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Is It Time for Mom to Get a Hospital Bed?



"When is it time to switch from a regular queen size bed to a hospital bed? There is much discussion in our family at the moment about whether or not we switch mom out to a different bed.

What is happening is that mom is having trouble getting herself in and out of bed. It requires the caregiver to push her legs up and into the bed. Since the bed is wide, it is not easy to pull her from the other side, so she winds up sideways most of the time. Mom is not a big person. I would say that she is average size. It is just not that easy to move her about in the bed.

Do we make a switch or leave things as they are for now?"



You have made a strong case for a bed that will give your mother’s caregivers leverage to help her get into the bed and position her once she is in the bed.

In a wide bed designed for two people you cannot safely reach from across the bed to pull a body into a sleeping position with the head and legs in alignment with the bed. It is difficult to do even if you climb on the bed. It is also physically hard for an adult of average strength to ergonomically move a body similar in size to their own by reaching across a large bed.

A bed designed for one is the best for one person to occupy if that person needs assistance. What we call “hospital beds” have numerous features that make it safer for the patient and the staff members caring for patients. These beds can be raised to provide care to waist height and lowered to make it easy for the patient to get in and out. The head can be raised to help the patient sit up which can help them get in or out.

One of the very helpful features of a hospital bed is half side rails that a person can grab onto to roll themselves over. Railings are optional, though the half rail option can be very helpful to the patient without feeling restrictive, as though you are locked in.

Anyone that has cared for patients will tell you that a valuable e tool when using a hospital bed is the draw sheet. It is basically a thick sheet that covers just the center of the bed from side to side and is tucked in on either side. It can be used to help roll a patient over. It can be changed without ripping apart the entire bed if soiled. If lined with a water proof pad it can mean far fewer linen changes.

You have made a very short but strong case for a more practical bed at this point. It will change the look of her bedroom and that is what most of us struggle with when it comes time to make a decision. Hospital beds, like cars, come with a wide range of options, all for a price. Do a little online searching, though do realize that your insurance is likely to cover a more basic model. Most essential durable medical equipment is covered by Medicare Part B with a doctor’s order.

I wish you well on this journey. Getting the right bed will be more comfortable and safer for everyone involved.