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Title:
A PERSONAL TRANSPORTATION APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/143301
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A personal transportation apparatus comprises a base; a traversal system coupled to the base; and a seating structure coupled to the base and having first and second opposed sides, the seating structure including a base portion, a back-rest portion, and a leg-rest portion, the back-rest portion and the leg-rest portion each being pivotable relative to the base portion about respective pivoting axes to move the apparatus from a seating mode to a reclined mode. The traversal system comprises a plurality of wheels carried on a wheel support structure, at least part of the wheel support structure being extendable to stabilise the apparatus in the reclined mode.

Inventors:
HEE, Hwan Ing (100 Bukit Timah Road, Singapore 9, 229899, SG)
YU, Haoyong (21 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 7, 119077, SG)
Application Number:
SG2019/050034
Publication Date:
July 25, 2019
Filing Date:
January 21, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SINGAPORE HEALTH SERVICES PTE LTD (31 Third Hospital Avenue, #03-03 Bowyer Block C, Singapore 3, 168753, SG)
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE (21 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 7, 119077, SG)
International Classes:
A61G5/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2013116336A22013-08-08
Foreign References:
EP1430862A22004-06-23
US20140265181A12014-09-18
GB2201588A1988-09-07
US20090218784A12009-09-03
CN106901930A2017-06-30
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVIES COLLISON CAVE ASIA PTE. LTD. (10 Collyer Quay #07-01, Ocean Financial Centre, Singapore 5, 049315, SG)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A personal transportation apparatus comprising:

a base;

a traversal system coupled to the base; and

a seating structure coupled to the base and having first and second opposed sides, the seating structure including a base portion, a back-rest portion, and a leg-rest portion, the back-rest portion and the leg-rest portion each being pivotable relative to the base portion about respective pivoting axes to move the apparatus from a seating mode to a reclined mode;

wherein the traversal system comprises a plurality of wheels carried on a wheel support structure, at least part of the wheel support structure being extendable to stabilise the apparatus in the reclined mode. 2. The apparatus of claim 1 , further comprising

an elevation mechanism for raising or lowering the seating structure relative to the base.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, wherein the elevation mechanism is mounted to the seating structure.

4. The apparatus of claim 2 or claim 3, wherein the elevation mechanism comprises a scissor lift. 5. The apparatus of any one of the preceding claims, comprising a tilting mechanism for pivoting the seating structure relative to the base about an axis that is orthogonal to the respective pivoting axes of the back-rest portion and the leg- rest portion. 6. The apparatus of claim 5, comprising at least one handle extending from the first side and/or the second side of the seating structure.

7. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the at least one handle extends from the base portion of the seating structure.

8. The apparatus of claim 7, wherein the, or each, handle extends substantially along a length of the base portion.

9. The apparatus of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the seating structure is releasably coupled to the base at the first side and/or at the second side.

10. The apparatus of claim 9, wherein the seating structure is releasably coupled to the base by a rotary latch at the first side and/or a rotary latch at the second side. 1 1. The apparatus of any one of the preceding claims, wherein the back-rest portion is reclinable relative to the base portion at an angle of recline between 90° and 210°.

12. The apparatus of claim 11 , wherein the leg rest portion is reclinable such that it is parallel to the back-rest portion when the apparatus is in the reclined mode.

13. The apparatus of any one of the preceding claims, comprising at least one restraint mechanism for securing an individual to the seating structure.

14. The apparatus of claim 13, wherein the at least one restraint mechanism comprises one or more of a torso harness, an over-shoulder harness, a thigh harness, and a leg harness. 15. The apparatus of any one of the preceding claims, further comprising a handheld controller for controlling the apparatus.

Description:
A PERSONAL TRANSPORTATION APPARATUS

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a personal transportation apparatus preferably, but not exclusively, used in a medical facility.

