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If you or a loved one require a bed that will offer added support, comfort, and the ability to adapt for special needs, a hospital bed is one of the best solutions.
For many people who have disabilities, have had surgery, or for the elderly, the addition of a hospital bed in the home can be the difference between being able to remain with their loved ones and going into a specialist care facility. Of course, for most people, being able to stay at home is a preferable option.
However, purchasing a hospital bed for the first time can feel like a mammoth task, with all the mod-cons and options that the hospital bed of the 21st century offers, making the right choice is essential.
In this guide, we have put together all the relevant information that will make selecting a hospital bed easier and will help you be confident that the bed will meet your unique needs.
Hospital Beds Comparison Chart
Invacare 5310IVC Semi-Electric Hospital Bed
Drive Medical 15033 Ultra-Light Fully Electric Hospital Bed
Med-Mizer CC CC803 RetractaBed
Envyy Sleep-to-Stand Electric Bed by Platinum Health
Drive Medical 15300 Bariatric Fully-Electric Hospital Bed
Hill-Rom CareAssist ES Medical Bed
80" to 84"
35" to 42"
Height from Floor
15" to 23"
12.75" to 21.5"
9" to 25"
18.25" to 26.25"
15.75" to 32.5"
Yes (Trendelenburg and reverse Trendelenburg)
What is a Hospital Bed?
In some instances, you may hear the hospital bed being referred to as a profiling bed but these are both the same thing – so do not let this be the first point of confusion.
A hospital bed differs from a normal bed in that both the head section and leg section is fully adjustable, this makes it easier for patients with limited mobility to get in and out of the bed and also makes it easier for caregivers to complete certain tasks with the patient. But we will look a little more closely at the benefits of this type of bed later on.
For the most part, hospital beds are constructed from wood and are operated using a motorized or electric control. These beds feature a platform that has been designed to hold a profiling mattress but this is where the similarities come to an end.
When choosing a hospital bed, you will be given a lot of features to consider and it is important to carefully think about the needs of the patient.
Benefits of a Hospital Bed
There’s little doubt that one of the best benefits of installing a hospital bed in the home is that this will allow the patient to remain with their family for a longer period of time. For those with disabilities or mobility issues, this type of bed is imperative in their everyday care and without one, it could mean that staying at home is not an option.
We touched on the fact that a hospital bed offers greater ease when it comes to using a bed both for the patient and the caregiver and this can be a life-changing difference when compared to a standard bed. However, a hospital bed will also provide the patient with added comfort. When you are spending large portions of your time confined in a bed, it is vital that comfort is one of the main priorities.
Thanks to their unique design, a hospital bed will allow the patient to be moved around, therefore, preventing painful bedsores. It is thought that bedsores are a problem in as many as 28% of elderly people according to a survey of care homes, so it isn’t difficult to see that this is a problem that needs addressing and a hospital bed is likely the answer.
Furthermore, older people and those with disabilities are known to have trips and falls more frequently than able-bodied people when getting in and out of bed, thanks to the special design of these beds, this risk can be dramatically reduced, putting the safety of the patient first.
When a patient is required to remain in bed, this can cause serious problems with circulation but owing to the way a hospital bed moves and adjusts, this becomes less of an issue.
Perhaps most importantly, the addition of a hospital bed in the home means that those with limited mobility and health problems are able to retain a sense of independence. This is important, not only for staying at home with the family but also where mental health is concerned. Unfortunately, elderly people who live in care homes are more likely to suffer from mental health problems, in fact, as many as 2 in 5 older adults in a care facility are struggling with depression or other, similar conditions. This could be avoided by the simple addition of mobility aids such as hospital beds in the home.
Types of Hospital Beds
Whilst there is a vast array of options when it comes to hospital beds, this is a good thing because it gives patients the freedom to choose a bed that will suit their needs.
However, if you are new to hospital beds, it can feel a little overwhelming when you are confronted with such an extensive choice.
Understanding the different types of hospital beds can give you a much clearer idea of what will work best for you and your loved ones.
Manual Hospital Bed
A manual hospital bed is one of the more affordable options, with beds starting at as little as $600. Unlike other types of hospital beds, the manual bed, unsurprisingly, doesn’t make use of electric controls and is controlled through the use of a hand crank. This crank lifts and adjusts various sections of the bed.
