APPARATUS, SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR DISPENSING INCONTINENCE PRODUCTS

An apparatus for dispensing incontinence products includes a base defining a base axis and having an internal chamber, and a support disposed within the internal chamber of the base. The support is arranged to support at least two incontinence products in superposed relation. The support is dimensioned and adapted to translate within the internal chamber along the base axis to direct the incontinence products toward an access opening associated with the base to permit individual and/or sequential removal of the incontinence products through the access opening by the user.

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Description

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/583,017 filed on Jan. 4, 2012. The entire contents of which is incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND

The present disclosure is directed to an apparatus, system and method for dispensing incontinence products such as infant, juvenile or adult diapers, briefs pads and/or pull ups.

SUMMARY

In accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure, an apparatus for dispensing incontinence products includes a base defining a base axis and having an internal chamber, and a support disposed within the internal chamber of the base. The support is arranged to support at least two incontinence products in superposed relation. The support is dimensioned and adapted to translate within the internal chamber along the base axis to direct the incontinence products toward an access opening associated with the base to permit individual and/or sequential removal of the incontinence products through the access opening by the user.

The apparatus may include a biasing member in operative engagement with the support, and dimensioned to bias the support to translate along the base axis toward the access opening. The biasing member may include a spring disposed in operative engagement with the support member. As a further alternative, first and second springs may be in operative engagement with the support member and cooperate to bias the support member toward the access opening.

A lid may be mounted to the base and defines a lid aperture, which serves as the access opening. The lid may be adapted to move between an open position to permit loading of the internal chamber of the base with incontinence products and a closed position to substantially enclose the internal chamber. The lid may be pivotally mounted to the base, and be adapted to pivot between the open position and the closed position.

The apparatus may include a plurality of incontinence products arranged in superposed relation within the internal chamber of the base. Each incontinence product may be folded and define at least a first edge. The first edge is positioned in general alignment with the access opening to face the opening to thereby facilitate grasping of the incontinence product by the user. The incontinence product also may be folded to define at least first and second edges. The first and second edges may be in juxtaposed relation and positioned in general alignment with the access opening also to face the opening.

The apparatus may include a package having an outer cover and a plurality of incontinence products in superposed relation within the outer cover. The outer cover may be removable to permit removal of the incontinence products for positioning within the internal chamber of the base. Each incontinence product within the package may be folded and has at least a first edge with the first edges of the products facing in the same direction within the package. Each incontinence product within the package further may be folded to provide at least first and second edges being in juxtaposed relation and positioned in the same direction within the package.

In accordance with another aspect of the present disclosure, a package for use with a dispenser includes an outer cover and a plurality of absorbent incontinence products at least partially enclosed by the outer cover. Each incontinence product may be folded upon itself to define a folded incontinence product having at least one edge exposed outwardly of the folded incontinence product. At least some of the folded incontinence products may be arranged in superposed relation with the at least one edge facing in the same direction within the outer cover. Each folded incontinence product has at least first and second edges exposed outwardly of the folded incontinence product with at least some of the folded incontinence products arranged in superposed relation with the first and second edges facing in the same direction within the outer cover.

Other embodiments are also envisioned.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING(S)

Preferred embodiments of the present disclosure will be better understood by reference to the drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the apparatus for dispensing incontinence products in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure, illustrating the base, the lid and incontinence products accessible through a lid aperture of the lid;

FIG. 2 is a side plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 illustrating the lid in an open position;

FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 5 is a side cross-sectional view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 illustrating the internal chamber of the base, the support, and the biasing springs;

FIG. 6 is a plan view of the incontinence product for use with the apparatus of FIG. 1;

FIG. 7 is a view illustrating the incontinence product folded in accordance with an alternate method of the present disclosure

FIG. 8 is a view illustrating removal of the incontinence product of FIG. 7 through the lid aperture of the lid;

FIG. 9 is a view illustrating a package incorporating a plurality of incontinence products for use with the apparatus of FIG. 1; and

FIG. 10 is a side cross-sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the apparatus of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring now to FIG. 1-4, there is illustrated the dispensing apparatus 10 for storing and dispensing incontinence products 100 in an individual and/or sequential manner in accordance with the principles of the present disclosure. The design of the dispensing apparatus 10 may be a furniture item which is aesthetically pleasing and non-obtrusive to the room in which it is stored, e.g., in a hospital setting, residential setting or any health care facility. The dispensing apparatus 10 includes a base 12, a lid 14 mounted to the base 12, and at least one incontinence product 100 contained within the internal chamber 16 of the base 12. Preferably, a plurality of incontinence products 100 are disposed and arranged in superposed relation within the internal chamber 16 of the base 12 as will be discussed. The base 12 may be generally rectangular in shape having front, rear and side walls 12f, 12r and 12s and base bottom 12b. Other shapes for the base 12 are envisioned. The base 12 defines a base axis “b” (FIG. 2) which may be a vertical axis when the base 12 is placed on a horizontal surface such as a floor or counter top.

