All About Hospital Beds

Hospital and homecare electric beds are designed with features to provide safety, comfort, and assistance to individuals who are ill or disabled. Adjustable Hospital beds operate either electrically, semi-electrically or manually, and you can purchase one type over the other based upon budget, desire and needs.

Manual vs. semi-electric vs. electric hospital beds
Beds come in three mechanical varieties:

Manual Bed: A manual bed can have 2 hand cranks, one used to adjust the height of the bed, in relation to the ground; the other crank allows the caregiver to make adjustments to the head and foot areas. Some manual beds are designed with only 1 hand crank to perform all adjustments. Hand cranks are located at the foot of the bed.

Semi-Electric Bed: Typically the semi-electric bed contains only 1 crank located at the foot of the bed. The crank will raise and lower the bed and an easy to use electric hand controller allows one to make adjustments to the head and foot areas.

Electric Bed: These beds are fully electric and all adjustments can be made by using an electric controller. This is a great advantage, in many situations, for the caregiver as physical effort is unnecessary.

Features to Think About
Operating weight capacity- most beds are designed to handle up to 450 pounds. Heavy duty beds (occasionally referred to as "bariatric beds"), are designed to handle up to 1000 pounds.
Orthopedic support- What kind of mattress is included with the bed?
Degree of control with adjustment- Does the bed adjust in the ways you need it to?
Importance of having a lightweight bed- will you need to be able to move the bed easily?
Importance of bed height; some beds can be adjusted to go lower and higher than others

Bed Accessories
You may want to consider the following accessories:

  • Bed Safety Rails - Rails can assist in keeping the user in bed at night. They can also provide support getting in and out of bed
  • Trapeze Floor Stand - Can help patient change positions while in bed. Also can aid in transfer from bed to chair with minimum attendant assistance
  • Over Bed Tables- Legs slide under the bed to that the table top is in the right position for eating, doing activities, etc.
  • Hospital bed sheets

Buy or Rent
If a patient will be at home for a short duration, renting or purchasing a used hospital bed can be a good way to go. Renting can be a preferable choice, especially if you need a fully functional electric hospital bed, as a reputable company will typically replace any broken equipment or at least maintain the equipment for you. (Make sure the company that you are dealing with has this policy!) Also, find out the policy of the company's "Rental Cap" This is important because should you need to rent the bed for a longer period of time, you may want to have the option to purchase the bed and equipment: should that become the less expensive alternative. To save money start by finding out what your medical insurance or Medicare covers for this sort of expense. You will also want to look into Medicare coverage for purchasing a hospital bed.

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