Fluidized Bed Patents (Class 5/689)
  • Patent number: 9763842
    Abstract: A fluidizable bed (10) comprises a receptacle (12), a diffuser board (14) dividing the receptacle (12) into a plenum (16) and a fluidizable medium container (20), a fluidizable medium (30) residing in the container, and a partition (32) dividing the plenum (16) into a first chamber (34) adapted to receive a first stream (36) of fluidizing medium (30) and a second chamber (40) adapted to receive a second stream (42) of fluidizing medium (30). In operation a first stream (36) of the fluidizing medium (30) is admitted to the first chamber (34) and a second stream (42) of the fluidizing medium (30) is admitting to the second chamber (40). By admitting the fluidizing medium (30) to the chambers in a phased, cyclic fashion the benefits of lateral rotation are achieved in a fluidizable bed (10).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 7, 2012
    Date of Patent: September 19, 2017
    Assignee: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventor: Frank Sauser
  • Patent number: 9700239
    Abstract: A method of detecting a change in occupancy status of a fluidizable bed (10) includes determining (102) an unloaded plenum pressure value corresponding to the absence of a load on the bed, determining (104) a loaded plenum pressure value corresponding to the presence of an occupant on the bed, and establishing a reference (PREF) as a function of at least one of the unloaded plenum pressure value and the loaded plenum pressure value. A signal (116, 120) is issued in response to a relationship between the reference and a value (PMON) representative of actual pressure in the plenum. The bed also includes a pressure sensor (60) for monitoring a pressure value representative of pressure in the plenum and a controller (50) for issuing a signal (116, 120) responsive to a relationship between the monitored value and a reference value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 15, 2012
    Date of Patent: July 11, 2017
    Assignee: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventors: Frank Sauser, Kristopher Klink
  • Patent number: 9267102
    Abstract: Systems, apparatuses and methods for circulating and agitating algae ponds or reservoirs are described. Inflatable or floatable masses resident in the algae ponds are cyclically or rhythmically moved thereby causing propagating waves to advance along ponds. Waves encourage increased equilibrium of oxygen and carbon dioxide between ambient air and growth medium and thereby improved growth of algae and increased production of biomass. With relatively little energy input, large quantities of algae or biomass may be grown in relatively large ponds and on an economically viable commercial scale.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 15, 2013
    Date of Patent: February 23, 2016
    Inventor: James D. Osterloh
  • Patent number: 9060908
    Abstract: A varying depth fluidized bed comprises a tank assembly containing fluidizable medium. The tank assembly comprises at least one step such that the depth of fluidizable medium is greater in one region of the tank assembly relative to another.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 17, 2014
    Date of Patent: June 23, 2015
    Assignee: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventors: Frank E. Sauser, Kristopher A. Klink
  • Publication number: 20150047126
    Abstract: Systems, methods, and devices for optimizing a level of fluidization of a fluidizable medium in a fluidized person support apparatus.
    Type: Application
    Filed: July 11, 2014
    Publication date: February 19, 2015
    Inventors: Kristopher Klink, Frank Sauser, Charles A. Lachenbruch, John Murphy, Irvin J. Vanderpohl, III
  • Patent number: 8887732
    Abstract: Method and devices for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers are described in which a portable support assembly may be worn by a bed-stricken individual around particular regions of the body where pressure ulcers tend to form. The portable support assembly may generally include one or more individual fluid filled pods which are enclosed entirely within an inner fluid pad localized along a central portion. Both the one or more pods and inner fluid pad are then enclosed entirely by another layer of fluid within an outer fluid pad which extends over the entire assembly. Each of the fluid layers may be secured to an outer shell which is relatively stiffer than the fluid layers and may restrict or limit the expansion or movement of the fluid pods and/or fluid pads.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 4, 2013
    Date of Patent: November 18, 2014
    Assignee: PRS Medical Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: George Y. Choi, Nikhil Bhat
  • Publication number: 20140259427
    Abstract: A fabric diffuser for use with a fluidized person support apparatus is disclosed. A fluidized bed comprises a tank assembly containing fluidizable medium. The tank assembly comprises a fabric diffuser through which fluid is introduced into the fluidizable medium.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 5, 2014
    Publication date: September 18, 2014
    Applicant: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventors: Kristopher A. Klink, Frank E. Sauser
  • Publication number: 20140259428
    Abstract: A patient support apparatus includes an air supply and an air fluidization therapy bed including a fluidization space and a fluidizable medium positioned in the fluidization space. The air fluidization therapy bed receives a flow of pressurized air from the air supply. The flow of pressurized air operable to fluidize the fluidizable medium. The patient support apparatus is configured to provide other therapies, such as pulmonary therapies, in addition to the air fluidization therapy.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 10, 2014
