An injury or long-term illness that leaves you weak, bedridden, or with limited mobility may require physical therapy (PT) to return you to functional mobility. A physical therapist will assess your ability to move, range of motion, and pain levels to determine the type of PT treatment you’ll need. One location where this assessment will take place is in bed.
Bed mobility is determined by your ability to scoot up, down, or sideways, roll over, twist, reach, lift your hips, move from sitting to lying down, and lying down to sitting. Because all these tasks employ different muscle groups, a physical therapist can more easily pinpoint problem areas and determine what type of physical therapy exercises will prove most beneficial.
A home hospital bed makes this process easier for both you and the physical therapist.
Why Is Bed Mobility Important?
When someone has been bedridden for an extended period of time, muscles can atrophy, resulting in a loss of muscle strength. Additionally, painful pressure ulcers (bed sores) can form if a patient is struggling with bed mobility.
The ability to easily shift positions and avoid these conditions is detrimental to long-term healing, which is why bed mobility is so essential.
How Does a Hospital Bed Help With Physical Therapy?
Because hospital beds are designed for comfort, safety, and mobility, they are ideal for use while undergoing PT. What’s more, most offer safety features such as handrails to help keep patients safe and help with movement.
And because the height and position of a hospital bed can be easily adjusted, a physical therapist can elevate and position the bed to optimize comfort for the patient and themselves.
What Exercises Will a Physical Therapist Recommend for Bed Mobility?
A physical therapist will recommend a variety of exercises to strengthen muscles and improve a patient’s mobility. However, until you’ve become accustomed to these exercises and can perform them correctly, it’s essential only to do them under the supervision of your physical therapist.
Some of these exercises could include:
- Glute sets. These exercises work to strengthen hip muscles. They increase blood flow to your hips and legs and could prevent blood clots from forming. To perform these exercises, you must lie on your back with your knees bent at a 15-degree angle. Start by squeezing together the muscles of your buttock, holding for five seconds, and then releasing. Try to perform 10 reps three times each day.
- Leg raises. In the aftermath of knee surgery, your legs may feel weak. Leg raises will help strengthen muscles, improve range of motion and encourage blood flow to the area to decrease pain and swelling. Wearing a knee brace, lie flat and bend one knee and keep the other straight. Slowly lift your straightened leg up 12 inches, hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower your leg down. Repeat with the other leg for 10 to 15 reps.
- Bridges. These exercises improve hip mobility while strengthening the lower back. Lie on your back, arms at your sides, and squeeze your core and glutes while lifting your hips up and pressing your heels into the bed. Hold for 10 seconds, then lower your pelvis to the starting position and repeat.
- Ankle pumps. To avoid swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in your body’s tissues and prevent deep vein thrombosis, your physical therapist may recommend ankle pumps. Lying flat in the bed, extend your legs straight in front of you with your feet slightly apart. Begin with your toes pointed at the ceiling, then flex your foot downward as if you’re pumping the accelerator of a car. Hold the flex for a few seconds, then return to your starting position with toes pointed upward.
Like many other patients who undergo PT using a hospital bed instead of a standard bed, you are likely to experience a better level of comfort and improved mobility as you work toward healing and full recovery.