The lid 14 is pivotally mounted to the base 12 and is adapted to pivot between a closed position depicted in FIG. 1 enclosing the incontinence products 100 and an open position depicted in FIG. 3 permitting access to the chamber 16 within the base 12 to permit selective reloading of new incontinence products 100 as desired. At least once hinge 18 is connected to the lid 14 and the base 12, and establishes the pivot axis about which the lid 14 pivots. Other means for mounting the lid 14 to the base 12 are also envisioned. It is further contemplated that the lid 14 may be releasably mounted to the base 12, and completely removed from the base 12 to permit access to the internal chamber 16 of the base 12. Clasps, locks or a tolerance fit established between the base 12 and the lid 14 may be used to permit this removable mounting capability. The base 12 and the lid 14 may further include a locking mechanism to releasably secure the lid 14 in the closed position of FIG. 1. One locking mechanism may be a magnetic locking clasp 20 (FIG. 3) mounted to the underside of the lid 14, which cooperates with a magnetic locking clasp 22 on the face of the front base wall 12f. Other clasp arrangements including mechanical locks, hooks or the like are also envisioned.

With continued reference to FIGS. 1-4, the lid 14 includes a central lid aperture 24 of general rectangular shape although other shapes are envisioned. At about the center of the lid aperture 24 are opposed recesses 26. The recesses 26 may be arcuate in shape. The recesses 26 provide additional room for the user to place his/her fingers when accessing the central lid aperture 24 during grasping of the incontinence product 100 for removal.

The base 12 and the lid 14 may be formed from any rigid material including metal, wood and/or molded polymeric material.

With reference now to FIG. 5, in conjunction with FIGS. 1-4, disposed within the internal chamber of the base 12 is a mechanism for automatically and sequentially feeding the incontinence products 100 toward the lid 14 for removal through the central lid aperture 24. In one embodiment, the mechanism includes an internal support 28 and at least one, two or even more springs 30 mounted to the bottom of the base 12 and engaging the lower side of the support 28. The springs 30 may be secured to both the bottom of the base 12 and the support 28 through conventional means, including, e.g., welding, soldering, adhesives or the like. The effective spring constant of the springs 30 is selected to continuously urge the support 28 in the vertical direction along the base axis “b” even in the presence of a stacked set of incontinence products 100. The springs 30 may be coiled spring arrangements. Other means for urging or biasing the support 28 are envisioned including resilient elastomers, hydraulics, etc. The support 28 may be rectangular in configuration corresponding in dimension to the internal area of the chamber of the base 12. In use, the top incontinence product 100 adjacent the lid 14 is removed via access through the central lid aperture 24 whereby, upon removal, the next incontinence product 100 immediately beneath the removed product 100 is presented to the lid aperture 24 via the biasing effect of springs 30 relative to support 28 for subsequent removal.

With reference to FIG. 6, in conjunction with FIG. 1, an incontinence product 100 for use with the apparatus 100 will be discussed. The incontinence product 100 may be any commercially available incontinence product such as the incontinence pad or diaper disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 7,201,743 or 7,727,214, the entire contents of each disclosure being incorporated by reference herein. The incontinence product 100 or diaper may includes a front area 102, a rear area 104, and a center area 106 disposed between the front and rear areas 102, 104. The center area 106 comes to rest in a crotch region of the user. Closure means 108 in the form of, e.g., adhesive tape or VELCRO may be provided on longitudinal edges to adapt the diapers to the patient.

In accordance with an aspect of the disclosure, the incontinence products 100 are arranged in superposed or stacked relation for disposition within the internal chamber of the base 12. The stacked relation is depicted in FIG. 5. The incontinence products 100 may be stacked such that each back or external sheet 110 faces upwardly toward the lid aperture 24 of the lid 14. The incontinence products 100 are removed individually by grasping one or more of the external sheet of the upper most incontinence product 100 and removing same through the central lid aperture 24. Upon removal of the upper most incontinence product 100, the incontinence product 100 immediately beneath the removed product 100 is presented to the lid aperture 24 via the biasing effect of springs 30 relative to support 28 as discussed hereinabove.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present disclosure, the incontinence products of diaper 100 may be folded along fold lines “f1”, “f2” (FIG. 6) to divide the diaper in thirds as seen in FIG. 7. In this orientation, the diaper 100 is loaded within the internal chamber 16 of the base 12. A plurality of diapers 100 may be stacked within the internal chamber 16 in this configuration. The folded diaper will accordingly orient the peripheral longitudinal edges 112 along the midline of the diaper, which when positioned within the internal chamber will be generally aligned with the central lid aperture 24 of the lid 14. The edge or edges 112 provide an area which the clinician may readily grasp to remove the diaper 100 from the base 12 as shown in FIG. 8. As an alternative, the backing sheet may have a handle 250 (as shown in FIG. 1) which is presented to the lid aperture 24. The handle 250 may be any loop member, tab or element secured to the backing sheet by conventional means including bonding, adhesives or the like.