Whilst these may be a more economical option, it is important to remember that a certain amount of physical strength and stamina is required to adjust the bed – something to keep in mind if you or your caregivers may struggle with this. This may be an option that is better suited to someone who has a caregiver that is able to manually adjust the bed without an issue.
Low Profile Hospital Bed
If the person using the bed is prone to falls or accidents then a low profile hospital bed may be a wise choice. These beds are similar to a standard height bed in that they have many of the same features – depending on the brand, of course. However, they are much lower to the floor meaning that falling out of bed or falling whilst getting into bed is much less of a risk.
Some of the lowest bed frames are able to be taken to just an inch off the ground so it isn’t difficult to see how this could be advantageous.
Low profile beds are also a great choice for improved postural support in patients who struggle in this area.
These beds are ideal for patients who are weaker and find getting into a higher bed more demanding and thanks to the electric operation, they are easier on the caregiver too.
It is, however, important to bear in mind that a low profile hospital bed will be more costly than other options so financing them may not be as simple.
Electric Hospital Bed
There are two options when it comes to electric hospital beds – full and semi-electric. As you may have guessed, a fully electric bed is completely electronically controlled which is excellent for patients who live alone or who only have part-time caregivers. Additionally, this type of bed is useful if your caregiver struggles with strength and would find a manual bed too strenuous to operate.
With a fully electric option, everything is operated using a remote control and you will find that head height, foot height and the overall height of the bed can be adjusted in this way.
One of the great advantages of this type of bed is that there is an option to lock the controls so that the patient doesn’t accidentally alter them causing injury or accident.
Alternatively, there is the semi-electric hospital bed which allows for electric control of the head and foot sections but the overall bed height is operated manually using a crank.
Since semi-electric beds are very slightly less expensive than their fully electric counterparts, they may be a preferable option for those who do not need to frequently adjust the overall bed height.
Patients who are larger in size may need a more supportive bed that can handle more weight. For this reason, a bariatric bed, also known as a heavy-duty hospital bed may be a preferable option.
These beds have a much more sturdy support frame making them safer for larger patients but they are also wider so provide additional comfort and space where it is needed.
However, you are not limited in terms of adjustability with bariatric beds still giving the option of altering the header and footer as needed.
These beds are much more durable however, they are slightly higher in cost. Also, because of their wider design, it is important to factor in how much space you have to place the bed.
Trendelenburg Hospital Bed
For those who have recently undergone surgery and need a comfortable place to recover, a Trendelenburg hospital bed is a good option. Additionally, this is an excellent choice for those who require a bed that can move into multiple positions, perhaps those who spend all or most of their time in the bed.
The Trendelenburg bed offers the greatest functionality in terms of being adjustable as it can be moved into more positions and has the capacity to accommodate pillow wedges and other support items as they are needed.
Furthermore, this type of bed can be turned into a reclining chair of sorts which is ideal for older patients.
When considering this type of bed, it is important to keep in mind that they are a little pricier and, much like the wider bariatric bed, will require a larger space, so be sure to measure the room before making a purchase.
How to Choose the Right Hospital Bed
Once you have decided on the right type of hospital bed for your needs, you will then need to take a look at the various models within that category.
Various manufacturers will offer different features, although, for the most part, you can expect to find similar features on all brands. That being said, it is important to think about the following criteria:
It is imperative that when choosing a hospital bed, you take the weight of the patient into consideration. Some hospital beds are not designed to hold larger patients and this could pose a potential safety risk should the bed buckle under the weight of a heavier person.
If the patient is particularly large, a bariatric bed is a good option with some of these types of beds having a maximum weight capacity of up to 700 lbs.
Other hospital beds may offer a higher weight capacity but it is important to make this one of the first things to check. You should also consider any additional weight that the bed may be expected to handle such as bedding and other items.
One of the key components of the hospital bed is that it allows for profiling, simply put, this is the ability of the bed to adjust things such as the head and feet sections.
However, not all hospital beds are made equal, as we have seen when it comes to more advanced models such as the Trendelenburg bed. It is vital that you check that the bed platform is profiling and that you choose a mattress that will work alongside this.
