CLAIM OF PRIORITY
This application claims priority for U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 61/190,007, filed Aug. 25, 2008, of common title and inventorship herewith
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates generally to a tub chair and, more particularly, the invention relates to a tub chair providing a safe and easy means to get into and out of a shower, as well as offering comfortable support while bathing. Even more specifically the tub chair of the present invention is designed for use by persons with mobility challenges and their caregivers, to assist in entering a bath, bathing and exiting a bath.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
The prior art has put forth several designs for tub chairs. Among these are:
U.S. Pat. No. 5,517,704 to Richard J. Dagostino describes a combined commode and shower chair apparatus comprising a wheeled commode chair which slides along rails which are supported over a bathtub.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,822,809 top Thomas S. Gallo describes a transfer seat apparatus structured for simultaneous dependent slidable translation during manual rotation, through about ninety degrees of rotation of the seat section with a person seated atop the seat section.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,839,131 to Richard C. Schaffer describes a bathtub with chair lift comprising a fluid operated chair lift for use in a bathtub.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,279,178 to Jimmy Hill describes a bathing chair having a rotatable seat and reclining back member and roller assembly for positioning the device in the tub.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,766,543 to Steve Hollis et al describes a bathing apparatus comprising a chair unit and a slide rail assembly for moving the chair in the tub.
None of these prior art references describe the present invention.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Bathing can be one of the most enjoyable and invigorating activities of the day. Providing an eye-opening renewal, taking a shower upon waking is, for many, a preferred method of greeting the morning. Allowing the cool, pulsating spray of the water to cascade over the face and to gently massage the neck, shoulders and back can be a delightful energizer even for the groggiest of people. While quick showers are revitalizing and long baths help sooth the senses and ease tension, both methods of bathing share the practical purpose of restoring good personal hygiene. Whether it is the desire to feel fresh and clean for work or school, to shower off sweat and grime after playing or working out, or to totally immerse the body during an end-of-the-day bath, feeling completely cleansed is essential to a sense of well-being. In addition to recognizing the importance of good personal hygiene, consumers also desire to keep their skin healthy.
While it seems that the luxuries of a shower are easily attained, continuously standing while immersing the body with a jet stream of water can be quite challenging, if not impossible, especially for those with limited physical capabilities. Those recovering from hip or knee replacement surgery are unable to enjoy a refreshing and cleansing bath because they are unable to position themselves comfortably while sitting or standing in the tub.
Moreover, wheelchair-bound persons cannot enjoy the benefits of an invigorating shower due to the impracticality of achieving secure stability. Additionally, these mobility challenges contain a high degree of risk. Those without caregivers to lend a hand or without the proper equipment to support movement could seriously injure themselves in spills and falls; possibly fracturing bones or even breaking their hip. As a result, their condition could be effectively worsened.
The present invention provides a chair to assist persons with mobility challenges, and their caregivers, with a better and inexpensive method for entering and exiting the bath tub on a chair that has a swivel seat that locks in place, and swivels outward for easy entry. The chair can then be moved to the center of the bath tub, and the swivel seat can be positioned to face the shower, or rotated to face the right or the left. Upon completion of the shower, the chair can be returned to the edge of the tub, facing outward and locked in position for easy exit.
In an alternative embodiment, the chair can additionally include an adjustable head rest.
In an additional embodiment, the chair can additionally include leg lifts.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a perspective view illustrating a tub chair, constructed in accordance with the present invention; and
FIG. 2 is another perspective view illustrating the tub chair, constructed in accordance with the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the present invention is a tub chair providing a safe and easy means to get into and out of a shower, as well as offering comfortable support while bathing. Simply stated, the tub chair of the present invention is a multifunctional, swivel-mounted seat with additional headrest support that is specially designed for use in a shower.
Constructed from a durable, water resistant plastic material, the tub chair of the present invention features a contoured, comfortable seat with an integrally attached, similarly contoured back and detachable headrest. The standard dimensions of the tub chair are approximately twenty-four (24'') inches in width, eighteen (18'') inches in depth, with adjustable leg assembly, for height. The tub chair, however, can be offered in various sizes to accommodate virtually any size tub area, from the most compact bath to the larger garden and Jacuzzi style tubs.
Each of the legs of the tub chair of the present invention features a plastic suction up to facilitate a secure application of the tub chair to the bathtub floor. Two of the four legs are placed outside of the bath tub and two of the four legs are placed inside the bath tub. For additional security, the tub chair features attached arm rests. A unique component to the tub chair is found in the seat assembly. The seat is swivel connected to a support stem at the top of leg assembly.
The swivel assembly can be any suitable assembly, but a stainless steel ring of ball bearings in a circular race is one example of a suitable swivel means for the seat of the tub chair of the present invention.
The seat rotates ninety (90°) degrees, locking into place at the discretion of the user. A user is able to turn the body at will, receiving the optimal benefits of a thorough cleansing. To appeal to personal tastes or to match any bathroom's decor, the tub seat can be offered in a wide variety of appealing colors and whimsical designs.
Use of the tub chair of the present invention is very simple and straightforward. First, the user places the tub chair, adjusting the leg assembly for the proper height and width requirements which will be in a locked position, preventing movement of the chair while entering. The chair is positioned at the outer edge of the tub, with two legs inside the tub and two legs outside of the tub. The seat can then be moved to the center of the tub by releasing the latch located at the front of the seat. With the hands as a guide, the user affixes the legs to the tub surface by firmly pressing downward on the tub chair. In this manner, the suction cups expand to adhere to the surface of the bathtub. The user then sits in the tub chair, or carefully transfers from a wheelchair to the seat. While showering, the user uses the body to rotate the seat to any desired angle. In addition, the user can also utilize the optional head rest to facilitate washing the head and hair.
Upon completion of the shower, the chair can be positioned to the outer edge of the tub, and locked in position for easy exit. After such use, the tub chair can easily removed from the bathtub or shower area and stored until needed again.
There are many significant benefits and advantages associated with the tub chair of the present invention. Foremost, the tub chair allows consumers who suffer with mobility problems to enter and exit a bathtub or shower area in an expedient and easy manner. These users will appreciate that the tub chair is a pain-free means for them to enjoy a warm, refreshing shower from virtually any position, thanks to the tub chair's rotating capabilities. Conducive to an easy transfer to and from the bathtub, the tub chair's integrated handles allows users to confidently ease themselves from a wheelchair onto the shower seat. Lightweight and simple to use, the versatile tub chair of the present invention can be placed into and removed from the bathtub or shower area in a matter of seconds. Durably fabricated, the water-resistant plastic construction of the tub chair ensures years of continued use. In addition, the sturdy and comfortable tub chair fosters a renewed sense of independence and self-sufficiency in elderly patients afflicted with arthritis or similar ailments.
Not just for the older population, the tub chair also proves invaluable to anyone with mobility challenges, from sufferers of palsy or scoliosis to those recovering from joint-placement surgery or broken bones. Even consumers who are physically fit, whether adults or children, certainly appreciate the comforting benefits this product affords. Though primarily intended for home use, the tub chair is very beneficial to hospitals, and especially to nursing homes and rehabilitation centers.
The tub chair of the present invention is an innovative invention that offers consumers with mobility-impairing ailments an easy and comfortable way to enjoy a refreshing shower. User friendly and versatile, the tub chair's durable construction allows its users to return to completing the task of bathing in a pain-free and confident manner.
Although this invention has been described with respect to specific embodiments, it is not intended to be limited thereto and various modifications which will become apparent to the person of ordinary skill in the art are intended to fall within the spirit and scope of the invention as described herein taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings and the appended claims.