Hospital beds are durable medical equipment and are often fully or partially covered by health insurance and/or Medicare when prescribed for a qualifying condition. Here is a brief guide to hospital beds to help you learn more about using one in the home.
Hospital Beds Are Prescribed for Several Reasons
When a patient has chronic pulmonary disease or congestive heart failure, they may need the head of the bed to be elevated more than 30 degrees most of the time. Adults and children who are at risk of aspiration may also need to be elevated at a more acute angle than normal. A home hospital bed is often prescribed for these conditions.
Hospital beds are also prescribed to:
- Prevent respiratory infections
- Ease pain
- Align the body correctly
A hospital bed can also help alleviate the permanent deformity of scar tissue, tendons, and limbs. This condition is known as contracture and is a health risk when patients are confined to beds that can't be adjusted. A physician will order a hospital bed when the patient faces a significant risk of developing contracture.
In the case of an orthopedic injury or surgery, a home hospital bed may be prescribed to aid in healing the bone or joint. The hospital bed can accommodate traction equipment or other equipment that won't work with a standard household bed.
Hospital Beds Include Safety Features
Several brands and types of home hospital beds are available. Most hospital beds, regardless of the manufacturer, are outfitted with certain key safety features.
Side rails are installed on either side of the hospital bed to provide protection for the patient from falling or rolling onto the floor. Side rails are important features for patients who are weak or unconscious. Some side rails include easy-access controls for the bed.
Hospital beds feature mattresses that can be raised and lowered at the head and feet. Most beds use electronic controls to lower and raise the bed.
Custom head and/or foot angles are helpful for patients who need special positioning to help with their health issues and healing. Raising the head of the bed also allows a bed-bound patient to watch TV, socialize, and engage in activities like games and reading.
Hospital Bed Positions Vary With Each Patient
Caregivers are taught how to use the bed and its controls by the home healthy supply company that provides the bed. Once you learn how to use the bed's controls, you can put the bed in several medical positions.
Doctors may prescribe bed positions with unfamiliar names. Here are two common bed positions and their descriptions.
In Fowler's position, the head and trunk are raised for greater chest expansion. Low or semi-Fowler's position means raising the head of the bed between 15 and 45 degrees, while high Fowler's means raising the head and trunk to a 90-degree angle.
In the Sims' position, the patient is mostly on one side. If the patient is on their left side, the left leg is slightly bent while the right leg is bent at the knee and touches the bed in front of the left leg. The left arm is behind the patient, and most of the upper chest and right arm are touching the bed.
The Sims' position is helpful for patients who are unconscious or who can't control drooling and mouth drainage. Paralyzed patients also benefit from reduced pressure on their groin and hips in the Sims' position.
Other positions you may learn include:
- Orthopneic (tripod)
- Dorsal recumbent
- Supine (dorsal)
If you're the caregiver for a bed-bound patient in a home hospital bed, you'll be shown how to place the patient in the various positions for their health needs. Illustrations and demonstrations by nurses and home health staff will give you confidence to position the patient and manage their home hospital bed on your own.
Contact All Florida Medical Supplies to order your hospital bed. We rent and sell beds for patients in Pasco, Citrus, and Hernando counties.