They say that getting a good mattress is one of the best investments you can make. You spend over a third of your life sleeping, so naturally, improving the quality of your bed improves the quality of your life.
Seniors, especially seniors with disabilities, should consider getting a bed that suits their long-term needs, especially if they plan to age in place or spend their golden years in the comfort of their homes. According to the AARP, 76% of Americans over 50 want to age in place, and 77% say they want to live in their current community as long as possible.
If you’re one of those people, buying a hospital bed for your home can be an extremely effective way to improve your mobility and independence. If you’re a caregiver or the family member of a senior with long-term health or mobility issues, it can be a fantastic way to significantly improve the comfort and safety of your patient or loved one.
Hospital Beds Can Improve Comfort
Having a comfortable bed directly impacts the quality of your sleep. According to Sara Elizabeth Benjamin, M.D., a neurologist and sleep medicine specialist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Sleep, everyone has different physical needs that factor into what makes a bed comfortable for them.
As you grow older, your physical needs change. Manufacturers design hospital beds to be not only comfortable but modular; elevation near the head, feet, and back is usually adjustable, so they can relieve pressure on the body while supporting it with ease. Some are even specially designed to be comfortable for people with painful long-term conditions, such as paralysis, chronic pulmonary disease, and respiratory issues, as well as serious injuries. Also, not all home hospital-style beds are necessarily designed to look like hospital beds; some are designed to look like regular beds, so there’s no need to feel self-conscious.
Not only is the bed itself comfortable to sleep and lie in, but it’s also easier for caregivers to give essential medical care, which makes potentially uncomfortable procedures a lot more painless for both the patient and the caregiver.
Hospital Beds Can Improve Mobility
As we get older, getting in and out of bed becomes more of a challenge without assistance, especially for those who want to age in place. This process is called “deconditioning,” and it’s a normal, if unpleasant, process that happens to everyone. If you have mobility or health issues that make it hard to fall or stay asleep, hospital beds can help a lot.
Hospital beds often come with features like adjustable height and assist rails, making it easier to get in and out of bed independently. This is a crucial feature for many hospital beds, and most can be adjusted via remote by the user without the need for a caregiver or family member.
Because they’re designed to be sturdy, they can even help seniors be more mobile in less obvious ways: for example, through exercise. Handrails and similar features on a hospital bed can be used to keep balance while stretching or exercising. For those whose physical condition allows them to do so, exercising can help improve mobility by increasing blood flow, maintaining flexibility, and decreasing the likelihood of injury related to falls and other hazards commonly found in the home.
When paired with mobility aids like wheelchairs, hospital beds can enable some seniors to move more easily from their beds to other rooms of their homes without assistance, even if they have medical conditions or disabilities that would usually keep them from doing so.
Increased Independence WIth a Hospital Bed
Aging in place isn’t ideal or even medically advisable for some people. That said, those who do often remain happier and healthier for longer.
For many older adults, staying in their home as opposed to a retirement community is preferable because it makes them feel more comfortable to be in familiar surroundings. It also gives them a sense of security and control over their lives, which is highly beneficial for maintaining their mental health. Hospital beds for the home enable seniors to remain in their homes by empowering them to stay mobile and accessible for various medical treatments, allowing them to retain their independence.
Being able to get in and out of bed without assistance means more autonomy. It also means, potentially, more privacy; if you don’t need assistance getting in and out of bed, there’s less need for a caregiver to work late hours at your home.
Hospital beds usually come with a remote control that allows users to independently adjust the bed to improve their comfort level. Most home hospital beds also come with wheels that can be moved easily. This makes it easier to perform certain medical procedures at home, reducing the need for residency in a hospital or retirement community.
Hospital Beds Decrease Fall Risks
Having a hospital bed at home doesn’t just mean more independence and comfort. Home hospital beds provide added safety in addition to comfort, and there are a lot of different types to choose from depending on what kind of features you need.
According to the World Health Organization, falls are the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide, and adults over the age of 60 tend to be the most vulnerable to injuries related to falls. In addition to this, according to a physician at Weill Cornell Medical College, most falls happen in the home. Improving the safety of a senior’s bed can go a long way in preventing these unfortunate yet preventable injuries.
The adjustable height features found in most hospital-type beds are designed for safety, comfort, and mobility. Many of these beds include handrails that can be used to hold on to while getting in and out of bed. They can also keep their users from rolling out of bed in the middle of the night.
Hospital beds for home settings also tend to come with wheels designed to make it easy to move the bed, and anyone laying on it, to different parts of the room–or even to other rooms–with ease. The wheels on these beds often include safety features such as locking casters, which let the owners of the bed or their caregivers lock them into place, which prevents the bed from rolling around due to movement by the user or uneven ground.
Hospital Beds Can Be Covered By Insurance In Certain Circumstances
When it comes to elderly family members and loved ones, or loved ones with limiting medical conditions, it’s natural to want them to have the best. Unfortunately, shopping for the best in home hospital beds can be expensive. Thankfully, there are plenty of options to help you find a hospital bed that fits your needs and budget.
Your insurance may cover a significant portion of the costs. Many types of Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance reimburse hospital bed purchases, though not every hospital bed manufacturer works with state Medicare or Medicaid programs. Additional options may be available for veterans through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.
Don’t let the red tape discourage you if you are seriously considering getting a hospital bed for home care. Many insurance carriers cover hospital bed purchases if your doctor agrees that a hospital bed for home is medically necessary. Typically, this requires a diagnosis from a medical professional.
Some diagnoses that typically qualify someone for hospital bed coverage include arthritis, severe leg or foot injuries, injuries to the spine, brain injuries or injuries to the nervous system, paralysis, and heart conditions that make it difficult to get out of bed.
Remember that the length of time the hospital bed will be needed is a factor that can help determine whether your insurance carrier will cover the purchase of a home hospital bed. When coverage is denied, it is usually because the underlying condition causing the need for one is not considered by the insurance company to be a “long-term” condition.
Greater Independence and Quality of Life With an At-Home Hospital Bed
Although taking up residency in a retirement community or similar care center is medically necessary for many, it’s not ideal for some. Giving seniors and people with disabilities a hospital bed for their home allows them to hold on to their independence and stay in a place that has personal meaning to them, at least for a little while longer.
Having an at-home hospital bed can be a game-changer when it comes to quality of life for a senior or person with a long-term medical condition. In addition to greater comfort during sleep and ease when receiving in home medical treatment, those who have a hospital bed at home enjoy greater mobility and independence. They’re also a lot safer due to features like adjustable height and handrails, to the great relief of their families and caregivers. Having a hospital bed at home allows those with health and mobility issues to live in their own homes while receiving the critical treatment they need without having to take up residence in a hospital or retirement community.
If you would like to learn more about the hospital beds offered by Transfer Master, click here.