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How to Choose a Hospital Bed for Home: Your Plain English Guide

By Maurice

How to Choose a Hospital Bed for Home

People looking for a hospital bed are doing so because they are caring for someone who has had a recent injury or has an illness that would be managed more effectively with a hospital bed.

What is a hospital bed, and can I get one for home? Should I get one that goes up and down with a crank or an electric one? Who manufactures the hospital beds that I need? As a Registered Nurse, these are just a few of the questions that I get when assisting a person with the decision to get a hospital bed for their home. Let’s look at some of the questions asked and make it easier for you to focus on the care of your loved one.

What is a Hospital Bed?

A hospital bed is an adjustable bed that a person typically sees within a hospital setting, but it can be ordered for use at home. With a hospital bed, you can easily adjust the height, so the head can go up or down and the feet up or down for the patient’s comfort. A hospital bed also makes life easier for the caregiver. Making the hospital bed adjust while providing care causes less strain on the caregiver’s back, and positioning a person in the bed for their comfort becomes more manageable.

How to Choose a Hospital Bed

The easiest way to get a hospital bed is to have a physician prescribe a hospital bed. The physician will let the Durable Medical Equipment provider (DME) know just what type of bed you need for your medical condition.

Sometimes, a person may be getting a bed because the caregiver has a bad back and is caring for their loved one who does not qualify for a bed, or you have a condition that could be improved with a hospital bed. In this case, you are left to figure out what type of bed you will need. So, let’s look at the types of hospital beds to help you choose what will best suit your needs.

Types of Hospital Beds

Manual Hospital Bed

This bed uses a hand crank to adjust. Its feet and head adjust up and down like the other beds, but it operates with the crank. The bed needs to be modified by a person at the foot of the bed where the crank is located. So, the patient or caregiver needs to have the ability to operate the crank.

Semi-Electric Bed

This bed’s head and feet adjust up and down with an electric button, but the height of the bed is adjusted with a hand crank by the patient or caregiver. Like the manual bed, the crank needs to be utilized by someone with the ability to operate the crank.

Low Hospital Bed

A low hospital bed is just that; it is designed for someone at risk of falling and goes very low to the ground to prevent an injury should the person attempt to climb out of bed. Often, this bed is used for someone with dementia or some confusion that results in poor safety awareness. It can either be electric, semi-electric, or a hand crank.

Fully Electric Hospital Bed

A fully electric is the easiest of the beds. All adjustments are made with a push of a button. It is effortless to raise to aid the caregiver with taking care of a person at a comfortable height, reducing back strain. It is also effortless to safely lower the bed to get a person out of bed. The head and feet height can be operated with a button by the person lying in bed or outside of the bed by a caregiver.

Easy Exit Hospital Bed

This bed is a game-changer for those who have difficulty getting out of bed and want to remain independent. The bed is designed to have all of the features of a semi-electric bed. The difference is it has a rotor assist that turns and allows the person to be pushed toward a standing position. It is similar to a lift chair design but is a bed.

Bariatric Home Care Bed

This bed will have the features of the other beds but has a higher weight capacity, ranging from 750 to 1000 pounds. Regular hospital beds for the home generally have a weight capacity of about five hundred pounds. The most significant part is that this bed is the weight of the bed and the person combined. Make sure that your home joists will support this type of weight.

Major Brands/Manufacturers of Hospital Beds 


This is a major medical equipment supplier that started in 1885 and has turned into a global leader. Invacare is located in about one hundred countries worldwide. The central United States headquarter is in Elyria, Ohio. Along with multiple other medical supplies, they are a leading supplier of hospital beds. They carry each type of hospital bed – manual, semi-electric, and fully electric. Most DME suppliers handle the Invacare hospital beds.

Drive Medical

Drive Medical was founded in 2000 and is a rapidly growing supplier of hospital beds. It services long-term care facilities and hospitals. It also has a retail division for someone looking to purchase a hospital bed independently. You can also utilize this company for other medical needs, making it easier to streamline your care.


Sells not only hospital beds but many other medical devices or even medical furniture to add comfort to your home, such as reclining chairs that lift a patient to standing. They also sell medical supplies such as those needed for dressing changes or other medical concerns. They are a leading manufacturer of hospital beds and provide all the required supplies you may need to use for your hospital bed.

American Quality Health Products

This company is a major online provider, and I have included it primarily for the easy exit bed they supply. However, they provide many other hospital beds and equipment, including wheelchairs, lift chairs, and scooters.

We have learned a lot about a hospital bed for your home. A couple of key takeaways are:

  1. 1You can get a hospital bed for home use.
  2. 2All hospital beds come manual, semi-electric, or fully electric.
  3. 3The companies Invacare, Drive Medical, Medline, and American Quality Health are all reputable medical supply companies.

Taking the time to find a hospital bed for the home can be difficult. However, the added benefit of a hospital bed at home is worth the effort it takes in providing the care or relief of illness needed for your loved one.


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