    Publication date: September 18, 2014
    Applicant: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventors: Christopher R. O'KEEFE, Frank E. SAUSER, Kristopher A. KLINK
  • Publication number: 20140201922
    Abstract: A varying depth fluidized bed comprises a tank assembly containing fluidizable medium. The tank assembly comprises at least one step such that the depth of fluidizable medium is greater in one region of the tank assembly relative to another.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 17, 2014
    Publication date: July 24, 2014
    Applicant: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventors: Frank E. Sauser, Kristopher A. Klink
  • Patent number: 8776798
    Abstract: Method and devices for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers are described in which a portable support assembly may be worn by a bed-stricken individual around particular regions of the body where pressure ulcers tend to form. The portable support assembly may generally include one or more individual fluid filled pods which are enclosed entirely within an inner fluid pad localized along a central portion. Both the one or more pods and inner fluid pad are then enclosed entirely by another layer of fluid within an outer fluid pad which extends over the entire assembly. Each of the fluid layers may be secured to an outer shell which is relatively stiffer than the fluid layers and may restrict or limit the expansion or movement of the fluid pods and/or fluid pads.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 22, 2011
    Date of Patent: July 15, 2014
    Assignee: PRS Medical Technologies, Inc.
    Inventors: George Y. Choi, Nikhil Bhat
  • Publication number: 20140009293
    Abstract: A method of detecting a change in occupancy status of a fluidizable bed (10) includes determining (102) an unloaded plenum pressure value corresponding to the absence of a load on the bed, determining (104) a loaded plenum pressure value corresponding to the presence of an occupant on the bed, and establishing a reference (PREF) as a function of at least one of the unloaded plenum pressure value and the loaded plenum pressure value. A signal (116, 120) is issued in response to a relationship between the reference and a value (PMON) representative of actual pressure in the plenum. The bed also includes a pressure sensor (60) for monitoring a pressure value representative of pressure in the plenum and a controller (50) for issuing a signal (116, 120) responsive to a relationship between the monitored value and a reference value.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 15, 2012
    Publication date: January 9, 2014
    Inventors: Frank Sauser, Kristopher Klink
  • Publication number: 20140000039
    Abstract: A fluidizable bed (10) comprises a receptacle (12), a diffuser board (14) dividing the receptacle (12) into a plenum (16) and a fluidizable medium container (20), a fluidizable medium (30) residing in the container, and a partition (32) dividing the plenum (16) into a first chamber (34) adapted to receive a first stream (36) of fluidizing medium (30) and a second chamber (40) adapted to receive a second stream (42) of fluidizing medium (30). In operation a first stream (36) of the fluidizing medium (30) is admitted to the first chamber (34) and a second stream (42) of the fluidizing medium (30) is admitting to the second chamber (40). By admitting the fluidizing medium (30) to the chambers in a phased, cyclic fashion the benefits of lateral rotation are achieved in a fluidizable bed (10).
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 7, 2012
    Publication date: January 2, 2014
    Inventor: Frank Sauser
  • Publication number: 20130074271
    Abstract: Systems, methods, and devices for optimizing a level of fluidization of a fluidizable medium in a fluidized person support apparatus.
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 28, 2011
    Publication date: March 28, 2013
    Inventors: Kristopher Klink, Frank Sauser, Charles A. Lachenbruch, John Murphy, Irvin J. Vanderpohl
  • Patent number: 8217667
    Abstract: A method for assessing the status of a piezoelectric sensor of interest is disclosed. The sensor of interest is located adjacent a surface of a mattress supporting a person. In some instances, the sensor of interest may be coupled to a mattress or coupled to a bed frame that supports the mattress. The method involves analyzing the complex impedance of the excited sensor relative to a complex impedance profile. A system for implementing the method is also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 16, 2009
    Date of Patent: July 10, 2012
    Assignee: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventor: Carl William Riley
  • Publication number: 20120110743
    Abstract: A fluidizable medium support bed includes a bed body, a blower, a support board, a diffuser board and a metal frame. The bed body includes a support cavity for supporting a fluidizable medium. The bed body includes an expanded polystyrene (EPS) body and a coating covering all outer surfaces of the EPS body. The blower is connected to a bottom surface of the support cavity to provide an airflow. The support board has a plurality of ventholes and is disposed on the bottom surface of the support cavity. The diffuser board is disposed over the support board, wherein the diffuser board is permeable to air but impermeable to the fluidizable medium. The metal frame is disposed over a circumference of the support cavity.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 4, 2010
    Publication date: May 10, 2012
    Applicant: CAREMED SUPPLY, INC.