BACKGROUND

Patients with neurodevelopmental conditions, behavior disorders, psychiatric conditions or when in a state of neurocognitive impairment/anxiety often exhibit disruptive behavior beyond their control. As such, these patients pose challenges to medical professionals during routine hospital/clinical procedures and processes.

For example, children with special needs such as autistic spectrum disorder have a perceived safety zone, any perceived change of their safety zone leads to a state of “fight or flight”, which consequently results in the patient resisting, struggling and/or fighting against the medical professionals.

Very often, exertion of force by the medical professionals is necessary to facilitate the transportation of these patients. Unfortunately, those circumstances are undesirable for both the patients and the medical professionals as both groups face risk of injury. The struggles during lifting and transport of patients put patients at risk of fall injuries and medical professionals at risk of injury from strain and musculoskeletal injuries. The risk of injury to the medical professionals increase with increased weight of the patients.

Currently, physical restraint by family members, aided by medical professionals, or physical restraint by medical professionals, with explicit consent is the preferred option after failure of both conservative behavior management (for example, distraction, persuasion, cajoling etc.) and pharmacological management (for example, use of anxiolytics, sedatives etc.). Complications arising from the use of physical restraint measures include for example, ineffective restraint, fall injuries, poor circulation/choking/asphyxia due to use of restraints, and so forth. It is evident that the aforementioned issues have not been addressed.

SUMMARY

The present disclosure relates to a personal transportation apparatus comprising: a base;

a traversal system coupled to the base; and

a seating structure coupled to the base and having first and second opposed sides, the seating structure including a base portion, a back-rest portion, and a leg-rest portion, the back-rest portion and the leg-rest portion each being pivotable relative to the base portion about respective pivoting axes to move the apparatus from a seating mode to a reclined mode;

wherein the traversal system comprises a plurality of wheels carried on a wheel support structure, at least part of the wheel support structure being extendable to stabilise the apparatus in the reclined mode.

The apparatus may further comprise an elevation mechanism for raising or lowering the seating structure relative to the base. The elevation mechanism may be mounted to the seating structure. In some embodiments, the elevation mechanism comprises a scissor lift.

Some embodiments of the apparatus comprise a tilting mechanism for pivoting the seating structure relative to the base about an axis that is orthogonal to the respective pivoting axes of the back-rest portion and the leg-rest portion. At least one handle may extend from the first side and/or the second side of the seating structure. The at least one handle may extend from the back-rest portion and/or the base portion of the seating structure. In some embodiments, the, or each, handle extends substantially along a length of the base portion.

The seating structure may be releasably coupled to the base at the first side and/or at the second side. In some embodiments, the seating structure is releasably coupled to the base by a rotary latch at the first side and/or a rotary latch at the second side.

The back-rest portion may be reclinable relative to the base portion at an angle of recline between 90° and 210°.

The leg rest portion may be reclinable such that it is parallel to the back-rest portion when the apparatus is in the reclined mode.

The apparatus may comprise at least one restraint mechanism for securing an individual to the seating structure. The at least one restraint mechanism may comprise one or more of a torso harness, an over-shoulder harness, a thigh harness, and a leg harness.

The apparatus may further comprise a handheld controller for controlling the apparatus.

It will be appreciated that the broad forms of the invention and their respective features can be used in conjunction, interchangeably and/or independently, and reference to separate broad forms is not intended to be limiting.

DESCRIPTION OF FIGURES

A non-limiting example of the present invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which: FIG 1 is a front perspective view of an apparatus according to certain embodiments, shown in a seating mode;

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

FIG 3 is a side view of the apparatus of FIG 1 shown in a first reclined mode;

FIG 4 is a front view of the apparatus of FIG 1 shown in a tilted state in the first reclined mode;

FIG 5 is a side view of the apparatus of FIG 1 shown in a second reclined (Trendelenburg position)_mode;

FIG 6 is a perspective view of the apparatus of FIG 1 shown in an elevated state in the first reclined mode;

FIG 7 is a block diagram showing the main electrical components of certain embodiments of the apparatus; and

FIG 8 is a close up view of the apparatus in the tilted state of FIG 4. DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Embodiments relate to a personal transportation apparatus for transporting and ambulating (sitting out of bed) individuals, such as patients in hospitals, nursing homes or psychiatric clinics, in a secure manner. For example, patients who are unwilling to be transported may be seated on the apparatus with the use of at least one restraint. Embodiments of the apparatus may also allow individuals to be positioned in different ways, such as in a seated position, a supine position, the Trendelenburg or reverse Trendelenburg position, and the like, for the transport, transfer, ambulating or airway management of patients.

