5 Tips on Buying an Adjustable Bed or Hospital Bed: Advice From a Physical Therapist

If you or a relative has difficulty getting in and out of a standard bed, buying a hospital or adjustable bed might be worth your while. As a licensed physical therapist and home health care specialist, I assess people with physical disabilities on a daily basis and can provide insight to you in your hospital or adjustable bed purchase. Below are the 3 important tips when selecting your adjustable or hospital bed.

1) Semi vs Fully Electric— Semi-electric hospital beds have an electric component that controls the head position and foot position via remote control however the bed height is controlled via a manual hand crank at the foot of the bed. Fully electric models control all aspects including bed height via remote control. Pricing is obviously variant in your choice. Most higher end adjustable beds are fully electric.

2) Mattress Support — Although you are gaining an advantage in ease of bed mobility with your purchase, one forgotten aspect is that the mattresses provided are usually poorly constructed and lack good support because they are designed to be flexible to assisting in transfers.

3) Size— Some of the higher end hospital and adjustable models are sizable and take up quite a bit of space. As a physical therapist, I would suggest measuring your area BEFORE getting the bed to make sure there’s plenty of room for moving around especially if the bed will be used in a temporary living room area.

4) Wheeled vs Standard— Is this bed permanent or temporary? Most hospital beds are wheeled for easier mobility while most adjustable beds are permanent and thus lack wheels.

5) Need bedrails?– Is your loved one in danger of rolling out of bed? If so, I would recommend a hospital bed with standard drop bedrails. If you decide to go with an adjustable bed, be sure that falling out of bed is not an issue for your loved one.

Best of luck in your purchase.