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Medical Beds

5 Things You Should Know Before Buying Hospital Bed Equipment

Whether you’re a current hospital bed owner or are considering getting one, picking the right equipment is essential. As the medical needs of the person using it change over time, you may need to make additional purchases like upgrading your bed frame and mattress or buying accessories to help maintain their hygiene, mobility, safety, and comfort.

Before buying hospital bed equipment, it’s crucial to carefully consider the needs of the person who will be using it. What safety features do you need? Will your patient or loved one need side rails to help keep them in bed during the night or to hold onto while getting in and out of bed? Or is having side rails on the bed more likely to lead to them getting injured? Is it better to invest in a trapeze bar, an overhead bar that allows patients to lift themselves by pulling on it? Is it better to invest in a bed and mattress that can be remotely lowered to the ground or tilted? There’s a lot to consider.

Your Hospital Bed or Mattress May Not Be Compatible With Certain Types of Equipment

Some mattresses, even hospital bed mattresses, may not function as intended with certain hospital beds. If you buy a specific hospital bed frame that is designed to shift or bend in a particular way, you must pair it with a hospital bed mattress intended to accommodate these functions. For example, suppose you have a hospital bed designed to do specific tilts involving the mattress bending in its center. In that case, conventional mattresses might not be suitable, as they could damage the mattress or harm the user.

If you are a person with excess weight, you may need a specialized bariatric bed if your weight lying down exceeds 250 pounds. Even if you have a high-quality bariatric mattress, you may also need a bariatric hospital bed frame, or your bed will not be able to support you comfortably and safely.

In addition to mattresses, some hospital bed accessories may not be compatible with every hospital bed, depending on the physical dimensions and features of the bed. Some hospital bed grip rails may be designed so that they won’t fit on some hospital beds. If you decide to get a mobility aid like a trapeze, you should make sure that your bed is designed to allow you to install such overhead fixtures safely.

When you’re shopping for hospital bed equipment, it’s essential to make sure it works as intended. Be sure to do your research before you make a purchase.

Hospital Bed Mattresses Have Features That May Remove the Need for Accessories

Before you spend the money on expensive hospital bed accessories, consider that you may be able to buy a hospital bed mattress that includes specific features. If you are in the market for a hospital bed, shopping for mattresses that have specific features may save you from having to spend more money on accessories as your medical needs change over time.

Hospital bed mattresses often have built-in features that make some hospital accessories unnecessary. A hospital bed mattress that comes with progressive laminated foams removes the need for certain mattress covers. Buying a mattress that includes low air loss or alternating pressure features eliminates the need for a mattress topper that includes these features. If you need help getting in and out of bed, it may be better to invest in a hospital bed that can lower to the ground using a remote control than a regular mattress and a proprietary step stool. It might be safer, too.

Suppose you have fine motor issues or are otherwise unable to use your hands to operate a remote. In that case, some hospital beds are compatible with voice-activated Environmental Control Units (ECUs) like Google Home and Amazon Echo. If you are concerned that having a hospital bed at home won’t mesh with your home decor, many home hospital beds are designed so that the wheels, supports, and other machinery are concealed, so there is no need to buy decorative hospital bed accessories to make your hospital bed look more like a conventional bed.

Make Sure You Have Room For Hospital Bed Equipment

Hospital beds, like regular beds, take up a lot of space. Unlike traditional beds, they may require extra space, particularly if you plan on getting a bed that can raise, lower, or tilt itself. If you plan on getting additional equipment, you need to plan to have space for that as well. 

Using a hospital bed in a room that is too cramped can lead to mobility issues or even serious injuries. Whatever equipment you buy, make sure it doesn’t obstruct any exits to the room, create tripping hazards, make it difficult to get in and out of bed, or make it difficult to administer medical treatment to the person who is using it. 

It’s also a good idea to try to anticipate not only your current needs, or the needs of your patient or loved one, but your future needs as well. Suppose you or the person you care for has mobility issues or a medical condition that may result in mobility issues. In that case, it’s probably a good idea to invest in a bed that includes grip rails or overhead trapeze bars, or at least one compatible with them. If you don’t need equipment like this right now, it’s good to at least verify that the equipment you want to buy will fit in the space you intend to keep it in before purchasing. For example, an overhead trapeze bar may require more vertical space and support than you currently have in your bedroom. Be sure to measure the dimensions of the room in which your hospital bed will be kept. It may also be helpful to draw a diagram to scale to figure out where and how to install new equipment.

Before buying hospital bed equipment, talk to your doctor about your current medical state. They may have suggestions for what type of equipment may be helpful to you or the person you care for. Your vendor may also be able to help you decide what equipment may be beneficial to you.

Some Hospital Bed Accessories Can Make It Easier to Clean and Maintain a Hospital Bed Mattress

Cleaning and maintenance are part of owning any bed, but it is especially important for owners of home hospital beds. They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A similar principle is true for keeping your hospital bed clean; it’s easier to prevent problems with a hospital bed through regular cleaning and maintenance. Some accessories can make the process easier. 

Mattress toppers and covers make it easy to clean the mattress. The more time we spend in bed, the more organic matter that our bodies naturally shed over time ends up in our mattresses and sheets, promoting the growth of bacteria and mold. Mattress toppers, pads, and covers can prevent this by absorbing these materials before they can seep into your hospital bed mattress, and they’re designed to be easily removed for cleaning. Table trays make it easier to have meals in bed while keeping crumbs and other food particles from dirtying your bedsheets.

Some hospital bed equipment can make it easier to clean and bathe people who are bedridden without dirtying or soaking their mattresses. Patient lifting systems like gait belts, which is a belt placed around a patient’s waist so caregivers can use it to pull up or balance a patient, can make it easier to lift a bedridden patient out of bed so their sheets can be changed or to clean their mattresses. Overhead trapeze bars can also be helpful, provided the patient has the physical ability to pull themselves up.

Installing Hospital Bed Equipment Is Physically Demanding

Installing a hospital bed in your home is supposed to make things easier for the people who use them, their caretakers, and their families. That said, the process of installing new hospital bed equipment can be an involved, physically taxing process that may be more difficult than you might think.

If you decide to install hospital bed equipment yourself, be sure to ask your vendor plenty of questions to make sure you have what you need before it arrives at your home, the home of your loved one, or at your care facility.

Keep in mind that the work doesn’t end with installation. Hospital bed equipment and accessories all require regular maintenance to ensure they function as safely and efficiently as they should. 

Consider hiring professional help. Talk to your vendor about what, if any, services they offer. It may cost more to hire professionals to install a new feature on a hospital bed, but it may save you time, stress, and even prevent physical injuries.

If you have questions and want to reach out to the mattress experts at TransferMaster, please contact us.

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About Transfer Master

Transfer Master has built electric adjustable hospital beds for the home and medical facility since 1993. We started with a simple goal that hospital beds should allow wheelchair users to transfer independently in and out of bed. Twenty-five years later, our customers are still at the center of everything we do. You’ll feel the difference.