The following provides a description of certain embodiments of the invention. The invention should not be construed as being limited to the particular embodiments described below and depicted in the Figures. Referring to FIG 1 , there is shown an example of a personal transportation apparatus 100. The apparatus 100 can be used to move patients in a medical facility such as, for example, a hospital, a clinic, and the like. When the apparatus 100 is used in the medical facility, the apparatus 100 can be used to transport patients to and from an operating theatre/table, transport patients between wards, and ambulate patients within wards. In some embodiments, the apparatus 100 can also be used as a transport trolley to transport inanimate objects. In some circumstances, the patients may need to be restrained when they are moved around the medical facility, and the apparatus 100 is able to provide that functionality in at least some embodiments.

The apparatus 100 comprises a base 105 which is a chassis of the apparatus 100. The base 105 typically is a metallic frame to which a plurality of modules and a power source can be mounted. The base 105 may comprise one or more enclosures for protecting components of the plurality of modules and the power source such that the apparatus 100 can be used outdoors. The base 105 may include a tray for retaining one or more components, such as the power source, and each such component may have its own housing with suitable ingress protection.

The power source may be a lead acid battery capable of powering the apparatus 100 for at least ten hours before charging is required. Alternatively, the power source may be another type of rechargeable battery, such as a Lithium-ion battery. The apparatus 100 also includes a traversal system 1 10 coupled to the base 105, that enables movement of the apparatus 100. The traversal system 1 10 includes a plurality of wheels 1 16, 1 17, which may be housed within casters 1 15, for example. The casters 1 15 may be swivel casters or rigid casters, and may be lockable to prevent undesired movement. Wheels 116, 1 17 may be motorised in some embodiments.

The traversal system 1 10 includes a wheel support structure 1 12 to which the wheels 1 16, 1 17 are mounted. At least part of the wheel support structure 1 12 is extendable to stabilise the apparatus 100 when the apparatus 100 is moved from a seating mode, as shown in FIG 1 and FIG 2, to a reclined mode, as shown in FIGs 3 to 6. For example, the wheel support structure 112 may comprise at least one telescopic structure 120, and the wheels 1 16, 1 17 may be carried on a pair of such structures positioned at opposed first and second sides of the apparatus 100.

Each telescopic structure 120 may comprise a sleeve 121 that extends along the base 105, and a rail 122 which moves within the sleeve 121. A first (front) wheel 1 16 may be mounted to the sleeve 121 and a second (rear) wheel 1 17 may be mounted to the rail 122 such that movement of the rail 122 within the sleeve 121 changes the spacing between the front 1 16 and rear 1 17 wheels and thus the contact points of the apparatus 100 with the ground. The traversal system 1 10 is thus able to vary the footprint of the apparatus 100 to ensure stability of the apparatus 100 when the apparatus 100 is in the reclined mode, whilst also being able to minimise the footprint in the seating mode such that it may more readily be accommodated in confined spaces, such as elevators, when placed in the seating mode.

Although the wheels 1 16, 117 are shown mounted to separate telescopic structures 120 in the Figures, it will be appreciated that they may also be mounted to a single telescopic structure. For example, rear wheels 1 17 may be carried on a single frame structure in which rails 122 are connected by a web. Advantageously, this ensures that the rear wheels 1 17 are always in alignment, and can be simultaneously extended from or retracted into the sleeves 121 using a single actuator.

