What to Look for in a Hospital Bed

Written by  //  November 8, 2012  //  Medical  //  No comments

An ill loved one may need long-term care, something that you may choose to provide in your home. In-home care is an important option for people that would like to remain in their homes while recovering, and is also a way to help reduce medical costs. One way to offer comfort and rest for patients is to provide a bariatric hospital bed. When considering such a purchase you will want to keep several points in mind.

Rent or Buy

Hospital beds can be rented for the short- or long-term, or you can buy one. For Medicare patients, Medicare Part B may cover some of this cost. You will need a document from your physician, such as a prescription, to receive assistance. 

For everyone else, renting versus buying may come down to one thing: cost. If you are looking at long-term recuperation, than buying a hospital bed may prove more cost effective than renting. Discuss with your retailer what options are available to you.

Type of Bed

Hospital beds range from the simple, offering limited electric adjustment to the complex with full electric adjustment possible. For families looking to offer the same time of bed as found in a hospital, only a bariatric bed can meet those requirements.

A bariatric bed can come equipped with a reinforced frame and have a weight capacity of 450 to 750 pounds. Special beds for the morbidly obese are also available.

Hospital beds are typically about seven feet long by four feet wide and come with bed, head and foot boards. Choose one with half rails, a bariatric mattress and locking casters. Steering lock casters in the foot section can make it possible to maneuver the bed as needed and are what hospitals use when transporting patients.


What typically drives most people to consider a hospital bed is the comfort of the patient. Thus it is essential that the individual be allowed to be as mobile as possible with the ability to sit up and watch television or to read a book on her own. If this person is with a caregiver, than the attendant can benefit from easy to adjust controls. This becomes more important if the patient needs direct intervention for lifting and adjusting. With boards in place, the caregiver can rely on the bed to help move the patient with ease and without compromising her own health.

Cheaper hospital beds may save you money in the short run but do little to help the patient recover. There are some safety guidelines to consider too, as brought to us by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

For instance, in an FDA hospital bed publication it was reported that 828 patients were "…caught, trapped, entangled or strangled in hospital beds…" from 1985 to 2010. The FDA says that 493 people lost their lives with the remaining patients injured, some seriously. Nearly 200 patients had to be rescued by a caregiver to prevent serious injury or death.

Safety Precautions

In light of possible safety challenges, the FDA cautions consumers when shopping for a hospital bed. Side rails are certainly helpful, but should not impede patient safety. Bed rails should be used on an "as needed" basis and only after the careful evaluation of the patient’s medical condition including his symptoms. These symptoms include the patient’s sleeping habits, use of medication, cognitive state, communication abilities, mobility and underlying medical conditions. Work with your physician or other healthcare professional to determine a hospital bed regimen that is right for the patient.

If you buy a hospital bed and find out that you don’t need it for the long-term, you may be able to donate it. The group Advocates for World Health is a nonprofit organization, one that will accept your hospital and provide it to a needy individual. Other organizations also accept hospital beds and medical equipment, enabling you to help someone while receiving a tax deduction.


FDA: Hospital Bed — http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/GeneralHospitalDevicesandSupplies/HospitalBeds/default.htm

For the past 10 years, Mountainside Medical Equipment Inc. has been a leading provider of medical supplies and medical equipment as well as a veteran-owned small business. As a family-owned and operated business, Mountainside Medical is proud to be an international resource for healthcare professionals as well as private consumers online through their website.  They also serve the local community in their convenient Marcy, NY medical supply outlet store.

About the Author

View all posts by

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.