The profiling options you choose will depend highly on the needs of the patient. For example, a patient who has circulation problems in the legs will definitely require an easy footer elevation. Those who have recently endured an operation may benefit from the advanced profiling of the Trendelenburg bed.
Having a hospital bed that features an adjustable height can make life much easier for both the patient and the caregiver. For times when the patient needs to exit the bed safely, the ability to lower it is imperative. However, for tasks that require the caregiver to gain easy access to the patient, moving the bed to a higher position can be useful.
Furthermore, it is important to consider how easy it is to adjust the height of the bed – will the patient need to be able to adjust the bed themselves? If so, an electric control might be better.
Ease of Use
This is an especially important point to think about if the person is going to be using the bed for a long period of time. You should think about how easy it will be for the patient to use the bed alone, for example, where is the control panel located? For many electric models, the controls are located near the footer or on the side of the bed, this may not always be in easy reach of the patient.
In contrast, if you are placing the main operation responsibility with a caregiver, it pays to think about their strength and ability when it comes to using a hand crank. Perhaps an electric option will be preferable.
Furthermore, it is worth thinking about how easy the bed will be to install. In some cases, you may wish to hire a professional to ensure that the bed is safely fitted together. However, if you wish to install the bed yourself, be sure to purchase one that gives clear and detailed instructions.
Some people will require a side rail to prevent them from falling out of bed. This is an excellent addition to the hospital bed for children or adults who have trouble holding themselves up.
However, there are certain aspects to consider when choosing a side railing, or cot side as you may sometimes hear it being referred to. One of the main points to think about is whether the railing will pose an additional hazard such as the patient becoming trapped between the rails. Be sure to purchase something that doesn’t have gaps that would allow this.
Secondly, if you are considering installing railings to prevent the patient from climbing out of bed, you should be wise when making a decision since if they attempted this, the rails could serve as a hazard rather than protection.
Finally, it pays to think about whether a padded railing may pose a risk of suffocation and you should consider the unique needs of the patient before making a final decision.
Maintaining the Bed
Once you have successfully purchased the bed, it is important to think about how you will maintain it and keep it functioning in a safe and practical way.
Many manufacturers will offer a maintenance service, however, there is also the option to read the detailed guide which you will receive with the bed.
Thankfully, if there are any issues or you need replacement parts, these can easily be sourced online or by going directly to the supplier.
Best Hospital Beds for Home Use
1. Invacare 5310IVC Semi-Electric Hospital Bed
For those looking for an entry-level hospital bed, the Invacare 5310IVC could be an ideal solution. This semi-electric bed is perfect for patients with some mobility who want to reposition themselves independently and effortlessly, but are not overly concerned about the height adjustability of the bed.
The head and leg sections can be adjusted electronically by the patient using the simple to operate control pendant. The bed can be raised or lowered (15″ to 23″) by the caregiver, using a hand crank, which is located at the foot end of the bed. The motor on the hospital bed is quick and operates smoothly and quietly.
The bed frame is constructed from durable steel, which ensures good stability, and it has a weight capacity of up to 350 lbs. The foot and head panels have a wood-grain feel, which makes it look like a traditional bed, and not too clinical. The panels are scratch-resistant, and the enclosures on the bed are waterproof so it can easily be kept clean and hygienic.
To maximize the patient’s and caregiver’s safety, two of the casters are lockable, and it also has a pinch-free design. The hospital bed can be purchased on its own, alternatively, for a little bit extra, you can have it also come with an innerspring mattress and side rails.
- Length: 88″
- Width: 36″
- Height from floor: 15″ to 23″
- Product weight: 177 lbs
- Weight capacity: 350 lbs
- Frame type: Semi-electric
2. Drive Medical 15033 Ultra-Light Fully Electric Hospital Bed
Being able to adjust the positioning and height of a bed with just a touch of a button, can not only be crucial for the patient’s comfort, especially for the bedridden, but it can also help to reduce the workload for the caregiver considerably.
The Drive Medical 15033 ultra-light hospital bed is perfect for patients who need to spend considerable periods in bed who require regular repositioning, and are looking for the convenience of a fully electric bed that is easy to operate and is well built and comfortable. The head and foot sections, as well as the height, can be adjusted via the handset. This ensures the patient can change positions regularly to redistribute pressure on their limbs. This helps reduce the risk of bedsores and remain more comfortable.