The plurality of casters 1 15 and the at least one telescopic structure 120 can be driven by at least one actuator. For example, as shown in FIG 7, a caster switch 704 (which may be part of a pendant controller 700, for example, or may be mounted on the apparatus 100) may be used to simultaneously drive a first caster actuator 124a and a second caster actuator 124b to extend or retract the casters 1 15 carrying rear wheels 1 17. In some embodiments, separate respective caster switches may be provided to drive the respective actuators 124a, 124b separately. It will be appreciated that each such caster switch will be associated with its own relay 714 and actuator fuse 715, in that case.

If the wheels 1 16, 1 17 are motorised, one or more additional actuators (not shown) may be provided in order to drive the wheels 1 16, 1 17.

The apparatus 100 also includes a seating structure 125 mounted to the base 105. The seating structure 125 has a first side 125a that is opposed to a second side 125b, as shown in FIG. 4. The seating structure 125 may be mounted by means of brackets 126 that extend from sides of the base 105 and/or from sides of the seating structure 125. The brackets 126 may comprise apertures to receive fasteners, such as bolts, to secure the seating structure 125 to the base 105, for example.

The seating structure 125 includes a base portion 130, a back-rest portion 135, and a leg-rest portion 140. The back-rest portion 135 and the leg-rest portion 140 are each pivotable with respect to the base portion 130 about respective, parallel, pivot axes that are indicated at 136 and 141 respectively in FIG 2. The seating structure 125 is thus movable from the seating mode shown in FIG 1 and FIG 2 to one or more reclined modes as shown in FIG 3 and FIG 6 (supine position) or FIG 5 (Trendelenburg position). The pivot axes are each parallel to a central axis of the base portion 130, where the central axis is parallel to a width of the base portion 130, as indicated by dotted line 132 in FIG 1.

The movement of the seating structure 125 can be driven by at least one actuator. For example, a single actuator 134 (FIG 7) may be used to simultaneously drive back-rest portion 135 and leg-rest portion 140 to move the seating structure 125 into a reclined mode. Alternatively, separate actuators (not shown) may be used to drive the back-rest portion 135 and the leg-rest portion 140. The apparatus 100 includes a tilting mechanism for pivoting the seating structure 125 relative to the base 105 about a tilt axis that is orthogonal to the pivot axes 136, 141 of the back-rest portion 135 and the leg-rest portion 140, the tilt axis being substantially parallel to a plane defined by the base portion 130. The tilting mechanism includes at least one pivotable mounting for the base portion 130 on the base 105 such that the base portion 130, and thus the seating structure 125 as a whole, may be tilted about the tilt axis. The tilting mechanism may allow a tilt angle of up to 45° about the tilt axis, for example.

For example, the at least one actuator can operate with a rotary latch (for example, a bi-directional rotary latch) and solenoid to enable the movement of the seating structure 125. As shown in FIG 4 and FIG 8, an upper portion of seating structure 125 may have a bracket 402 extending therefrom, at each end (only one such bracket 402 being shown in each of FIG 4 and FIG 8, but it being understood that another bracket is located at the opposite end of seating structure 125). One side of bracket 402 carries a latch pin, indicated at position 408, and extending inwardly of the bracket 402 as shown in FIG 8. When the seating structure 125 is in a horizontal (untilted) state, the latch pin 408 engages with a rotary latch 720 located in a lower portion 404 of the seating structure 125, on the same side as latch pin 408. The other side of lower portion 404 has a pivotal mounting for the seating structure 125. The lower portion 404 also carries a solenoid 718 that has a pin 719 extending therefrom to engage with respective apertures 406a, 406b, 406c to lock the bracket 402, and thus the seating structure 125, in three different positions. It will be appreciated that additional apertures may be provided to provide further locked and tilted positions. A substantially identical arrangement is provided at the opposite end of seating structure 125.