    Inventor: Ching-Fong LIU
  • Patent number: 8011047
    Abstract: A spinal-length mattress including a means for providing buoyancy to a human torso and abdomen thereon; attached to the mattress at one end, a pelvic support portion; and attached to the mattress at an opposite end, a head rotation stabilization portion having an air passage opening allowing a person to breathe freely when resting in a face down position thereon. By supporting the pelvis and stabilizing the head to substantially limit motions of the neck, a central cushion (preferably dominated by a “shape memory foam” filling) allows the spinal column to passively distribute all directional stresses—including those deriving from body mass and from muscle tension. Thus relieved of stress, disks between spinal bones begin to return to their respective naturally compliant symmetrical shapes; thereby generally providing a long term benefit in exchange for a quarter hour or a half hour of regular prone-oriented engagement with the mattress.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 19, 2006
    Date of Patent: September 6, 2011
    Inventors: Ronen Mandelzis, Ronen Tuchfeld
  • Patent number: 7975337
    Abstract: A person-support apparatus comprises a frame, a container, a gas permeable cover, a rigid diffuser, a fluidizable medium, and a cushion. The container is supported on a frame and includes a base and a plurality of sides coupled to the base. The base cooperates with the sides to define an opening opposite the base. The gas permeable cover is removably coupled to the container and covers the opening to define a chamber. The rigid diffuser is positioned within the chamber proximate the base. The fluidizable medium is positioned between the rigid diffuser and the gas permeable cover. The cushion is coupled to the diffuser and positioned between the gas permeable cover and the rigid diffuser. The cushion is configured to provide cushioning support between a person supported on the gas permeable cover and the rigid diffuser.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 19, 2009
    Date of Patent: July 12, 2011
    Assignee: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventor: Charles A. Howell
  • Publication number: 20110138538
    Abstract: A person-support apparatus comprises a container and a gas permeable support. The container is supported on a frame. The container includes a base and sides extending from the base to define an opening opposite the base. The gas permeable support is positioned within the container and cooperates with the base to define a chamber. The gas permeable support includes a first portion and a second portion. The first portion is generally parallel the base. The second portion is coupled to the first portion and forms an obtuse angle therewith. The gas permeability of the second portion varies as a function of the distance between the second portion and the opening.
    Type: Application
    Filed: December 10, 2009
    Publication date: June 16, 2011
    Inventor: Charles A. Howell
  • Publication number: 20110099721
    Abstract: A fluidized person-support apparatus comprises a container, a fluidizable medium, and a volume occupier. The container is supported on a frame. The container includes a base and a plurality of sides coupled to the base. The base cooperates with the sides to define a chamber with an opening opposite the base. The fluidizable medium is positioned within the container. The volume occupier is buoyantly suspended in the fluidizable medium.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 30, 2009
    Publication date: May 5, 2011
    Inventor: Charles A. Howell
  • Publication number: 20110041254
    Abstract: A person-support apparatus comprises a frame, a container, a gas permeable cover, a rigid diffuser, a fluidizable medium, and a cushion. The container is supported on a frame and includes a base and a plurality of sides coupled to the base. The base cooperates with the sides to define an opening opposite the base. The gas permeable cover is removably coupled to the container and covers the opening to define a chamber. The rigid diffuser is positioned within the chamber proximate the base. The fluidizable medium is positioned between the rigid diffuser and the gas permeable cover. The cushion is coupled to the diffuser and positioned between the gas permeable cover and the rigid diffuser. The cushion is configured to provide cushioning support between a person supported on the gas permeable cover and the rigid diffuser.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 19, 2009
    Publication date: February 24, 2011
    Inventor: Charles A. Howell
  • Patent number: 7807095
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a method for manufacturing an air mat that reduces the number of manufacturing processes by means of rotational molding, while preventing the generation of defective products, to a device for molding an air mat, and to an air mat manufactured and molded by the method and device. In a method for manufacturing an air mat formed in such a manner as to integrally couple a cushion part having a plurality of air bags arranged therein for containing air at the insides thereof with a plate-shaped lower sheet disposed on the lower surface of the cushion part, the method includes the steps of: preparing a lower mold having a plurality of air bag molding recesses having given depths arranged at given intervals thereon, for molding the cushion part of the air mat.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 3, 2006
