussion therapy 370 is substituted by a rotational therapy (not shown). In order to provide a rotational therapy, air bladders 304a-p of support 300 are divided into two sets of air bladders, right side air bladders (not shown) and left side air bladders (not shown). Exemplary air bladders for use with a rotational therapy, are shown in US Patent No. 4,949,414 issued August 21, 1990 to Thomas et al. titled "Modular Low Air Loss Patient Support System and Methods for Automatic Patient Turning and Pressure Point Relief," the disclosure of which is herein expressly incorporated by reference and US Patent No. 6,415,814 issued on July 9, 2002 to Barry D. Hand et al. and titled "Vibratory Patient Support System," the disclosure of which is herein expressly incorporated by reference.

Referring to Fig. 4, a first exemplary low air loss therapy routine 366 is shown. As represented by block 372, controller 334 turns on pump at block 364 such that bladders 304a-p are inflated to a start-up pressure profile stored in controller 334. Additionally, fan 320 is activated with initial settings stored in controller, as represented by block 374. The pressure of bladders 304a-p are set such that a pressure profile is established or stored, as represented by block 376. The terms "pressure profile" are used to refer to the fact that the pressure in each support zone 324a-d may be different because of the different support requirements of that particular zone. For example, the pressure in the support zone corresponding to the feet of the body may be lower than one or more of the other support zones to provide pressure relief to the heel of the body.

In one example, the pressure profile is determined based on input from a caregiver. A caregiver selects a pressure set input from a caregiver interface (not shown) connected to support 300, as represented by block 378. The caregiver enters the weight of the patient lying on support 300, as represented by block 380, and controller 334 through an algorithm sets the appropriate pressure profile, as represented by block 382. An example of setting of a pressure profile based on at least the weight of a patient in a support having multiple support zones and a caregiver interface are shown in US Patent No. 4,949,414 issued August 21, 1990 to Thomas et al. titled "Modular Low Air Loss Patient Support System and Methods for Automatic Patient Turning and Pressure Point Relief," the disclosure of which is herein expressly incorporated by reference and US Patent No. 6,415,814 issued on July 9, 2002 to Barry D. Hand et al. and titled "Vibratory Patient Support System," the disclosure of which is herein expressly incorporated by reference.

Once the pressure for each support zone 324a-d is set by controller 334 through the operation of pump 336, valves 330a-f, valves 332a and 332b, and valves 340a and 340b, controller 334 checks to determine if percussion control valves 332a and 332b need to be turned off, as represented by block 384. Percussion control valves 332a and 332b are in an on configuration or "turned on" when they are being cycled between the first orientation and the second orientation at a rate that corresponds to percussion therapy 370, as discussed below in connection with blocks 412 and 414 in Fig. 6. Percussion control valves 332a and 332b are in an off configuration or "turned off when they are held in either the first orientation or the second orientation, preferably the first orientation wherein air bladders 304e-j are connected to respective supply lines 328a and 328b. However, if low air loss therapy 366 is to be conducted simultaneously with percussion therapy 370, block 384 is disabled.

Controller 334 monitors the pressure profile of bladders 304a-p, as represented by block 386. Adjustments to the pressure profile can be made, as represented by block 388. One example adjustment is a manual offset from a patient comfort input, as represented by block 390. For example, an input device such as a control panel (not shown) may be accessed by a patient in order that the patient can either increase the pressure or reduce the pressure in the patient support or in a given zone of the patient support. In another example, adjustments to the pressure profile are made due to a change in the position of the patient on support 300 or the orientation of support 300, such as a head section (not shown) of a bed (not shown) on which support 300 is positioned is tilted upward. Controller 334, as represented by block 376, sets or stores the adjustments to the pressure profile.

If controller 334 detects a low pressure in either supply line 328a or 328b through pressure sensors 344a and 344b or a low pressure in at least one of bladders 304a-p, a low pressure alarm is set, as represented by block 392. Controller 334 waits for a predefined time interval to see if the pressure is restored to a generally normal level, as represented by block 394. If the pressure has not been restored upon the expiration of the time interval an alarm is initiated, such as the lighting of an LED, as represented by block 396. In other examples the alarm is an audible alarm, a light positioned remote from support 300 such as in the hallway or at a nurse's station, or a signal across a network (not shown) to a caregiver station.

Controller 334 continues to execute the base routine of low air loss therapy 366 in the absence of a change in command, as represented by blocks 398 and 400. In one example, a command change, as represented by block 400 is the selection of another or an additional therapy. Further, example changes in command include a request to power off support 300, as represented by block 402, a request to cycle or turn off the low air loss fan 320, as represented by block 404, and to pause the system, as represented by block 406. In one variation, pausing the system indicates to controller 334 to hold the current pressure in air bladders 304a-p. In another variation, pausing the system indicates to controller 334 to adjust the pressure in air bladders 304a-p to a stored pressure profile.