The present disclosure is also directed to a kit incorporating the dispensing apparatus 10 pre-loaded with a plurality of incontinence products 100 arranged in the stacked manner in accordance with any of the embodiments discussed hereinabove.

With reference to FIG. 9, the present disclosure also contemplates a replacement package 300 filled with the stacked incontinence products 100. Once the dispenser apparatus 10 is empty, the lid 14 can be moved to the open position. A new set of incontinence products 100 are removed from the package 300 and loaded within the internal chamber 16 of the base 12. The package 300 may include an outer wrapping or cover 302 which contains the incontinence products 100 arranged in the stacked manner with at least one edge outwardly exposed and facing in the same direction as discussed in connection with any of the embodiments and/or methodologies.

FIG. 10 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the dispenser apparatus of FIG. 1. Dispenser apparatus 400 is intended to be mounted to a vertical surface such as a wall or door “w”. Any means for mounting the dispenser apparatus 400 are envisioned including screws, fasteners or the like. In one embodiment, fasteners or hooks 402 mounted to the wall “w” extend within corresponding apertures within the back 404a of base 404 to mount the base 404 to the wall. In accordance with this embodiment, the support 406 is adapted to translate along a base axis “b” which may be parallel to the floor, e.g., horizontal. In addition, the base 404 defines a front face 408 which has the access opening 410 defined therein for removal of the stored incontinence products 100. A horizontal lid 412 is mounted to the back wall 404a of the base 404 via a pivot pin 414 or the like and can pivot in the direction of directional arrows “y” between open and closed positions to permit loading of the base 404 with the incontinence products 100. A pair of coil springs 416 will bias the support 406 toward the front face 408 and the access opening 410 to advance the forward most product 100 toward the access opening 410. The incontinence products 100 are arranged in juxtaposed relation possibly with at least one edge of the products 100 facing the access opening 410 (as described in the embodiment of FIG. 7) for engagement by the user.

Although the illustrative embodiments of the present disclosure have been described herein with reference to the accompanying attachments, the above description, disclosure, and figures should not be construed as limiting, but merely as exemplifications of particular embodiments. It is to be understood, therefore, that the disclosure is not limited to those precise embodiments, and that various other changes and modifications may be effected therein by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope or spirit of the disclosure.

Claims

1. An apparatus for dispensing incontinence products, which comprises:

a base defining a base axis and having an internal chamber; and
a support disposed within the internal chamber of the base, the support arranged to support at least two incontinence products in superposed relation, the support dimensioned and adapted to translate within the internal chamber along the base axis to direct the incontinence products toward an access opening associated with the base to permit sequential removal of the incontinence products through the access opening by the user.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1 including a biasing member in operative engagement with the support, the biasing member dimensioned to bias the support to translate along the base axis toward the access opening.

3. The apparatus according to claim 2 wherein the biasing member includes a spring, the spring disposed in operative engagement with the support member.

4. The apparatus according to claim 3 including first and second spring in operative engagement with the support member and cooperating to bias the support member toward the access opening.

5. The apparatus according to claim 2 including a lid mounted to the base, the lid defining a lid aperture, the lid aperture being the access opening.

6. The apparatus according to claim 5 wherein the lid is adapted to move between an open position to permit loading of the internal chamber of the base with incontinence products and a closed position to substantially enclose the internal chamber.

7. The apparatus according to claim 6 wherein the lid is pivotally mounted to the base, and is adapted to pivot between the open position and the closed position.

8. The apparatus according to claim 1 including a plurality of incontinence products arranged in superposed relation within the internal chamber of the base.

9. The apparatus according to claim 1 including a package, the package including an outer cover and a plurality of incontinence products in superposed relation within the outer cover, the outer cover being removable to permit removal of the incontinence products for positioning within the internal chamber of the base.

10. The apparatus according to claim 9 wherein each incontinence product is folded upon itself to define a folded incontinence product having at least one edge exposed outwardly of the folded incontinence product.

11. The apparatus according to claim 10 wherein at least some of the folded incontinence products are arranged in superposed relation with the at least one edge facing in the same direction within the outer cover.

12. The apparatus according to claim 12 wherein each folded incontinence product has at least first and second edges exposed outwardly of the folded incontinence product with at least some of the folded incontinence products arranged in superposed relation with the first and second edges facing in the same direction within the outer cover.

Patent History

Publication number: 20130168407
Type: Application
Filed: Jan 4, 2013
Publication Date: Jul 4, 2013
Inventor: Jeff Silagy (Merrick, NY)
Application Number: 13/734,227

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Follower (221/279)
International Classification: B65D 83/00 (20060101);