    Date of Patent: October 5, 2010
    Assignee: Ceragem Co., Ltd
    Inventors: Dong-gyu Im, Gin-kyu Choi
  • Patent number: 7797776
    Abstract: A fluidized bed for supporting a patient has a fluid-impervious peripheral wall, a fluid-porous membrane top covering and a fluid-porous floor defining a unit volume in which a quantity of glass bead support media is confined. Several diffusers supply air through the floor to fluidize the support media and support a body on the bed top covering. Each diffuser is a laminate having a porous membrane top and a porous membrane bottom spaced by a fluid-impervious boundary wall and a plurality of fluid-impervious interior walls that create discrete cells. Each cell contains a quantity of glass bead cell media. A pair of blowers supplies pressure air through one-way valves to the cells in the diffusers and through the cells up into the unit interior volume to fluidize the support media.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 2007
    Date of Patent: September 21, 2010
    Assignee: Aurora Manufacturing LLC
    Inventor: James Joy
  • Publication number: 20100229310
    Abstract: An occupant support includes at least one non-fluidizable module 100 having a support structure for supporting the non-fluidizable module on a ground surface 76 and at least one fluidizable module 66 also having a support structure for supporting the fluidizable module on the ground surface. The fluidizable and non-fluidizable modules cooperate with each other to support an occupant. The support for the non-fluidizable module bears less than all the weight of the fluidizable module and, in the limit bears none of the weight. An alternative occupant support includes at least one non-fluidizable module and at least one fluidizable module cooperable with the fluidizable module to support an occupant. The fluidizable module is sized to support no more than about 50 percent of the length of an adult human body and most preferably no more than about 30 percent.
    Type: Application
    Filed: January 27, 2010
    Publication date: September 16, 2010
    Inventors: Charles A. Howell, Scott Peer
  • Publication number: 20100088825
    Abstract: One variant of a fluidizable bed 10 includes a fluidizable material 36 within a containment vessel 12 and a filter sheet 24 having a vent region 42 covering a top portion 22 of the vessel. The vent region has a permeability of less than about 65 cubic feet per minute per square foot. Other variants of a fluidizable bed 10 include a fluidizable material 36 within a containment vessel 12, a filter sheet 24 connected to the vessel, and a vent region 42 of the filter sheet covering a top portion of the vessel and having a permeability sufficient to 1) establish a pressure difference across the filter sheet equal to or greater than a prescribed pressure difference threshold, or 2) support no more than a specified, non-negligible portion of an occupant's weight.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 28, 2009
    Publication date: April 15, 2010
    Inventors: Charles A. Howell, Charles A. Lachenbruch
  • Patent number: 7657956
    Abstract: This disclosure described a patient support having an air permeable layer, a plurality of inflatable bladders, a pressure-sensing assembly and a controller. In one embodiment, a combination of transverse bladders and vertically oriented can-shaped bladders is provided. In one embodiment, one or more angle sensors are provided in articulatable sections of the patient support.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 23, 2007
    Date of Patent: February 9, 2010
    Assignee: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventors: Richard B. Stacy, Daniel Stevens, Karen Janoff, Thomas Uzzie, Jonathan H. Mueller, John Alan Bobay, Dennis Flessate, Reza Hakamiun, Charles A. Lachenbruch, Sohrab Soltani, Gregory Branson, Kenith W. Chambers, Rebecca Anne Ginther, Stephen L. Douglas, Eric R. Meyer, Christopher R. O'Keefe, Bradley T. Wilson, Darrell Borgman, Rachel Hopkins King
  • Patent number: 7546653
    Abstract: An air mattress includes a mattress envelope having a compartment and comprising a thermal functional layer and an outer layer overlapped thereon and an air cushion including a plurality of individual air chambers evenly disposed in the compartment of the mattress envelope and an air supplying tube communicatively interconnecting the air chamber with each other. A thermal control arrangement includes a liquid supplying tube spirally extending at the thermal functional layer of the mattress envelope for guiding a flow of thermal liquid and a thermal energy generator arranged to regulate a temperature of the thermal liquid such that when the thermal liquid passes through the liquid supplying tube, the thermal liquid thermo-communicating with the thermal functional layer of the mattress envelope towards the outer layer so as to regulate a temperature of the mattress envelope.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 23, 2005
    Date of Patent: June 16, 2009