Referring to Fig. 5, a first exemplary alternating pressure therapy routine 368 is shown. Alternating pressure therapy routine 368 is generally similar to low air loss therapy routine 366. As such like numerals are positioned on like blocks that are common to both alternating pressure routine 368 and low air loss routine 366. Further, if alternating pressure therapy 368 is to be conducted simultaneously with percussion therapy 370, block 384 is disabled. Alternating pressure therapy 368 differs from low air loss therapy 366 in that a cycle time is selected, as represented by block 408. Controller 334 sets the cycle time as represented by block 410. As explained earlier, alternating pressure therapy 368 corresponds to plumbing every second, every third, or higher multiple of air bladders 304a-p together to define at least two groups of support bladders. In the illustrated example of Fig. 2, a first bladder group consists of air bladders 304a, 304c, 304e, 304g, 304i, 304k, 304m, and 304o and a second bladder group consists of air bladders 304b, 304d, 304f, 304h, 304j, 3041, 304n, and 304p.

At the onset of alternating pressure therapy 368, the pressure in the first illustrated bladder group and the second illustrated bladder group corresponds to the stored constant pressure profile for support 300. During a first cycle of alternating pressure therapy the pressure in the first group is adjusted to a higher pressure than the pressure in the second group and then the pressure in the first group is adjusted to a lower pressure than the pressure in the second group. In one example, a first cycle corresponds to in a first step holding the pressure in the first group of air bladders and dropping the pressure in the second group of air bladders to a predetermined pressure profile or by a predetermined percentage of pressure, holding the resultant pressures in the first group and the second group for a first time period in a second step, in a third step restoring the pressure in the second group of air bladders and dropping the pressure in the first group of air bladders, to a predetermined pressure profile or by a predetermined percentage of pressure, holding the resultant pressures for a second time period in a fourth step, and then restoring the pressure in the first group of air bladders and dropping the pressure in the second group of air bladders, such that support 300 is in the configuration provided in step one. Subsequent cycles consist of repeating steps two through five. If the alternating pressure therapy is terminated, the pressure in both the first group of air bladders and the second group of air bladders is restored. In one variation, the first time period and the second time period correspond to about 3 minutes to about 5 minutes.

In another example, a first cycle corresponds to in a first step holding the pressure in the first group of air bladders and elevating the pressure in the second group of air bladders to a predetermined pressure profile or by a predetermined percentage of pressure, holding the resultant pressures in the first group and the second group for a first time period in a second step, in a third step restoring the pressure in the second group of air bladders and elevating the pressure in the first group of air bladders, to a predetermined pressure profile or by a predetermined percentage of pressure, holding the resultant pressures for a second time period in a fourth step, and then restoring the pressure in the first group of air bladders and elevating the pressure in the second group of air bladders, such that support 300 is in the configuration provided in step one. Subsequent cycles consist of repeating steps two through five. If the alternating pressure therapy is terminated, the pressure in both the first group of air bladders and the second group of air bladders is restored. In one variation, the first time period and the second time period correspond to about 3 minutes to about 5 minutes.

In a further example, a first cycle corresponds to in a first step elevating the pressure in the first group of air bladders to a predetermined pressure profile or by a predetermined percentage of pressure and dropping the pressure in the second group of air bladders to a predetermined pressure profile or by a predetermined percentage of pressure, holding the resultant pressures in the first group and the second group for a first time period in a second step, in a third step elevating the pressure in the second group of air bladders to a predetermined pressure profile or by a predetermined percentage of pressure and dropping the pressure in the first group of air bladders to a predetermined pressure profile or by a predetermined percentage of pressure, holding the resultant pressures for a second time period in a fourth step, and then elevating the pressure in the first group of air bladders to a predetermined pressure profile or by a predetermined percentage of pressure and dropping the pressure in the second group of air bladders to a predetermined pressure profile or by a predetermined percentage of pressure, such that support 300 is in the configuration provided in step one. Subsequent cycles consist of repeating steps two through five. If the alternating pressure therapy is terminated, the pressure in both the first group of air bladders and the second group of air bladders is restored. In one variation, the first time period and the second time period correspond to about 3 minutes to about 5 minutes.

Referring to Fig. 6, a first exemplary percussion therapy routine 370 is shown. Percussion therapy routine 370 is generally similar to low air loss therapy routine 366 and alternating pressure therapy routine 368. As such like numerals are positioned on like blocks that are common to percussion therapy routine 370 and both alternating pressure routine 368 and low air loss routine 366. Percussion therapy routine 370 differs from low air loss therapy 366 in that a percussion rate is selected, as represented by block 412. Controller 334 turns on percussion valves 332a and 332b and initiates the percussion therapy, as represented by block 414. In a first example, three-way valves 332a and 332b are configured to couple respective air bladders 304e, 304g, 304i and 304f, 304h, 304j to respective supply lines 328a and 328b in a first orientation and to vent respective air bladders 304e, 304g, 304i and 304f, 304h, 304j to atmosphere in a second orientation. In a first step three-way valve 332a couples air bladders 304e, 304g and 304i to supply line 328a and three-way valve 332b couples air bladders 304f, 304h and 304j, to atmosphere to quickly reduce the pressure in air bladders 304f, 304h and 304j. In a second step, three-way valve 332a couples air bladders 304e, 304g and 304i to atmosphere to quickly reduce the pressure in air bladders 304e, 304g and 304i and three-way valve 332b couples air bladders 304f, 304h and 304j to supply line 328b to pressurize air bladders 304f, 304h and 304j. In one variation, the rate selected for the percussion therapy corresponds to cycling between the first orientation and the second orientation at about 1 Hertz to about 25 Hertz, at about 1 Hertz to about 5 Hertz, and at about 6 Hertz to about 25 Hertz.

