Understanding Hospital Beds

Hospital and home care 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.

What is the difference? Manual, Semi-electric and electric hospital beds

Manual Bed: A manual bed can have 2 hand cranks. One is used to adjust the height of the bed and the other allows the caregiver to make adjustments to the head and foot sections. Some manual beds are designed with only 1 hand crank, which perform all adjustments. Typically 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 enables a care giver to make adjustments to the head and foot sections.

Electric Bed: These beds are fully electric and adjustments are made by using an electric controller. This offers an advantage for the caregiver as physical effort is unnecessary.

Electric Bariatric Hospital Bed

Bed Considerations:

Types and features vary in hospital bed choices. Review each bed carefully and make sure that it is a good fit for the user. Here are some Considerations:

  • Operating weight capacity
  • Type of Orthopedic support
  • Degree of control with adjustment
  • The importance of having a lightweight bed
  • The importance of bed height – Some beds can be adjusted to go lower and higher than others
  • The importance of quiet smooth operation
  • Need for reinforced parts in head and/or foot area – Offers greater support and bed strength

Bed Adjustments:

Even though an electric motor adds quite a bit of weight to a bed, electric controls are easy to use for either the patient or the caregiver. Adjustment to the head and foot sections help to reduce or change pressure points. Hospital beds can be raised or lowered to assist in patient care and to make it easier for the patient to get out of bed.

Reviewing Adjustable Hospital Beds:

Hospital beds tend to be the size of standard twin/single beds. This makes it easier for the care giver to reach both sides. The size and design is also useful for the patient, who can easily reach a side table or a call button. Unlike lifestyle adjustable beds, hospital bed frames usually sit on casters and can be easily moved about. Construction is sturdier compared to standard adjustable frames, but weight limits usually don’t exceed 450 pounds. For heavier users, purchasing a bed designed to handle and lift more weight is found in a bariatric bed. These beds tend to more expensive.

Accessories Available:

  • 1) Bed Safety Rails – A good way to keep the user in bed at night. Also can provide support getting in and out of bed
  • 2) Trapeze Floor Stand – Useful to help user change positions while in bed. Also can aid in transfer from bed to chair with minimum attendant assistance.
  • 3) Over Bed Table
  • 4) Hospital bed sheets

Industry Leading Hospital Bed Brands:

  • Invacare
  • Drive Medical
  • Guardian
  • Goldenrest
  • Wheelchairs of Kansas – Bariatric beds

Options- Buy New or Rent a Hospital Bed?

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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