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Wheelchair slip cover

Abstract
A wheelchair slipcover includes a seat pad slipcover that can contain a seat pad (cushion) and a back pad slipcover. The slipcovers can be made from decorative material and are attached to the wheelchair.

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Inventors: Bluhm, Susan M.; (Reno, NV)
Correspondence Name and Address: Gerald M. Bluhm
4 Old Oregon Trail
Acton
MA
01720
US


Serial No.: 445725
Series Code: 10
Filed: May 27, 2003

U.S. Current Class: 297/219.1
U.S. Class at Publication: 297/219.1
Intern'l Class: A47C 031/00

 

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Claims

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What is claimed is:

1. A wheelchair slipcover, comprising: a seat pad slipcover for containing a seat pad, the seat pad slipcover made from decorative material and being attachable to a seat of a wheelchair; and a back pad slipcover made from decorative material, the back pad attachable to the back of the wheelchair.

2. The wheelchair slipcover of claim 1, further comprising: non-slip material for preventing the seat pad slipcover from slipping with respect to the wheelchair seat.

3. The wheelchair slipcover of claim 2, the non-slip material being attached to a bottom surface of the seat pad slipcover.

4. The wheelchair slipcover of claim 2, the non-slip material being separate from the seat pad slipcover, and being installed between the seat pad slipcover and the wheelchair seat.

5. The wheelchair slipcover of claim 1, the back pad slipcover being reversible.

6. The wheelchair slipcover of claim 1, the seat pad slipcover being reversible.

7. The wheelchair slipcover of claim 1, at least one of the seat pad slipcover and the back pad slipcover having imprinted thereon a decorative pattern.

8. The wheelchair slipcover of claim 7, the decorative pattern being based on an event theme.

9. The wheelchair slipcover of claim 8, the event theme comprising at least one of: a specific holiday, sports, and a season.

10. The wheelchair slipcover of claim 1, the seatpad slipcover attached to the back slipcover.

11. The wheelchair slipcover of claim 1, the backpad slipcover comprising slots to accomodate the wheelchair's handles.

12. The wheelchair slipcover of claim 1, the backpad slipcover comprising anti-bunching cuts near the wheelchair's arms.

13. The wheelchair slipcover of claim 1, further comprising: a wedge-shaped cushion for insertion into the seat pad slipcover.

14. The wheelchair slipcover of claim 1, the backpad slipcover comprising at least one pocket.

15. A wheelchair slipcover, comprising: a back pad slipcover made from decorative material, the back pad attachable to the back of a wheelchair.

16. A method for decorating a wheelchair, comprising: attaching a seat pad slipcover to a seat of a wheelchair, the seat pad slipcover made from decorative material and for containing a seat pad; and attaching a back pad slipcover to the back of the wheelchair, the back pad slipcover made from decorative material.

17. A wheelchair slipcover, comprising: decorative seat pad slipcover means for providing decorative cover to the seat of a wheelchair; and decorative back pad slipcover means for providing decorative cover to the back of a wheelchair.
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Description

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RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/383,762, filed May 24, 2002. The entire teachings of the above application are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Wheelchair patients include people of all ages: children, adolescents, young men and women, middle-aged and elderly. The typical wheelchair is strictly utilitarian and is not made to suit the user's fancies or fashions. For example, many wheelchairs are made of navy blue vinyl, or some other drab, uncolorful material.

[0003] The inventor, a nurse, has a wheelchair patient, an elderly woman in her 80s, very attractive, hair all done up, make up and very "put together." She dresses very stylishly. This patient leaves the facility on a regular basis to go shopping (accompanied by a staff member), to go to the casino, to go out for dinner, etc.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] Unfortunately, when this patient goes out, dressed up as she is, she is stuck in her ugly navy blue vinyl wheelchair. Yet she, and other patient like her who use these wheelchairs, might prefer to go out into the world more stylishly.

[0005] The present invention, then, is a response to this dilemma: a stylish and fashionable wheelchair slipcover adapted to the tastes or preferences of the wheelchair user. Such wheelchair slipcovers may be made from an assortment of materials, colors and patterns (i.e., bright, pastel, flowers, animal prints, etc.).

