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Best Hospital Beds for Home Use

By December 23, 2015 2625 Views

Best Hospital Beds for Home Care

Hospital beds are available for use in the home. They are available in many sizes and may have special functions. Contemporary hospital beds are adaptable to the changing needs of patients. When sleeping, many patients require a flat, level surface to sleep. When awake, many patients prefer head, foot, or knee elevation for comfort or therapy. Hospital beds are better suited to match the needs of recovering patients than standard home beds. The key advantages of hospital beds over standard home beds are their ability to not only adjust in height but also adjust the head and the foot of the bed. This article will explore the best available options, for modern hospital beds, and the criteria you may want to consider in Selecting the Best Hospital Bed for home use.

What is the typical size of a hospital bed?

Hospital bed sizes may have a width of 35 to 54 inches. The most common width is 35 inches. The length for most hospital beds is 75 to 88 inches. Those that are longer and wider provide an increased degree of comfort and are more accommodating for larger patients. Some are adaptable with extension kits to make them larger. Drive Medical makes a extension kit for its Full Electric (15005) and Ultra Light Semi Electric Bed (15030). The Graham Field Hospital Bed Extension Kit increases the length to the Patriot Full Electric Hospital Bed. Innovations in the hospital bed market include models that expand to accommodate individual patients without extension kits or other additions to the bed. The Primus Expansion Bed is an example of this innovation.

What are the types of hospital beds?

Hospital beds are adjustable. They differ on the types of adjustments that are possible and how to accomplish those adjustments. Bed height adjustments allow for better patient egress and ingress as well as easier caregiver access. A hospital bed frame in the low position is easier to get in or out of bed. In a high setting, it is easier for caregivers to serve the patient. Elevation of the head allows the patient more comfort when reading, eating, or watching TV. Elevating the leg and foot of the bed helps with therapy and improves patient ease. There are six major types of hospital beds currently in production - the full-electric, semi-electric, manual, low bed, bariatric, and Trendelenburg.

Full-electric Hospital Beds

A full-electric bed allows electrical adjustment of the height of the bed frame, the height of the header, and the height of the footer. Most full electric models can be adjusted by a remote-control device, which allows the patient to determine the best position. Many full electric beds for home use can lock-out the patient controls to protect the patient from accidental repositioning that could harm them. Many models have controls embedded in the footer panel or side rail to allow the caregiver to adjust the bed position. The most popular full-electric beds are the Invacare 5410IVC and the Graham-Field Patriot Homecare Bed.

Bed Type Advantages Disadvantages
Drive Medical Ultra Light Plus Full-electric Hospital Bed
Full-Electric Hospital Beds

fully electric
easy adjustments
less physically demanding

slightly higher costs

Semi-electric Hospital Beds

Semi-electric units are similar to full electric beds, except that the height of the semi-electrical bed frame is adjustable manually by a hand crank. The header and footer adjust electrically. Formerly, semi-electric beds were much less expensive than full electric beds, but advances in technology have brought the price of these two types of hospital beds closer together. The lowest costing semi-electric hospital bed is the Medline Bed. The Invacare 5310IVC Hospital Bed is one of the best selling semi-electric beds. For patients that do not adjust the bed height often, semi-electric units are the best choice.

Bed Type Advantages Disadvantages
Semi-electric Hospital Bed
Semi-Electric Hospital Beds

easy head and foot adjustments

slightly higher costs
more physically demanding

Manual Hospital Beds

Manual beds do not use electrical power. Hand cranks positioned at the foot of the bed provide for adjustments. These beds offer the most economical solution starting at prices of less than $600. The chart below displays the advantages and disadvantages of manual hospital beds.

Bed Type Advantages Disadvantages
Manual Hospital Bed
Manual Hospital Beds

lower cost

burdensome, manual adjustments
no hand control adjusting
more physically demanding

Low Hospital Beds

Low hospital beds have frames that adjust to a minimal height inch from the floor. The lowest position allows for easier ingress and egress for patients that may be weak or at risk of fall injuries. They also provide more safety for patients who are at risk of falling out of bed while sleeping or while transitioning in or out of bed. The Invacare Low Hospital Bed is the best selling low bed and comes with a minimum 9.5-inch bed deck height from the floor.

Bed Type Advantages Disadvantages
Invacare 5410LOW Low Hospital Bed
Low Hospital Beds

increased patient safety
low profile
minimizes fall risks
fully electric
easy adjustments
less physically demanding
caregiver friendly

higher costs

Bariatric Hospital Beds

Bariatric hospital beds are heavy-duty and can support more weight. Many of these beds can support 700 pounds or more. These wider units provide more room for the patient. The bed deck has a solid-deck design without springs but is still able to adjust the mattress head and foot for the patient. Examples of Bariatric models include the PrimePlus 1000 and the Graham Field Bariatric Bed with Trendelenburg Positioning.

Bed Type Advantages Disadvantages
Invacare 750 Bariatric Hospital Beds
Bariatric Hospital Beds

fully electric
easy adjustments
heavy duty
most durable
increased width
less physically demanding

higher costs

Trendelenburg Hospital Beds

Trendelenburg Hospital Beds provide for many clinical positions useful for recovery therapies. These units allow for a multitude of positioning options and eliminates the need for most pillows and bed wedges. Trendelenburg positioning can provide a recliner chair type functionality required by many aging patients. These types offer the most adjustability and function of all the hospital bed options. Hospital beds with Trendelenburg positioning need additional room space to avoid contact with walls and furniture. Examples of Trendelenburg hospital beds include the Joerns UltraCare XT and the Primus PrimeCare Ultimate.

Bed Type Advantages Disadvantages
Joerns UltraCare XT Trendelenburg Hospital Bed
Trendelenburg Hospital Beds

fully electric
most adjustments
most utility
less physically demanding

higher cost
requires more room space

Who are the top hospital bed manufacturers?

Several manufacturers that sell their beds exclusively to hospitals and long-term care facilities. Many of these manufacturers also supply hospital beds for home care use. The top hospital bed manufacturers offering homecare beds are Invacare, Graham-Field, Drive Medical and Joerns. Invacare is the most well-known manufacturer. Each of these respected manufacturers supplies replacement parts that can be special ordered to keep the hospital bed in good working order for many years. Some of these manufacturers use interchangeable parts for their beds. These parts ensure that the part you need will be on-hand when you are ready to order.


There are many hospital bed options to meet your specific needs. Balancing the advantages and disadvantages of each type of hospital bed and exploring the different options will help you identify the best hospital bed for your personal needs. If you have questions about the right options for you, give the staff at Vitality Medical a call at 800-397-5899.

Hospital Bed Studies

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Burt Cancaster, Author

Vitality Medical
7910 South 3500 East, Suite C
Salt Lake City, UT 84121
(801) 733-4449
[email protected]

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