As shown in FIG. 1, mattress sling 10 also includes openings shown in the form of slits 46 near the head and foot ends of the mattress sling, adjacent and along the edges of the junction of or the seam formed by base sheet 12 and side sheets 14, 16, for passing patient care apparatus therethrough, and tying means shown in the form of pairs of strands 48 attached to the mattress sling at or adjacent each corner of base sheet 12 for tying the base sheet and the mattress sling to a bed or its mattress support, to prevent base sheet 12, mattress 64 thereon and mattress sling 10 from slipping relative to the mattress support, or from shifting out of its proper aligned position on the bed.
Referring to the drawings in detail, FIG. 1 shows a preferred embodiment of the mattress sling of this invention, generally designated 10, adapted for use with a bed having a mattress support and substantially horizontal side rails. Mattress sling 10 is comprised of a base portion or sheet 12 adapted to be positioned under a mattress between the mattress and the mattress support, and two spaced, side portions or sheets 14, 16. Although mattress sling 10 can be one piece, in the preferred embodiment shown, the mattress sling has three main pieces, base sheet 12 having opposed elongated edges 18, 20, and side sheets 14, 16, each having a longitudional proximate edge 22, 24 integral with, connected or attached along its length to respective adjacent base sheet enlongated edges 18, 20, longitudional remote edges 26, 28 opposite, removed from and substantially parallel to edges 22, 24, and head and foot edges, generally designated 30, 32 at the head and foot ends of each side sheet. Each side sheet also has connected or attached thereto, releasable securing means utilizable in association with one or more side rails for releasably securing itself to one or more side rails. The preferred securing means include pieces of adhesive material of any suitable size, shape or length connected or attached to the side sheets in any suitable manner in any suitable positions, preferably such that when a side sheet is extended upward and looped over and around a side rail vertically removed from the mattress, the pieces of each pair are juxtaposed and capable of mating and releasably securing the side sheet to or about the side rail. In the embodiment shown, the pieces of adhesive material include head and foot strips 34, 36 positioned along head and foot edges 30, 32, pairs of pieces 38, 40 respectively positioned adjacent and vertical to longitudional remote edges 26, 28 and pairs of pieces 42,44, respectively positioned adjacent and vertical to longitudional proximate edges 22, 24. The pieces of each pair are parallel to head and foot strips 34, 36. Should a mattress sling be desired which is suitable for use on numerous beds each having side rails of different heights, the pieces of adhesive material could each be elongated strips running parallel to head and foot strips 34, 36, from remote edges 26 and 28 to proximate edges 22 and 24.
Mattress sling 10 can be made of any suitable material or materials. Most simply, it can be made of one continuous sheet or piece of material wherein the base and side sheets are made of one integral piece of meshed, netted or screen-like material, for example such as may be used for playpens. Preferably, mattress sling 10 is made of two or more different materials. Base sheet 12 is made of a washable canvas or like material. The base sheet need not be an integral, continuous sheet as shown, but it can be made in skeleton form. For example, it can have cutouts or openings therein or it could be made of individual straps attached or unattached to each other to conserve material. Basically, the base portion of sheet refers to that central portion of the sling which underlies the mattress or overlies the mattress support.
FIG. 2 is a perspective view showing mattress sling 10 in working position on a bed generally designated 50, which is typical of beds commonly used is hospitals, nursing homes and institutions, and which has side rail units 52, which, by means of their sleeves 54, vertically reciprocate on posts 56 near the head and foot ends of the bed. Each side rail unit 52 has one or more substantially horizontal side rails, here, 58, 60, 62, the lowermost of which is usually at or as shown, inches above the upper plane of mattress 64. Any space or gap G between mattress 64 and lowermost side rail 58 or between the side rail and mattress support 66 (FIGS. 3 and 4), whether due to construction of the bed or to an askew mattress, would allow the possibility of lodgement of the bed occupant or his or her appendage between side rail 58 and mattress 64 or mattress support 66. A possibility of lodgement also would exist due to the gaps between respective side rails 58, 60 and 62. However, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, such possibilities of lodgement are prevented by the mattress sling of this invention, whose respective side sheets 18, 20 each is of a longitudinal length greater than the distance between the posts and the head and foot ends of the bed, each extends substantially tautly both along substantially the length of mattress 64 and beyond the posts, substantially upward from adjacent the side of mattress 64, to and over a vertically upwardly removed side rail, here, uppermost side rail 62, and downward along the outside of the side rails to where the side sheets' respective pieces of adhesive material 38, 40 and 42, 44 are juxtaposed, mate and cooperatively secure each side sheet about the side rails to itself well below lowermost side rail 58, adjacent the side wall and bottom of mattress 64. FIG. 2 also shows each head and foot strip 34, 36 folded at about the middle of its length and secured to itself to cooperatively provide a vertical seal at the head and foot ends of each side sheet just beyond the ends of the side rails or the side rail units 52 between the posts and the head and foot ends of the bed, to thereby help secure the side sheets onto the side rail units, maintain side sheet horizontal tautness, and prevent longitudional movement or slippage of the side sheets and mattress sling relative to the side rail units and side rails. Head and foot strips 34, 36 and pieces 38, 40 and 42, 44 secure mattress sling 10 onto bed 50 and its side rails or units, and, aided by strands 48 tied about mattress support 66, they maintain mattress sling 10, and, more importantly, mattress 64, in proper position and alignment relative to bed 50, mattress support 66, side rail units 52 and its side rails, particularly lowermost side rail 58.