[0006] For example, wheelchair slipcovers for children could have child-suitable pictures on them, such as "raggedly Ann or Andy," or "Star Wars" characters, etc. Wheelchair slipcovers for "fashionable ladies" might bear, for example, zebra prints, or be based on seasonal themes. Veterans and/or teenage boys and other might prefer camouflage army fatigue prints and/or American flag prints. Sports enthusiasts might prefer slipcovers with their favorite team's emblem or their favorite player's number. Similar wheelchair slipcovers could even serve as a team uniform, for example, with player names and numbers for use in wheelchair basketball games and tournaments. Another possibility is to use themes based on specific events, occasions, holidays and the like. For example, a pattern with skeletons or the like would be suitable for Halloween, bunny rabbits for Easter, etc.

[0007] One embodiment of the invention includes separate slipcovers for the wheelchair seat and the upright back. The material may be held together by any suitable means, such as Velcro.TM., snaps or zippers.

[0008] In the past, wheelchairs have been typically one standard size. More recently, however, there have been more and more variations. Accordingly, slipcovers of an embodiment of the present invention may be adjustable to cover different wheelchair sizes.

[0009] While the inventive wheelchair slipcovers may be made in any size, Applicant foresees manufacturing four standard sizes: small, medium, large and extra large. The use of Velcro.TM. allows some flexibility in the slipcover to fit over a range of actual physcial sizes.

[0010] Applicant's invention thus turns the wheelchair, a necessity, into a fashion accessory.

[0011] Therefore, a wheelchair slipcover according to the present invention includes a seat pad slipcover that can contain a seat pad (cushion). The seat pad slipcover can be made from decorative material and can be attached to the seat of a wheelchair. A back pad slipcover can also made from the same or different decorative material, and can be attached to the back of the wheelchair. The invention does not require both back and seat slipcovers.

[0012] It should be noted that the term "back" as used in "back slipcover" or "back pad slipcover" means a slipcover that slips over the back of the wheelchair. The back slipcover itself preferably has both front and rear panels.

[0013] A non-slip material for preventing the seat pad slipcover from slipping with respect to the wheelchair seat can be attached to the bottom surface of the seat pad slipcover. Alternatively, the non-slip material could be separate from (unattached to) the seat pad slipcover, and could simply be placed between the seat pad slipcover and the wheelchair seat.

[0014] In one embodiment, the back slipcover is reversible. Similarly, the seat pad slipcover is reversible. That is, the top and bottom surfaces are identical so that the slipcover can simply be turned over.

[0015] In one embodiment, at least one of the seat pad slipcover and the back slipcover have imprinted thereon a decorative pattern, which could, for example be based on some theme, such as an event, for example, a specific holiday, sport, or sporting event, or could be based on a seasonal theme.

[0016] In one embodiment, the seatpad slipcover is attached to the back slipcover, forming a single unit. Alternatively, they can be separate, unattached pieces.

[0017] The back slipcover can have slots to accomodate the wheelchair's handles, as well as anti-bunching cuts near the wheelchair's arms.

[0018] A wedge-shaped cushion can be inserted into the seat pad slipcover to prevent a patient from sliding forward in the wheelchair seat.

[0019] In one embodiment, the back slipcover includes one or more pockets.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020] The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following more particular description of preferred embodiments of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which like reference characters refer to the same parts throughout the different views. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention.

[0021] FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an embodiment of the present invention.

[0022] FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating the back and seat slipcovers of an embodiment of the present invention.

[0023] FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram illustrating the layout of an embodiment of the back slipcover of FIG. 2.

[0024] FIG. 4 is a diagram of a top view of an embodiment of the seat slipcover of FIG. 2.

[0025] FIG. 5 is a diagram of a bottom view of an embodiment of the seat slipcover of FIG. 2.

[0026] FIG. 6 is a diagram of a wedge cushion used in the seat slipcover of FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0027] A description of preferred embodiments of the invention follows.

