Trying to understand all of the different types of hospital beds can be confusing. First of all, sometimes the term hospital beds actually means the beds are very highly specialized medical equipment designed exclusively for use by hospitals, clinics, and other health care centers. On the other hand, the term hospital bed is perhaps more frequently used to describe the specialized adjustable-type beds designed for use at home. The main differences between both of these categories of hospital beds are mostly price and a few extra bells and whistles.
- All types of hospital beds have several things in common:
- The standard size for hospital beds is almost always standard twin extra long size.
- An extra length extension is usually available for most bed models.
- A hospital bed can be purchased either with or without the mattress included.
- Several types of specialty mattresses are available – from standard coil spring, to advanced foam technologies, to air filled adjustable mattresses – depending on the specific medical and comfort needs required.
- Bed rails sometimes come with the bed; other times, they’re an add-on extra feature.
It is important to understand that not every hospital bed is created equal, and some are clearly designed for more advanced medical needs than others. Below are the most common types.
Manually-Operated Hospital Beds
When a hospital bed is of the manual type, this basically means that its adjustability features are all controlled by a hand-operated crank, versus electric motors. Because of this, they are simpler in design and also a bit less expensive than electrically-operated hospital beds. As it can be burdensome to operate the hand cranks, this type of hospital bed is usually only preferred for its low price.
Semi-Electric Hospital Beds
The semi-electric type of hospital bed is one of the more common types of hospital beds chosen for home use. While the height of semi-electric hospital beds is adjusted by a crank, the head and foot of these beds are easily and automatically adjustable by electric motors. Preferable because they’re only minimally more expensive than beds of the manual variety, they are also the models of hospital bed that are usually covered by Medicare for at-home use when necessary.
Fully-Electric Hospital Beds
With a fully-electric hospital bed, all adjustability options are operated electrically. Because the height is electrically adjustable by the patient, it’s easier for some patients to get in and out of bed on their own. The all electric operation of the bed also makes the process easier for caretakers. Surprisingly, basic full-electric hospital beds are not that much more expensive than semi-electric hospital beds.
Home Care Adjustable Beds
While the types of beds listed above are commonly used for home care situations, there are other types of adjustable beds that are more specifically designed for in-the-home use. These home care adjustable beds are generally available in the standard bed sizes of full, queen, and king. Although they can be more expensive than the no-frills basic hospital beds, they’re often preferred for the extra features they offer, and for the fact that they are usually designed to look like a normal bed in the home.
Specialty & Professional Hospital Beds
Specialty and professional hospital beds are rarely used in the home. This type of hospital bed will usually contain a whole range of extra medical features designed for use by trained health care professionals. Also, these specialized beds are often priced in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Most of the time, a trusted health care professional will be able to recommend the exact type of hospital bed needed for in the home use, depending on the specific needs of the patient and any other relevant factors.