The control handset features large buttons, so the controls are easy to operate even by users who have limited finger dexterity, or for anyone who has visual impairments. Despite the hospital bed being fully electric, it is relatively lightweight, weighing just 169 lbs, so it is easy to maneuver. The bed has a good weight capacity of up to 450 lbs, and the frame is reinforced to ensure its durability and strength.
The motor is quiet, and it is also easy to install and remove without requiring tools, which is handy if you need to clean the bed. In the event of a power outage, a 9-volt battery will lower the head and foot sections up to nine times.
The hospital bed comes in a choice of options. You can go just for the bed, or instead, you can opt for the upgrade package, which also includes bed rails and an innerspring mattress.
- Length: 88″
- Width: 36″
- Height from floor: 12.75″ to 21.5″
- Product weight: 169 lbs
- Weight capacity: 450 lbs
- Frame type: Fully-electric
3. Med-Mizer CC CC803 RetractaBed
Injuries caused as a result of bed falls can be a common problem for those suffering from a disability or are elderly. For patients who are at a high risk of falls, a low profile bed can help to prevent bed-related falls, therefore helping to minimize the risk of injury.
The Med-Mizer CC CC803 RetractaBed is an extremely versatile low-profile hospital bed that has been designed for safety and comfort in mind. It can lower to just 9 inches off the floor, and it can be raised to as high as 25 inches. So no matter whether the patient is sleeping, or transferring, or whether they are receiving care from the caregiver, its height can be adjusted accordingly.
The hospital bed is fully-electric. The head and knee sections can be adjusted from the handset to suit the user’s particular needs. It also has an auto-contour feature that supports the patient and prevents them from sliding down the foot end of the bed. This feature helps to reduce the risk of skin tears and prevent bedsores. This is ideal for users who need to spend prolonged periods in bed.
Another great feature about this bed is the width is expandable. An optional bolt-on expansion kit is available that can increase the width of the bed, anywhere from 35″ up to 42″ to suit the user.
The bed also has a retractable bed frame, so that it can fit right against the wall, which helps to conserve floor space. When it is not in use, the bed can be collapsed easily to a compact size for easy storage. It can be transported vertically so that it can fit comfortably through doorways.
The RetractaBed is fully customizable. Optional 2-position side rails or pivoting assist rails can be added to the bed. There’s also a choice of four different styles of headboard and footboard including mahogany, cherry, English oak or light oak. While a mattress does not come included with this bed, there is a choice of foam and alternating air mattresses that are available in differing widths and lengths.
- Length: 80″
- Width: 35″ to 42″
- Height from floor: 9″ to 25″
- Product weight: 225 lbs
- Weight capacity: 500 lbs
- Frame type: Fully-electric
4. Envyy Sleep-to-Stand Electric Bed by Platinum Health
Trying to get into and out of bed can prove particularly challenging for patients with poor lower mobility. Often they may need to rely on a caregiver throughout the day to help them get into and out of bed. This can put immense strain on the caregiver, especially during the middle of the night, if the patient needs assistance with going to the bathroom.
The Envyy sleep-to-stand electric bed can help to make the life of the caregiver easier. It can also help the patient to regain their independence and freedom, as well as increase their safety. Not only does the Envyy bed have fully electric head and leg elevation, but it can also assist the patient with bed transfers. The bed can get the patient to their feet with minimal effort.
The Envyy bed is easy to operate. To get to a standing position while laying down, you simply need to press the lift chair up function on the handset. The bed will slowly raise the person to an almost standing position so that they can get to their feet more easily. This also helps to reduce any excessive strain on their joints. When they want to get back into the bed again, they simply need to select the recline function on the handset, and the bed will change from a sitting, then to a resting position, and finally to a horizontal position, in a matter of seconds.
Not only is the Envyy a useful bed transfer aid, but it is also an extremely comfortable bed. The head section can be raised so that the user can watch TV, read, or eat comfortably. The user’s legs can also be raised to improve blood circulation and relieve joint pain, as well as alleviate pressure from the user’s lower extremities.
