Many patients with lingering illnesses or the ones recovering from an accident with the prognosis of long-term recovery may consider having a hospital bed in the home to improve their comfort. Depending on the patient’s needs, there are essentially three types of hospital bed mattresses to choose from, each having specific functions.
The standard rented bed typically comes with a hospital bed mattress made with inner coil springs. This type of mattress is the most economical and usually the type approved by Medicare. However, there are some conditions that warrant different hospital bed mattresses, such as obesity, or pressure relieving mattresses for wound care or air mattresses offering alternating pressure to aid in recovery.
Of the three basic types, foam mattresses provide comfort similar to the inner spring type and are not that much more expensive. Therapy foam mattresses or multiple layer foam mattresses provide greater comfort, especially for patients with a long-term recovery outlook. Regardless of the type of mattress being used, mattress covers are recommended to protect the mattress.
Hospital Bed: Keeping the Patients Safe
When using a hospital bed, care must be taken to prevent injury. Between 1995 and 2010 there were reports of over 800 accidents, almost 500 resulted in death from being caught in the bed, trapped or otherwise entangled in a hospital bed. Guidelines have been issued by the Food and Drug Administration based on studies by the Hospital Safety Work Group, determining how patients can be kept safe.
Some patients have been tangled up in bedding and get caught between mattress and the side rails, as well as getting entangled in mattress covers that may not have been designed for the specific bed. Additionally, other covers on the mattress may slip off if used with the wrong type of covers making the patient uncomfortable.
Medicare will also pay for hospital mattresses and beds provided that the patients meet the established criteria. They must be a Medicare B participant and have a certificate of medical necessity signed by their doctor. The need can be established if the patient needs to sleep in positions not possible in a regular bad or has medical issues requiring them to sleep with their head up at as mush as a 30-degree angle or has a need for traction equipment that is unable to be attached to a regular bed.
In any event, hospital bed mattresses will generally be provided whether they are rented or purchased, and should be used with covers to protect the investment. In most instances a bed paid for by Medicare will also include standard maintenance to keep it functioning properly, but rarely will this pay for a hospital bed mattress or for the mattress covers.
There are many different types of hospital beds as well as mattresses that it is likely anyone can find the one that fits their comfort and budget. Insuring the use of mattress covers, and changing them each time it is needed, will extend the life of the mattress and the bed, as well as make the patient more comfortable.
Hospital Bed Resources:
Transfer Master is a manufacturer of hospital beds designed for the home.
Electro Ease is a business that sells at least 50 different brands of electric assist products, including hospital beds.
The FDA has this comprehensive page about hospital bed safety.