Home Hospital Bed

Considering a Home Hospital Bed?

Have you considered using a home hospital bed? There are advantages and some disadvantages to using a hospital bed at home.

Advantages

A home hospital bed might be a good solution for any patient who has trouble getting into a standard bed or out of bed without slipping and sliding out. An adjustable hospital bed is meant to assist patients in sitting up, lying down and getting in and out.   A caregiver will find this assistance valuable too.

Hospital beds can be lowered or raised according to the patient’s height and reach. There are bedrails on both sides. Each bedrail can be lowered or raised, or removed as needed. The head of the bed can be raised to assist the patient in sitting up and in getting to the side of the bed to stand up. The head of the bed can be lowered when the patient is settled and ready to rest. The bed is on wheels so it can be positioned and moved around the room and around the house even.   Those wheels will also lock so the bed will not move.

Patients who have difficulty sitting up can have a trapeze bar hung above to help them lift and position themselves. There are also trapeze stands that can help the user transfer from the bed to a standing position.

Interested in Home Health Care?

A semi-electric hospital bed is helpful to the patient in positioning of the upper body and knees because it bends at the waist and knees. The bed height is easily adjusted with a manual crank. A pendant button control provides motorized positioning of the upper body and/or knees. Full-electric beds can make the same adjustments as semi-electric ones, but allow users to raise and lower the height of the bed with the push of a button. This is much easier to use for caregivers than a manual bed. A manual bed is adjusted by three hand-cranks at the foot of the bed.

Mattress Varieties

There are a variety of mattresses types available for hospital beds. Most are made of high density foam and have durable vinyl covers. They are antibacterial, anti-static, acid-resistant and waterproof for easy use and care. If the patient is incontinent, a hospital bed mattress is so much easier to keep clean than a regular mattress.  Bariatric mattresses that can be used by patients up to 500 pounds and come in extra wide sizes. Some mattresses for home-care use in a hospital bed are mattresses with springs inside, similar to the standard home mattresses. There are both foam and gel mattress overlays which cover the mattress and add to the comfort of the patient.

Disadvantages

A hospital bed looks like a hospital bed, and some people may not like adjusting to a hospital-look in their home. There are now varieties of colors available to make the bed look a little more like furniture.  It does take a lot of room to accommodate a hospital bed. Most hospital beds are the size of twin beds, but the patient and the caregiver need to be able to move around them also, so additional space is needed. The bariatric beds are longer and wider than others, generally 42 or 48 inches in width.

There must be access to a grounded electrical outlet for a semi-electric or full-electric bed. It is easiest to find one good spot for the bed and keep it there with the wheels kept locked. Finally, if you use a manual bed, then the caregiver must use hand cranks to make adjustments, and this could be difficult for caregivers who have knee or back problems or who lack strength.

Obtaining a Hospital Bed

Hospital beds for home use can be purchased or rented, or they can be obtained through Medicare. Medicare Part B will pay for one if the doctor prescribes one because it is “medically necessary.”  It must be supplied by a medical equipment provider who is officially approved by Medicare.  So, it’s also important to ask your suppliers if they participate in Medicare. If suppliers are participating suppliers, they must accept assignment. If suppliers are enrolled in Medicare but aren’t “participating,” they may choose not to accept assignment. If suppliers don’t accept assignment, there’s no limit on the amount they can charge the patient.

Making the Choice

Does your loved one need a hospital bed at home? If she is returning home after surgery or a long illness, then she may need one temporarily. If he is having difficulty with using a standard bed safely, when sleeping, positioning, or transferring to the bed, then using a hospital bed instead can provide a safer way to sleep. If the caregiver is having difficulty caring for a patient in a standard bed, the ability to raise and lower the bed, can be a back-saving advantage.

Consider your situation and the advantages a home hospital bed may provide to both of you.

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