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Best Hospital Beds for the Home

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Best Hospital Beds for the Home

Hospital beds are available in many sizes and functions. Modern hospital beds are very adaptable to the changing needs of individual patients as well as from one patient to another. While sleeping, many patients require a flat, level surface to sleep. While awake, many patients require head elevation, or foot elevation and often elevation in the knee area for comfort or for therapy. Hospital beds are better suited to match the needs of recovering patients than standard beds. The key advantage of a hospital beds over a standard bed is the ability to adjust the height of the bed, the mattress head and the mattress foot. This article will explore the best options available for modern hospital beds and the criteria you may want to consider in Selecting the Best Hospital Bed for your needs.

What is the typical size of a hospital bed?

Hospital bed sizes begin at a width of 35 Inches and go up to 54 inches. The most typical width is 35 inches. The length range for most hospital beds is from 75 to 88 inches. The most typical hospital bed length is 80 inches. Wider and longer hospital beds provide a greater degree of comfort for the patient and are more accommodating to different size patients. Some hospital beds are adaptable with extension kits to make them larger. Drive Medical makes a hospital bed extension kit for its Full Electric Hospital Bed (15005) and Ultra Light Semi Electric Bed (15030). The Graham Field Hospital Bed Extension Kit adds more length to the Patriot Full Electric Hospital Bed. New innovations in the hospital bed market include beds that can expand their width and length to accommodate individual patients without adding extension kits to the bed. The Primus Expansion Bed is an example of this new innovation.

What are the types of hospital beds?

Hospital beds are essentially adjustable beds. How these adjustments are made and the types of adjustments that are possible, separate hospital beds into distinct types of adjustable beds. 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 its highest position, it is easier for caregivers to serve the patient. Elevation of the head and/or foot aids in therapy and with comfort for the patient, depending upon whether the patient is awake or sleeping. 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 hospital beds can be adjustable by a remote control device, allowing the patient to determine the best position. Many full electric beds can lock-out the patient controls to protect the patient from accidental repositioning that could harm them. In these cases, many of these hospital beds have the controls embedded in the footer panel or side rail, allowing the caregiver to adjust the bed position. The most popular full-electric beds are the Invacare 5410VC 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 hospital beds are very 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 adjustments are completed electrically. Formerly, semi-electric beds were much less expensive than full electric beds, but advances in technology have brought the prices of these two types of hospital beds closer together. The lowest cost semi-electric hospital bed is the Value Care Duo. 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 beds are a good 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 to make adjustments. Hand cranks positioned around the bed provide the mechanism to adjust the bed and mattress height. Manual beds offer the most economical hospital bed solution and can be purchased for less than $600. The Drive Medical Manual Hospital Bed is the lowest price manual bed. The Invacare 5307IVC is the best selling. The chart below displays key advantages and disadvantages for manual hospital beds.

Bed Type Advantages Disadvantages
Manual Hospital Bed
Manual Hospital Beds

lower cost

manual adjustments
burdensome adjustments
more physically demanding

Low Hospital Beds

Low hospital beds have frames that adjust to a minimal height just inches from the floor. The lowest position allows for easier ingress and egress from the bed for patients that may be weak or at risk of fall injuries. Low hospital beds 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 beds that can support more weight than other hospital beds. Many of these beds can support 1000 pounds or more. These beds are often wider, providing more room for the patient. The bed deck has a solid design without springs but is still able to adjust the mattress head and foot for the patient. Examples of Bariatric hospital beds include the PrimePlus 1000 and the Graham Field Bariatric Bed.

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 beds 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 hospital beds offer the most adjustability and function of all the hospital bed options. Hospital beds with Trendelenburg positioning require 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

highest cost
requires more room space

Who are the top hospital bed manufacturers?

There are a number of hospital bed manufacturers that sell their beds exclusively to hospitals and long-term care facilities. Many of these manufacturers also supply hospital beds for homecare use. The top hospital bed manufacturers offering homecare type beds are Invacare, Graham-Field, Drive Medical and Joerns. Invacare is the most well know manufacturer. Each of these manufacturers is well respected in the industry. These manufacturers supply replacement parts for their beds that can be special ordered to keep your hospital bed in good working order for many years to come. Some of these manufactures use interchangeable parts between their beds, ensuring 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 a 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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