    Inventor: Yongfeng Ye
  • Patent number: 7437787
    Abstract: A system for monitoring a patient on a hospital bed includes load cells and a controller for detecting patient movement on, exit from, and impending exit from the hospital bed, including movement across or outside a virtual boundary or region located on the bed. The controller is configured to detect changes in the distribution of patient weight among the load cells. The controller is also configured to accommodate the installation or removal of medical equipment or other tare weights on the bed, head incline adjustment, and bed frame deformation or other changes in the system causing redistribution of weight among the load cells, while minimizing false alarms. A caregiver may select between various patient monitoring modes and remotely monitor patient movement relative to a reference load cell distribution, impending patient exit from the bed and patient exit from the bed. Pressures in an air mattress may be controlled based on signals from the load cells.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 3, 2007
    Date of Patent: October 21, 2008
    Assignee: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventor: Aziz Ali Bhai
  • Publication number: 20080196167
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a method for manufacturing an air mat that reduces the number of manufacturing processes by means of rotational molding, while preventing the generation of defective products, to a device for molding an air mat, and to an air mat manufactured and molded by the method and device. In a method for manufacturing an air mat formed in such a manner as to integrally couple a cushion part having a plurality of air bags arranged therein for containing air at the insides thereof with a plate-shaped lower sheet disposed on the lower surface of the cushion part, the method includes the steps of: preparing a lower mold having a plurality of air bag molding recesses having given depths arranged at given intervals thereon, for molding the cushion part of the air mat.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 3, 2005
    Publication date: August 21, 2008
    Inventors: Dong-gyu Im, Gin-kyu Choi
  • Publication number: 20080127422
    Abstract: A fluidized bed for supporting a patient has a fluid-impervious peripheral wall, a fluid-porous membrane top covering and a fluid-porous floor defining a unit volume in which a quantity of glass bead support media is confined. Several diffusers supply air through the floor to fluidize the support media and support a body on the bed top covering. Each diffuser is a laminate having a porous membrane top and a porous membrane bottom spaced by a fluid-impervious boundary wall and a plurality of fluid-impervious interior walls that create discrete cells. Each cell contains a quantity of glass bead cell media. A pair of blowers supplies pressure air through one-way valves to the cells in the diffusers and through the cells up into the unit interior volume to fluidize the support media.
    Type: Application
    Filed: October 25, 2007
    Publication date: June 5, 2008
    Inventor: James Joy
  • Patent number: 7021008
    Abstract: An inflatable device with an outer inflatable structure, inflatable interior frame, an interior opening and an outer opening. The frame has a plurality of side rods, a center wall, a plurality of interconnected ribs and a plurality of air passages. The interior opening is on a rib and receives any common air pump. The interior frame becomes rigid upon inflation and, forces apart the walls of the outer inflatable structure. Once the interior frame is completely inflated, it provides support to the outer inflatable structure so that the main air chamber inside of the outer inflatable structure does not need to be fully inflated with air. A cap placed over the outer opening is fitted with an air pump valve in order that additional air may be pumped into the main air chamber to increase the firmness of the inflatable device.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 10, 2003
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2006
    Inventors: Tyler E. Busby, Chris Wilson
  • Publication number: 20040158927
    Abstract: A mattress for a bed is provided to support a patient. The mattress includes a plurality of air fluidized bladders. Each bladder includes a fluidized zone having fluidizable material positioned therein. Each bladder further includes a diffuser configured to provide air to the fluidized zone to fluidize the material.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 17, 2004
    Publication date: August 19, 2004
    Applicant: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventors: Sohrab Soltani, Timothy W. Perez, James J. Romano
  • Patent number: 6721979
    Abstract: A therapeutic treatment bed with features to enhance the care and comfort of burn patients and others subject to extensive recuperative periods. Among the features are patient engaging fluidized bead surfaces integral with the upper surfaces of air cushions provided by an air bed. Detachable conformation of the fluidized bead surfaces is also provided.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 17, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 20, 2004
    Assignee: KCI Licensing, Inc.