The seating structure 125 may include one or more handles 152 to assist in manually tilting the seating structure 125 about the tilt axis. In some embodiments, a handle 152 is provided on each side of the base portion 130. Preferably, each handle 152 extends substantially along the length of the base portion 130, such that it may be more easily gripped by a user with two hands to facilitate tilting of the seating structure 125 away from the base 105.

When the seating structure 125 is in the untilted position, the latch pin 408 is engaged with latch 720 and the solenoid pin 719 is engaged with aperture 406a. To tilt the seating structure 125, a switch 708 is depressed to release the latch 720 and the solenoid pin 719 so that the side of the seating structure 125 may be lifted using handle 152, to tilt the seating structure 125 on the pivotal mounting. As the seating structure 125 is progressively tilted, the solenoid pin 719 may engage with aperture 406b. If a greater degree of tilt is required, the tilt switch 708 may again be depressed to withdraw the solenoid pin 719.

In some embodiments, a bidirectional rotary latch system may be provided. In such embodiments, symmetric latch and solenoid arrangements (i.e., each in accordance with the arrangements described above) may be provided on each side of the lower portion 404. As such, the solenoids 718 on respective sides may act as respective pivotal mountings (in particular, about pin 719) for the seating structure 125, so that it may be tilted in either direction once released by pressing an appropriate switch 708. The bracket 402 may then include apertures 416a, 416b and 416c in a mirror image arrangement relative to 406a, 406b and 406c.

The seating structure 125 can include compressible cushioning material configured to ensure comfort for patients on the seating structure 125. The cushioning material can be wrapped with a supple material like fabric or leather (synthetic/real) to also ensure comfort for patients on the seating structure 125. The appearance of the seating structure 125 after it is wrapped with a supple material may resemble a bucket seat used in high performance automobiles, for example. Because a seating structure in this form does not resemble a typical transport apparatus for patients such as a wheelchair or the like, it has been found that is more appealing to children with special needs, and thus less likely to cause stress and anxiety such that a child is more likely to sit calmly in the apparatus 100 without resisting medical professionals.

The base portion 130 of the seating structure 125 functions as a seat for patients when the seating structure 125 is in the seating mode as depicted in FIG 1 and FIG 2. The base portion 130 is typically rectangular, and may be sized to accommodate patients of various sizes. The base portion 130 can include side guards 150 to ensure a snug fit for patients seated on the base portion 130.

The back-rest portion 135 of the seating structure 125 is of a length sufficient to provide neck support for patients seated on the seating structure 125 when the seating structure 125 is in seating mode. To this end, the back-rest portion 135 may include a head-rest portion 138 that may be integrally formed with the remainder of the back-rest portion 135, or which may be adjustable linearly and/or rotationally. The back portion 135 may have a width which is sufficient to accommodate patients of all sizes. The leg rest portion 140 of the seating structure 125 may also have a width suitable to accommodate two legs of patients of all sizes. The leg-rest portion 140 may have inwardly tapering side guards 142 to assist in retaining the patient’s legs. In some embodiments, the back-rest portion 135 may have one or more handles (not shown) extending from a rear surface thereof (i.e., the surface opposite the surface against which the patient would rest when seated). The one or more handles facilitate manual pushing of the apparatus 100 in embodiments without motorised wheels, or when the motorised wheels are in an unpowered state.