Optional flip-up bed rails are available if the patient is particularly unsteady on their feet and requires extra support when getting into and out of bed. While it does not come with a mattress, it is compatible with a twin XL foam mattress (39″ wide, 80″ long) that is around 6.5″ in thickness.
- Length: 80″
- Width: 38″
- Height from floor: 25″
- Product weight: 150 lbs
- Weight capacity: 500 lbs
- Frame type: Fully-electric
5. Drive Medical 15300 Bariatric Fully-Electric Hospital Bed
With its wider surface area (42 inches) and larger weight capacity (600 lbs), the Drive Medical 15300 fully electric hospital bed is suitable for bariatric use.
This heavy-duty fully bed frame is constructed from steel, which makes it extremely durable, and this also helps to assure the patient’s safety. The bed is fully electric, allowing the patient or caregiver to control the positioning of the head, feet sections as well as height, using the hand control to maximize comfort. The motor on the bed is quiet, so it shouldn’t cause any disruption to other users within the household. In case of a power outage, a crank can be used to operate the bed manually.
To assist with the patient’s care, and help with bed transfers, the height of the bed can be adjusted from 18.25″ up to 26.25″. While it’s slightly larger than some of the other beds we have reviewed, it certainly won’t look out of place in the bedroom as the wooden veneer head and foot bed ends give it a stylish look and feel. The bed is extremely easy to set-up and requires no special tools to assemble it.
As an optional extra, you can opt for the upgrade package, which includes bed rails as well as a bariatric foam mattress that has pressure relief properties for added support and comfort.
- Length: 88″
- Width: 42″
- Height from floor: 18.25″ to 26.25″
- Product weight: 250 lbs
- Weight capacity: 600 lbs
- Frame type: Fully-electric
6. Hill-Rom CareAssist ES Medical Bed
For those looking for a bed for long-term patient care, the Hill-Rom CareAssist ES medical bed is recommended.
What stands out about this hospital bed is its versatility in terms of bed positioning. The head and foot sections can be adjusted independently, and the bed can be lowered or raised from 15 inches up to 32 inches. The bed can also be placed into the Trendelenburg and reverse Trendelenburg positions. The Trendelenburg position allows for the patient’s feet to be elevated above their head. This can assist with blood circulation, as well as providing pressure relief. The reverse Trendelenburg position is the opposite, and this can assist with respiratory conditions. The positioning of the bed can either be controlled using the hand pendant or via the easily accessible large controls that are located on both the outside and the inside of the bed.
To prevent the risk of shearing related skin injuries, the CareAssist ES bed features SlideGuard technology. This helps to prevent the patient’s from body sliding down during repositioning. The bed also has a dining chair feature that by simply pressing a button, it will sit the patient so they can comfortably eat a meal from their bed. There is another option that allows the patient to be placed into a fully seated position at a 90-degree angle, so they can read a book or watch TV.
With its 500 lbs, the bed should be suitable for most sized users. It can also be extended an additional 4 inches to 84 inches just by pressing a button.
There is a choice of optional extras, including scales that allow the patient to be weighed while they are in bed. There’s also a patient exit alarm that will automatically detect when the patient leaves their bed, and will emit an audible and visual alarm alerting the caregiver.
To assist with transfers and patient safety, the bed is fitted with a built-in head and front easy to grip side rails. Maneuvering and steering the bed is made all the easier, as it’s fitted with a fifth wheel. This helps to reduce caregiver strain. For night-time care, there is a floor nightlight floor. There is also a back-up battery, so that the bed is functional, even in the event of a power outage.
- Length: 80″ to 84″
- Width: 40″
- Height from floor: 15.75″ to 32.5″
- Product weight: 420 lbs
- Weight capacity: 500 lbs
- Frame type: Fully-electric
- Trendelenburg: Trendelenburg and reverse Trendelenburg
Frequently Asked Questions
For patients who have just come out of a stay in hospital or those who need additional support at home, a hospital bed can make a great addition to the home. Without these beds, it stands to reason that the patient may not be able to remain at home surrounded by their family.
Buying a hospital bed can be a complex task since there are many different types of beds as well as an array of options to customize the bed for the patient’s individual needs. This guide allows you to explore your options in detail before committing to making a purchase that will change your life for the better.