    Inventors: John H. Vrzalik, Peter A. Leininger, Ronald B. Hicks
  • Patent number: 6694555
    Abstract: A mattress for a bed is provided to support a patient. The mattress includes a plurality of air fluidized bladders. Each bladder includes a fluidized zone having fluidizable material positioned therein. Each bladder further includes a diffuser configured to provide air to the fluidized zone to fluidize the material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 23, 2001
    Date of Patent: February 24, 2004
    Assignee: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventors: Sohrab Soltani, Timothy W. Perez, James J. Romano
  • Patent number: 6574813
    Abstract: A pilot operated check valve is configured to be positioned inside a fluid supply tube connected between an air supply manifold and an air zone located on a support surface of abed. The pilot operated check valve includes a body having an air inlet and an air outlet connected by an air passageway. The pilot operated check valve also includes a valve member configured to move between an open position and a closed position to block air flow through the passageway. Additionally, the pilot operated check valve includes a push rod having a first end coupled to the valve member to unseat the valve member when the valve member is in its open position and a second end. The pilot operated check valve includes a diaphragm located in a chamber of the body adjacent the second end of the push rod. The pilot operated check valve further includes an inlet port configured to be coupled to the manifold to admit pressure against the diaphragm.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 29, 2001
    Date of Patent: June 10, 2003
    Assignee: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael V. Bolden, Vincent L. Babson, Daniel A. Denson
  • Patent number: 6499166
    Abstract: An apparatus for elevating the head and torso of a patient confined to a fluidized patient support system. A head cushion assembly, a knee gatch assembly and a control assembly are integrated with any known fluidized patient support system and preferably integrated, at least in part, with the cover sheet of the chosen patient support system. In operation, the invention may be utilized to raise and/or lower a patient's head and torso, in 15° steps, to any inclination from supine to approximately 45°. In implementations utilizing the knee gatch assembly, the patient is effectively prevented from sliding during inclination even to the highest of angles. The controls are conveniently provided on a handheld unit for easy access and operation by caregivers and patient alike.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 17, 1999
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2002
    Assignee: KCI Licensing
    Inventor: Mark Jones
  • Publication number: 20020157187
    Abstract: A fluidization level sensor and controller for use in a fluidized patient support surface has a controller coupled to a sensor and a compressor. The patient support surface contains a mass of granular particles housed in frame walls and supported by a diffuser. The compressor forces a fluid, typically air, into a plenum chamber and through the diffuser. The fluid flows through the mass of granular particles, causing the mass of granular particles to fluidize, and exits through a fluid permeable sheet. The fluidization level sensor produces an output signal proportional to the fluidization level of the mass of granular particles, and provides this output signal to the controller. The controller generates a compressor control signal in response to the output of fluidization level sensor, which in turn adjusts the compressor to maintain a substantially constant fluidization level.
    Type: Application
    Filed: June 20, 2002
    Publication date: October 31, 2002
    Inventors: Ryszard S. Ozarowski, William T. Sutton
  • Patent number: 6430765
    Abstract: A fluidization level sensor and controller for use in a fluidized patient support surface has a controller coupled to a sensor and a compressor. The patient support surface contains a mass of granular particles housed in frame walls and supported by a diffuser. The compressor forces a fluid, typically air, into a plenum chamber and through the diffuser. The fluid flows through the mass of granular particles, causing the mass of granular particles to fluidize, and exits through a fluid permeable sheet. The fluidization level sensor produces an output signal proportional to the fluidization level of the mass of granular particles, and provides this output signal to the controller. The controller generates a compressor control signal in response to the output of fluidization level sensor, which in turn adjusts the compressor to maintain a substantially constant fluidization level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 12, 2000
    Date of Patent: August 13, 2002
    Assignee: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventors: Ryszard S. Ozarowski, William T. Sutton
  • Publication number: 20020083529
    Abstract: A mattress having a head end and a foot end comprises a first support section configured to support an occupant's feet, legs, and seat, and a second support section located adjacent the head end of the mattress to support an occupant's back and head. A portion of the head support section is movable toward the head end of the mattress as the second support section is moved to an elevated position relative to the first support section.
