Hospital Beds for the Home – A Short Guide
In some circumstances it becomes a necessity to have a hospital bed for the home. If you are buying one for yourself or a loved one, the amount of options available can make the purchase seem rather daunting.
We’ve tried to take the confusion out of things here, with an in depth buyer’s guide, plus reviews of 5 carefully selected hospital beds.
However, if you remain in the research stages (or even trying to put off the inevitable – it can be hard to imagine your once cozy bedroom being rearranged to accommodate a large and seemingly uninviting hospital bed) this article is here to put your mind at ease a little.
Buying a hospital bed for the home
When it comes time to purchase a hospital bed suitable for yourself or loved one, it is first wise to accept the simple fact that it will make life easier.
Although the bed may look more cumbersome, the comfort levels and adaptability as well as increased functionality will aid the user considerably.
Once you are comfortable the reality of the situation, it is time to consider what type of home hospital bed you wish to buy.
Manual, electric or hybrid hospital bed?
The 3 main types of hospital bed to choose from are manual, semi-electric and fully electric.
The difference between each of course is how the bed is powered. Your choice will mostly come down to budget and the level of aid that the user requires.
Let’s take a closer look.
Manual Hospital Beds
With a manual bed, the positions that the bed can be moved into require muscle power. A crank is used so that both the patient and caregiver can alter the position as required.
If regular position changes are not required, the manual option may be preferred because of the significantly lower cost.
However, the range of positions and overall functionality of a manual bed very rarely matches that of an electric bed.
Semi Electric Hospital Beds
A semi electric bed replaces the manual muscle power with that of an electric motor.
When adjustments are needed for the feet and head the patient or caregiver can do so with just the touch of a button.
However, on a semi-electric hospital bed, to change the height of the bed often requires manual operation.
In essentially, if the patient requires a bed where the height remains consistent, but head and feet require regular adjustment, the semi-electric option is the way to go.
The downside is that they are more expensive than full manual beds, while being more affordable that the full electric.
Full Electric Hospital Beds
All the available positions on an electric bed can be changed at the push of a button. This includes head, feet and overall bed height configurations.
The height change functionality is especially important if the patient needs a lower bed to get in and out of, while the care giver requires a reasonable level of height so that they can reach the patient properly.
Very often, if the budget is available a full electric bed is the best option to buy.
Other home hospital bed options
There are some other issues to consider when buying a hospital bed for home use.
Let’s take a look at them now.
The hi-low hospital bed for the home
We mentioned the varying height options of both manual and electric beds. Well you can buy certain beds that are designed to lower as close to the ground as the mechanics will allow.
If the patient is at a high risk of falling out of their bed, a hi-low bed will offer that level of security.
A well built hi-low bed will be able to reach as low as 7 inches off the ground. A far safer height to fall from if the patient is prone to such accidents.
Additional items such as full length bed rails and soft floor mats (with caregiver electronic alarm alert functionality) are a great option in these circumstances too.
Bariatric hospital beds for home use
Another type of bed available is the bariatric hospital bed. These are designed to be heavy duty and have the strength capacity to bed a patient from 350 to 1000 pounds.
This type of bed will be wider, more durable and will have sufficient strength in the motor and mechanics to alter the position of an larger patient.
They are generally much more expensive than standard sized beds, however where the bariatric bed is needed, the patient will have little choice but to use one.
Home Hospital Bed Mattresses
Which mattress you opt to buy is also an important part of the decision making process.
The most common hospital bed mattress is the innerspring mattress. There is very little difference between this and a regular bed mattress and will accommodate a patient very comfortable as long as they are not bed bound.
If you are in bed for longer periods of time, you may want to consider buying a foam prevention mattress. These are more comfortable for bed bound patients.
To help prevent bed sores or an ulcer, an alternating pressure relief mattress is the way to go. These are designed so that air cells are alternatively inflated and deflated within the mattress, aiding hygiene as well as offering comfort to the patient’s skin.
That about wraps it up for now. Just a few considerations you might have when purchasing a hospital bed for home use. (For more on the subject, head to our review round up here).
As daunting as the reality of home care may be, hopefully you are now more confident in making that important step towards greater comfort for you or your loved one.