The back portion 135 is reclinable relative to the base portion 130, with the range of angle of recline of the back portion 135 being typically being in the range between 90° (fully vertical in the seating mode) and 210° (i.e., 30° past horizontal) with reference to the base portion 130. In some embodiments, the back-rest portion 135 is reclinable by use of an actuator 134. The leg rest portion 140 may be moved independently, for example by a further actuator (not shown), or in conjunction with movement of the back portion 135 by the actuator 134. When the leg rest portion 140 is moved in conjunction with movement of the back-rest portion 135, the leg rest portion 140 is typically maintained substantially parallel to the back portion 135 when the back portion 135 is reclined. When the leg rest portion 140 moves in conjunction with movement of the back-rest portion 135, the movement of the leg rest portion 140 can be enabled by at least one set of linkages in the seating structure 125 so as to ensure that the back portion 135 and the leg rest portion 140 is able to remain substantially parallel to one another. The apparatus 100 also includes at least one restraint mechanism mounted to the seating structure 125. In the illustrated embodiments, two restraint mechanisms are shown, a torso harness 155, and an over-shoulder harness 160. Additional restraints may be provided, such as a leg restraint (not shown). The over-shoulder harness 160 includes a pair of arms 162 connected by a crossbar 164 and can include a one-way bearing. The at least one restraint mechanism can be used to restrain or secure patients, for example those who behave in a violent manner or who may be prone to falling out of the seat 130, so that such patients can be safely transported to a desired location. The restraint mechanisms may be adjustable, for example to accommodate different sizes of patient, or to be positioned sufficiently loosely that the patient is not threatened (and thus does not become anxious), for example.

Advantageously, an over-shoulder harness 160 of the type depicted in the Figures is typically associated with thrill rides at amusement parks. This association can be helpful in ensuring patients are not threatened when sitting on the apparatus 100.

The apparatus 100 can also include an elevation mechanism 170 (as shown in use in FIG 4 and FIG 6) for raising or lowering the seating structure 125 relative to the base 105. Typically, the elevation mechanism 170 is mounted to the seating structure 125. In some embodiments, the elevation mechanism 170 is operated with an electro-hydraulic actuator 175, and includes a scissor lift 180.

Advantageously, the elevation mechanism may enable the seating structure 125 to be elevated to the same level as an operating table when the apparatus 100 is in the reclined (supine) mode shown in FIG 3, such that the patient may readily be shifted to the operating table from the apparatus 100. This may be done via known means such as the use of a Patslide™ sliding board. Alternatively, in embodiments of the apparatus 100 that include a tilting mechanism, the latch at one side of the seating structure 125 may be released to enable the seating structure 125 to be lifted (e.g., using handle 152) to tilt it for ease of transferring the patient onto the operating table.

Turning to the block diagram of FIG 7, the apparatus 100 includes a main switch 190 that is connected to a power source, such as battery 730, via a relay 722, such that apparatus 100 can be powered on for operation, or powered off for storage. An emergency stop button 192 is also connected to battery 730. Relay 722 is associated with a main fuse 724.

As shown in FIG 7, the apparatus 100 can also include a handheld controller 700 which is able to, on demand, control various aspects of the apparatus 100. For example, the handheld controller may: a. control the recline angle of the back portion 135 by depression of a recline switch 706 to drive the recline actuator 134;

b. control movement of the leg rest portion 140, by depression of a further switch that drives a further actuator (not shown);

c. control both a recline angle of the back portion 135 and a movement of the leg rest portion 140 by depression of the recline switch 706;

d. control the traversal system 1 10 to extend or retract the rails 122 of telescopic structures 120, by depression of a caster switch 704 that drives the first and second caster actuators 124a and 124b (via a relay 714 that is associated with an actuator fuse 715);

e. control the elevation mechanism 170 by depression of a lifter switch 702 that drives the lifter actuator 175 (via a relay 712 which is associated with an actuator fuse 713); and

f. control movement of the seating structure 125 about the tilt axis, by depression of side tilt switch 708 to release latch 720.

The handheld controller can be communicatively coupled to the apparatus 100 by either a wired connection or a wireless connection. In some embodiments, the handheld controller can be a bespoke device that is only usable with the apparatus 100. In other embodiments, the handheld controller can be a mobile computing device such as a smartphone with an installed application that can transmit signals to control the apparatus 100 in a manner similar to that described above. In such embodiments, the apparatus 100 may include a microcontroller in communication with the relays 712, 714, 716, and a communications interface (such as a Bluetooth interface) for receiving input signals from the mobile computing device such that the input signals can be used by the microcontroller to drive the respective actuators 175, 134, 124a/124b associated with the relays 712, 714, 716, for example. The microcontroller may also receive signals from the actuators to indicate the positions of same, for example, and transmit those signals as outputs to the mobile computing device such that the installed application may interpret said output signals and display the positions or other status information for the respective actuators. It should be appreciated that the apparatus 100 can be configured to various modes in accordance with desired requirements, as shown in FIGs 2 to 5.