[0028] FIG. 1 is a diagram illustrating an embodiment of the present invention. A decorative slipcover 12 has been installed over the back of a wheelchair 10. For exemplary purposes, a raggedy Ann-type design is shown as the decorative pattern 14. However, as discussed below, any decorative pattern can be used, in any desired 9and practical) combination of colors and materials.

[0029] FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating the back slipcover 12 and seat slipcover 20 of an embodiment of the present invention. In one embodiment, the back slipcover is folded over the top of the wheelchair's back, at fold 16, such that the patterned material of the back slipcover 12 is visible from behind the wheelchair 10 and in front of the wheelchair 10. The seat slipcover 20 is placed onto the seat of the wheelchair 20.

[0030] Although not shown, in FIG. 2 and in the remaining figures, a decorative pattern 14 is assumed to exist on the back and seat slipcovers 12, 20. Although a decorative pattern 14 is an important component of the present invention, no particular pattern is preferred over another, in the most general case.

[0031] FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram illustrating the layout of an embodiment of the back slipcover 12 of FIG. 2. The back slipcover 12 in this embodiment comprises in one piece both a front panel 12A and a rear panel 12B. The back slipcover 12 is folded along line 16 over the top of the wheelchair back, such that the front panel 12A faces forward while the rear panel 12B faces rearward, so that the decorative pattern 14 can be seen by a viewer standing either in front of or behind the wheelchair 10.

[0032] Cuts 20, e.g., holes, circular or otherwise, can be made along the fold 20 to accomodate the handlebars of the wheelchair 10. Zipper parts 22A, 22B are located at the ends of the back slipcover 12. When the back slipcover 12 is folded over the back of the wheelchair 10, the zipper parts 22A, 22B can be zipped together at the bottom of the wheelchair back to keep the back slipcover 12 in place.

[0033] Note further that the back slipcover 12 fabric can be cut at 18 to keep the back slipcover 12 from bunching up uncomfortably. The fabric can be cut at an angle 18A near the arms of the wheelchair.

[0034] FIG. 4 is a diagram illustrating the top side 20A of the seat slipcover 20 of FIG. 2.

[0035] FIG. 5 is a diagram illustrating the bottom side 20B of the seat slipcover 20 of FIG. 2. A non-skid fabric 24 is sewn onto the bottom 20B to prevent the seat slipcover 20 from sliding forward in the wheelchair. A zipper 25 or other fastener holds a seat cushion (not shown) inside the seat slipcover 20.

[0036] In another embodiment of the seat slipcover 20, the top and bottom of the seat slipcover 20 are identical, so that when one side becomes dirty or soiled, it can simply be turned over. In this case, a non-skid fabric would be unattached to the bottom of the seat slipcover 20 and could be placed between the wheelchair seat and the seat slipcover 20, or could be attached to the wheelchair seat itself.

[0037] FIG. 6 is a side view of a wedge cushion 26 that can be used in the seat slipcover 20 of FIG. 2. The wedge-shaped cushion 26 prevents a patient from sliding forward in the wheelchair seat. In this embodiment, the seat slipcover 20 is preferably also wedge shaped to accomodate the wedge cushion 26.

[0038] Pockets (not shown) may also be built into one or both of the slipcovers 12, 20. These can hold a variety of items, such as the patient's accessories, or medical items and the like.

[0039] In one embodiment of the present invention, one or both of the slipcovers 12, 20 are padded. Alternatively, one or both slipcovers may be able to enclose padding.

[0040] Matching or coordinated accessories can also be provided, including, but not limited to lap blankets, sleeves (fabric for covering the wheelchair arms). Matching or coordinated slipcovers can be made for toy wheelchairs adapted for dolls.

[0041] While this invention has been particularly shown and described with references to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention encompassed by the appended claims.

[0042] For example, while zippers 22, 25 are shown, one skilled in the art would recognize that other types of fasteners, such as snaps, buttons, Velcro.TM. and the like could be used in place of or in addition to the zippers.

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