5 Important Things to Know when Buying a Hospital Bed for Home Use
Here’s my story. I bought my mother a hospital bed for home use when she had a stroke and was bedridden for five years.
How important is a hospital bed?
Extremely important especially if you have a loved one who does not want to move much after a stroke. My mum had a mild stroke and refused to be rehabilitated. With dementia she was not able to understand the importance of exercise and moving her limbs.
So, one day as she got up at night to go to the toilet, she fell and hit her head. After getting her to the hospital and settling her in, my first duty was to go and get the hospital bed so that I know she will be comfortable and most importantly safe.
I wanted a hospital bed as it had all the functions for a person who is bed ridden and I knew that my mum would be spending the most amount of time in bed and that was going to be her little ‘home’ where she will be functioning the most.
In hindsight that was the right and most important decision I made as she lived in that bedridden state for 5 years before she passed away. Thereafter, our hospital bed was used by 2 other persons who had since passed on and currently being used by a 95-year-old lady for the past 3 years.
What are the criteria needed when buying a hospital bed for home use?
Hospital beds nowadays come in many styles, shapes, sizes, features, and functionality options. So, choosing the right hospital bed is important as it is not only overwhelming but an expensive decision to make.
There are many hospital bed suppliers in Malaysia where a good choice can be made but before making this investment, here are some considerations to take note of:
1. The Requirements of The Patient
Most of the beds have a standard set of features but there are also many additional customizable options you can add based on the person's care needs. Questions to ask are:
- Why and type of bed needed? What type of ailment does the patient have? Is the patient bed ridden, or has had an illness or accident?
- How long will the person use the bed daily as this will have a big impact on the hospital bed style. In general, if a person is required to spend most of the day in bed, a fully electric bed may be best and provide the best support.
- How long do you need the bed for? If it is for a short term, then considering renting one is a better choice.
- What is the mobility level of the patient? Can the bed user get in and out of the bed? Do they require assistance and how much assistance is needed?
2. The Mobility of The Patient
Your choice of a hospital bed for home use will also rely on the mobility level of the user. First, consider whether the user can get in and out of bed and the amount of help that is required. Next, determine whether the bed has the necessary features to support the user’s mobility.
For instance, a user who can transfer themselves or sit up will require a more standard hospital bed. In contrast, an immobile patient will require a more loaded alternative. With the right bed, it can also make it easier for you or your caregiver to give assistance and help to move around.
Consult with your loved one before investing in the purchase as their needs and comfort is a priority in the long run. When making the choice consider the height and the size of the bed as they are important factors for safety and comfort.
3. The Physical Stamina of The Caregiver
Caregivers are an important component in caring for your loved ones – whether they are family members or hired help. Choosing a hospital bed with specific features that the caregiver could use too can make it easier for them to provide care?
For example, the variety of positions the bed can be raised, the ability to be able to help your loved one to transition in and out of bed, the strength of the caregiver to use a manually adjusting bed, or is an electric bed a better option?
For example, a highly adjustable bed, either electric or semi-electric, is best for users who are unsteady on their feet and are at risk of falling while transferring in and out of bed, who can’t reposition themselves without assistance, and can’t get in and out of bed safely without the height being adjusted. These are very important to take note before the decision is made.
4. The Sizing and Spacing of The Hospital Bed
Very often the size of the hospital bed can be overlooked as these beds in general take up more space than most traditional beds. The rule of thumb is to always choose a bed base that is longer than the patient’s height to fit the patient comfortably.
A specifically designed bariatric bed, which is wider than a standard bed, is more comfortable for heavier users. For patients with special requirements, the beds can be custom made to accommodate their needs.
When buying a hospital bed for home use, you also need to factor in the size of the bedroom. Questions asked will be - How much space do you have to work with? Where is the best to position the bed and will you need to remove any furniture to get the bed in that best position?
A common standard-height bed and low hospital beds are similar. The only difference is the possibility of lowering the bed nearly to the floor. A lowered hospital bed can go as low as 20 centimeters from the floor, and they are the best option for persons prone to falling. It is also vital to consider other medical equipment that may need to be in the room.
A mattress has one of the biggest impacts on a patient’s overall health and comfort level. When choosing a home hospital bed mattress, get one that is best suited for the person in need. If your loved one is bed-bound for 12+ hours in a day, getting a higher quality mattress could offer better comfort and prevent bedsores, ulcers, and other ailments common with prolonged lying.
There are many mattress types to consider – gel, memory foam and other specialty options based on the health condition and support needs of your loved ones. For incontinent patients, a waterproof and stain-resistant hospital mattress is useful.
For a patient with a long-term illness requiring long-term use, a durable mattress is an important criterion. For patients who are at risk of falling out of bed, it is possible to buy a hospital bed mattress that has perimeter guards to protect the patient from rolling off the mattress.
Top Notch quality is a priority
Quality, Quality and Quality must be the all-important factor when buying a hospital bed. When you are considering buying a hospital bed for home use which will be a 'one-off' investment, look at the quality of the bed before you look at the price. You want a bed that lasts for many years.
The quality of bed you choose can have a direct impact on the patient’s level of comfort. You cannot go wrong with a hospital bed that has a minimum 3 year warranty and make sure that spare parts and labour costs are part of the warranty. Paying a low price for a bad quality bed will cost more in the future.
All in All
One must remember that sleep is an essential function and the patient’s sleep space should cater to the maximum amount of rest that helps the body ward off disease. So, when making the choice, choose the options in a home hospital bed that best meets your loved ones needs for comfort and care, to ensure the best possible, and most healing and restorative sleep they can get.
For more information about home hospital beds, feel free to get in touch with us.
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