    Type: Application
    Filed: March 4, 2002
    Publication date: July 4, 2002
    Applicant: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventors: Alan W. Henley, Dana H. Delk, Robert C. Novack, James J. Romano
  • Publication number: 20020032929
    Abstract: A pilot operated check valve is configured to be positioned inside a fluid supply tube connected between an air supply manifold and an air zone located on a support surface of abed. The pilot operated check valve includes a body having an air inlet and an air outlet connected by an air passageway. The pilot operated check valve also includes a valve member configured to move between an open position and a closed position to block air flow through the passageway. Additionally, the pilot operated check valve includes a push rod having a first end coupled to the valve member to unseat the valve member when the valve member is in its open position and a second end. The pilot operated check valve includes a diaphragm located in a chamber of the body adjacent the second end of the push rod. The pilot operated check valve further includes an inlet port configured to be coupled to the manifold to admit pressure against the diaphragm.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 29, 2001
    Publication date: March 21, 2002
    Inventors: Michael V. Bolden, Vincent L. Babson, Daniel A. Denson
  • Patent number: 6351862
    Abstract: A mattress (10) includes an outer cover (12, 18) formed from an air impermeable material. The outer cover (12, 18) is configured to define an interior region and having a top support surface (20). The mattress (10) also includes at least one air fluidized support module (48, 54) located within the interior region of the cover (12, 18). The mattress (10) further includes a connector (68, 94) coupled to the air fluidized support module (48, 54), the connecter (68, 94) being configured to be coupled to an air supply (58). The mattress (10) also includes a vent connector (165) coupled to the outer cover (12, 18) in communication with the interior region of the cover (12, 18). The vent connector (165) is configured to exhaust air from the interior region of the cover (12, 18).
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 23, 1998
    Date of Patent: March 5, 2002
    Assignee: Hill-Rom Services, Inc.
    Inventors: Alan W. Henley, Dana H. Delk, Robert C. Novack, James J. Romano
  • Publication number: 20010052152
    Abstract: A mattress for a bed is provided to support a patient. The mattress includes a plurality of air fluidized bladders. Each bladder includes a fluidized zone having fluidizable material positioned therein. Each bladder further includes a diffuser configured to provide air to the fluidized zone to fluidize the material.
    Type: Application
    Filed: February 23, 2001
    Publication date: December 20, 2001
    Inventors: Sohrab Soltani, Timothy W. Perez, James J. Romano
  • Patent number: 6192537
    Abstract: A semi-fluid based body support system using a mass of granular material to support a user has reversible transferring means and fluidizing means to locally control the granular material. The reversible transferring means and fluidizing means are independently controlled at plural locations along a system longitudinal dimension so that each region of the user body may be independently accommodated. The reversible transferring means is used to achieve fitness for natural posture by controlling a distribution of the accumulative height of granular material, and transfers the granular material between a transverse middle portion and transverse side portions of the system reversibly. The fluidizing means is used to achieve reduced partial oppression by controlling a local fluidity of the granular material. In a preferred embodiment, rotary blade devices, placed at spaced locations along the system longitudinal dimension, implement the fluidizing and transferring means by switching between operational modes.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 26, 1999
    Date of Patent: February 27, 2001
    Inventor: Sakae Miki
  • Patent number: 6158070
    Abstract: A coverlet is disclosed for enclosing an air fluidizable section of a patient support surface. The air fluidizable section includes a diffuser board assembly for supporting a fluidizable medium, a side wall defining a boundary of the air fluidizable section and an air permeable top wall impervious to the fluidizable medium. The coverlet includes a sheet of material impervious to fluids and comprises a top portion configured to overlie the top wall of the air fluidizable section, and a side portion configured to overhang over the side wall of the air fluidizable section. The side portion of the coverlet includes at least one opening therein to permit air flowing through the air fluidizable section to escape.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 27, 1999
    Date of Patent: December 12, 2000
    Assignee: Hill-Rom, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael V. Bolden, Daniel A. Denson
  • Patent number: 6139512
    Abstract: An apparatus and method of improved water therapy in which a person is buoyantly supported in a reclining or prone position on a top membrane of a enclosure which contains heated water, and air. A water pump recirculates the water which is drawn out of the enclosure through outlets and associated piping and which is then reintroduced into the interior of the enclosure through venturi air intake as waterjets that are mixed with air. The air enriched waterjets drive through a layer of water and impinge on the underside of the top membrane to produce massage effects on the person. The air is captured inside the enclosure in a chamber or pocket which rises above the water level within the sealed enclosure and is drawn out of the interior enclosure to the air inlet waterjet venturi for recirculation of air throughout and within the sealed enclosure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 7, 1997
    Date of Patent: October 31, 2000
    Inventor: Dominic A. Ricchio
  • Patent number: 6131214
    Abstract: A medical table includes a base. The medical table also includes a number of rollers, supported by the base, which collectively define a bed surface for supporting a patient, wherein each roller of the number of rollers (1) defines a fluid impervious bag having a void therein, and (2) contains a plurality of beads within the void of the fluid impervious bag, and further wherein the number of rollers includes a prime roller having a shaft extending therefrom. The medical table further includes a motor mechanically coupled to the shaft of the prime roller. The medical table also includes a vacuum source in fluid communication with each void of the number of rollers. A method of moving a patient from a first position to a second position is also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 6, 1998
    Date of Patent: October 17, 2000
    Inventors: Stephen P. Moenning, Donald M. Judy, Douglas B. Thatcher
  • Patent number: 6073289
    Abstract: A diffuser assembly is configured to support a fluidizable medium on a fluidized bed. The diffuser assembly includes a diffuser board which is permeable to air and impermeable to the fluidizable medium, and a metal plate coupled to the diffuser board. The metal plate is formed to include a plurality of apertures therein to permit air to pass through the metal plate. The metal plate has an outer perimeter edge. The plurality of apertures are spaced inwardly from the outer perimeter edge of the metal plate by a predetermined distance to define a solid border configured to block air flow through the metal plate adjacent the outer perimeter edge.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 18, 1997
    Date of Patent: June 13, 2000
    Assignee: Hill-Rom, Inc.