In another example, air bladders 304e-j, include vibrating means configured to provide percussion therapy. In one variation, the vibrating means are disposed within air bladders 304e-j. In another variation, the vibrating means disposed partially within air bladders 304e-j and partially as a portion of top portion 314 of air bladders 304e-j. Exemplary vibrating means are shown in US Patent No. 4,949,414 issued August 21, 1990 to Thomas et al. titled "Modular Low Air Loss Patient Support System and Methods for Automatic Patient Turning and Pressure Point Relief," the disclosure of which is herein expressly incorporated by reference and US Patent No. 6,415,814 issued on July 9, 2002 to Barry D. Hand et al. and titled "Vibratory Patient Support System," the disclosure of which is herein expressly incorporated by reference.

Claims

CLAIMS:
1. An apparatus configured to support at least a portion of a body thereon, the apparatus comprising: an inflatable first layer including a plurality of support zones; a second layer positioned between the first layer and the portion of the body to be supported, the second layer including a spacing structure; and a controller configured to control the pressure in each support zone of the plurality of support zones of the inflatable first layer, the inflatable first layer configured to provide a static support surface wherein a first support zone is configured to be generally pressurized at a first pressure and a second support zone is configured to be generally pressurized at a second pressure, the second pressure differing from the first pressure.
2. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein the first support zone generally corresponds to the head of the body to be supported and the second support zone generally corresponds to the feet of the body to be supported.
3. The apparatus of claim 1, wherein each of the plurality of support zones includes a plurality of bladders.
4. The apparatus of claim 3, wherein the inflatable first layer is configured to provide at least one therapy to the portion of the body supported thereon.
5. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein at least one of the support zones of the inflatable first layer is configured to provide a percussion therapy.
6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the plurality of bladders of the at least one support zone configured to provide percussion therapy are inflated and deflated at a rate of between about 1 Hertz to about 25 Hertz.
7. The apparatus of claim 4, wherein at least one of the support zones of the inflatable first layer is configured to provide an alternating pressure therapy.
8. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein all of the support zones of the inflatable first layer are configured to provide an alternating pressure therapy.
9. The apparatus of claims 1-9, wherein the spacing structure includes a three dimensional engineered material having a plurality of resilient members.
10. The apparatus of claims 1-9, wherein the spacing structure includes indented fiber networks.
11. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a cover configured to confine at least the second layer of the first layer and the second layer and including a first portion positioned adjacent the portion of the body to be supported, the first portion including a moisture vapor permeable material.
12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the cover is coupled to a source of air to provide air circulation through the second layer and the through the moisture vapor permeable material of the first portion of the cover.
13. The apparatus of claim 12, further comprising a heating element to provide heat to at least a portion of the body supported thereon.
14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the heating element is controlled by the controller.
15. An apparatus configured to support at least a portion of a body thereon, the apparatus comprising: an inflatable first layer including a plurality of support zones, the plurality of support zones including a first support zone which generally corresponds to the chest region of the body; a second layer positioned between the first layer and the portion of the body to be supported, the second layer comprising a spacing structure; a controller configured to control the pressure of each support zone of the first inflatable layer and further to control the pressure of the first support zone to provide a percussion therapy to the chest region of the body; and a cover positioned between the second layer and the portion of the body to be supported.
16. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the cover includes a portion made of a moisture vapor permeable material.
17. The apparatus of claim 16, wherein the cover defines an interior region, the second layer being positioned within the interior region.
18. The apparatus of claim 17, further comprising a source of air coupled to the cover such that air is forced through the second layer.
19. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the cover defines an interior region, the second layer being positioned within the interior region, and at least a portion of a top surface of the cover is made from a breathable material, the portion of the top surface and the second layer cooperating to provide cooling for the body supported on the portion of the top surface.
20. The apparatus of claim 19, further comprising a source of air coupled to the cover to provide air circulation through the second layer.
21. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the inflatable first layer is further configured to provide an alternating pressure therapy.
22. The apparatus of claim 15, wherein the inflatable first layer is further configured to provide a rotational therapy.
PCT/US2004/007908 2003-03-14 2004-03-15 Patient support WO2004082551A1 (en)

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