FIG 2 shows the apparatus 100 in a first (sitting) mode, whereby the apparatus 100 allows the patient to be in a substantially upright seated position. While the torso harness 155 and the over-shoulder harness 160 each shown in use, it is not mandatory for both, or even either, to be used. FIG 3 shows the apparatus 100 in a reclined mode, whereby the apparatus 100 allows the patient to be in a supine position. The torso harness 155 and the over shoulder harness 160 remain in position in FIG 3, but again this is not mandatory. In the reclined mode, it is desirable for the apparatus 100 to have an enlarged footprint relative to the sitting mode. Accordingly, in FIG 3 the rail 122 of telescopic structure 120 is shown in a fully extended state (having been extended by controlling the actuator 124a) to reduce the possibility of the apparatus 100 toppling due to instability. FIG 4 and FIG 6 shows activation of the elevation mechanism 170 to elevate the seating structure 125 when the apparatus 100 is in the reclined mode. As mentioned above, the height of the seating structure 125 can be increased to match the height of another platform or bed, such as an operating table, to which the patient is to be moved. In the reclined mode, the apparatus 100 can itself also be used as a operating platform while the patient is in a supine position. This is advantageous as it may obviate the need to move the patient from the apparatus 100 to a separate operating platform. For example, this can be advantageous when used in makeshift medical facilities set up for humanitarian relief efforts, where the number of operating platforms may be limited, while the number of patients may be substantial.

FIG 4 shows the apparatus 100 in a tilted state in the reclined mode, such that the patient may readily be moved from the seating structure 125, possibly by rolling the patient from the seating structure 125. The patient may be moved from the seating structure 125 because of the tilting of the seating structure 125 about the tilt axis. It should be appreciated that the tilt axis is parallel to a length of the apparatus 100, which in FIG 4, relates to a direction into or out of the page.

FIG 5 shows the apparatus 100 in a further reclined mode, whereby a patient may be positioned in the Trendelenburg position. In the further reclined mode, it is also desirable for the apparatus 100 to have a large footprint (by controlling the extension of the rails 122 of traversal system 1 10) to reduce the possibility of the apparatus 100 toppling due to instability.

While movement of respective parts of the apparatus 100 are powered by actuators, it should be appreciated that it is possible for respective actuators to actuate different parts of the apparatus 100 with the use of gears, linkages and the like. For example, the apparatus 100 may have a single actuator to enable the different modes of the apparatus 100.

Embodiments of the present invention provide an apparatus which enables the transportation and ambulation of patients, regardless of whether the patients require restraining. In addition, embodiments of the apparatus also facilitates induction of anaesthesia, airway management, and transfer of patients during pre- and post-operation care. Moreover, the apparatus can also be used for patients undergoing sedation for dental procedures. Furthermore, embodiments of the apparatus also minimises instances of medical professionals having to risk injury from the lifting of patients, since the apparatus can be configured to various modes of operation by elevating and/or tilting. Furthermore, embodiments of the apparatus are also made to appear more appealing, such that patients are more receptive to using the apparatus. Moreover, embodiments of the apparatus can also be configured to be used for a secondary purpose, for example as a surgical procedure platform.

Throughout this specification and the claims which follow, unless the context requires otherwise, the word“comprise”, and variations such as“comprises” or “comprising”, will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or group of integers or steps but not the exclusion of any other integer or group of integers. Persons skilled in the art will appreciate that numerous variations and modifications will become apparent. All such variations and modifications which become apparent to persons skilled in the art, should be considered to fall within the spirit and scope of the invention.