    Inventors: Michael V. Bolden, Vincent L. Babson, Daniel A. Denson
  • Patent number: 6016581
    Abstract: A semi-fluid mattress using a mass of granular material to support a user has reversible transferring means and fluidizing means to locally control the granular material. The reversible transferring and fluidizing means are independently controllable at plural locations along a longitudinal extent or dimension of the mattress, so that each region of the body can be independently cared for. The reversible transferring means is used to achieve fitness for natural posture by controlling the distribution of the accumulative height of the granular material, and transfers the granular material between a transverse middle portion and transverse side portions of the mattress. The fluidizing means is used to achieve small partial oppression by controlling local fluidity of the granular material. In a preferred embodiment, reversible rotary blade devices, placed at spaced locations along a longitudinal dimension of the mattress, are used for the above two means by changing their operational mode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 28, 1998
    Date of Patent: January 25, 2000
    Inventor: Sakae Miki
  • Patent number: 5894966
    Abstract: A dump valve apparatus is configured to inflate and deflate an air cushion on a bed having an articulating deck movable from a first generally horizontal position to a second angled position. The dump valve apparatus is coupled to the deck and includes an elongated housing having an interior region. The housing has first and second open ends and a central opening located between the first and second open ends. The central opening is coupled to the air cushion. The first end of the housing is coupled to an air supply. A piston is slidable within the interior region of the housing of the housing as the deck moves to its angled position to permit air to pass from the air bladder, through the central opening, and through the open second end of the housing to deflate the air bladder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 26, 1997
    Date of Patent: April 20, 1999
    Assignee: Hill-Rom, Inc.
    Inventors: John A. Bobey, John A. Brenner, Sam Crumlish, Kenneth A. Fox, Benjamin Salvatini
  • Patent number: 5855207
    Abstract: A medical table assembly includes a bed frame and a mattress supported by the bed frame. The medical table assembly also includes a restrainment apparatus mounted to the bed frame, wherein the restrainment apparatus includes (1) a strap which (a) defines a fluid impervious bag having a void therein, and (b) is attached to the bed frame so that the fluid impervious bag is positioned over the mattress, and (2) a plurality of beads contained within the void of the fluid impervious bag. The medical table assembly further includes a vacuum source in fluid communication with the void of the restrainment apparatus. An associated method of immobilizing an object is also disclosed. The method includes the use of actuators which cause interior side panels of a passageway defined through a restrainment apparatus to automatically "clamp down" on an object positioned within the passageway upon evacuation of a void defined within the restrainment apparatus.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 29, 1997
    Date of Patent: January 5, 1999
    Inventors: Stephen P. Moenning, Charles Manker
  • Patent number: 5781943
    Abstract: A medical table includes a base. The medical table also includes a number of rollers, supported by the base, which collectively define a bed surface for supporting a patient, wherein each roller of the number of rollers (1) defines a fluid impervious bag having a void therein, and (2) contains a plurality of beads within the void of the fluid impervious bag, and further wherein the number of rollers includes a prime roller having a shaft extending therefrom. The medical table further includes a motor mechanically coupled to the shaft of the prime roller. The medical table also includes a vacuum source in fluid communication with each void of the number of rollers. A method of moving a patient from a first position to a second position is also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 13, 1997
    Date of Patent: July 21, 1998
    Inventors: Stephen P. Moenning, Donald M. Judy, Douglas B. Thatcher