The coronavirus (Covid) pandemic may have exacerbated a growing trend of household use of hospital beds, and you or a loved one may have needed the services of one of the 12,000 or more home health agencies operating in the US.
Since the mid-1970s, many of the more than 5000 hospitals in the US have shut down across the country, often for financial reasons. Some hospitals also stopped offering hospital stays for elective surgeries and procedures. In contrast, others reduced their hospital bed count in order to reduce costs.
When the coronavirus pandemic was declared in 2020, hospitals around the United States were already experiencing strain on their limited resources. The Covid pandemic deepened this crisis—less severely infected patients had little choice but to remain at home to recuperate.
The pandemic has also been a deterrent for people at higher risk of infection—those who have a compromised immune system and are chronically ill. A homecare hospital bed is a simple solution if your budget allows it.
Find out how to dispose of a hospital bed safely when you no longer need it, either by donating, recycling, or selling it.
Can A Hospital Bed Be Recycled?
A hospital bed cannot be recycled in the same way household and healthcare waste is processed. Suppose your hospital bed is unusable or broken beyond repair. In that case, it can be dismantled or decommissioned, and the components disposed of appropriately.
Depending on your hospital bed’s design, certain components like the mattress, mattress cover, and bedding can be treated and processed along with other healthcare waste.
Mattresses, mattress covers, and bedding are considered biomedical waste, which is regulated by your state’s environmental and health department. It is often the case that biomedical waste like your hospital bed mattress must be treated before disposal.
The bed frame is often manufactured with wood and steel. Once you have disassembled and disinfected the bed frame thoroughly, contact your local waste disposal site or a mattress removal service to find out if they accept such waste.
The waste disposal receiving site may require that you disassemble the bed frame before they accept it. This short video clearly demonstrates how to dismantle a relatively simple motorized hospital bed:
If your hospital bed was refurbished or your model’s operating manual or user guide isn’t available, contact the manufacturer for assistance. You can also access the manufacturer’s website and download the user manual yourself.
Where To Recycle a Hospital Bed Near Me
You can also contact your hospital bed’s manufacturer to ask if they collect used and broken beds from the public. They may have implemented a biomedical device reprocessing program to refurbish and repair devices like hospital beds for further use or decommission them for spare parts.
After your hospital bed’s manufacturer, a medical equipment rental service is your next port of call if your hospital bed is in good working condition. If they rent out hospital beds, they may be looking for additional stock or spare parts for repairs.
Where To Donate a Hospital Bed Near Me
Once you have thoroughly cleaned and disinfected your unused hospital bed and removed the mattress to avoid any risk of cross-contamination or infection from the past occupant, you can approach a number of organizations to donate your lightly-used hospital bed.
Reach out to charities, veterans’ organizations, or medical associations as they often redistribute hospital beds to their members and communities. Contact each organization individually as there may be restrictions on the types of hospital beds each can accept.
The American College of Surgeons’ Operation Giving Back has published a non-exhaustive list of organizations that might accept your donated hospital bed. These organizations operate within the United States and worldwide.
The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) offers a free donation pickup and accepts hospital beds along with other medical equipment. They also accept donations for their thrift stores.
The Medical Equipment Donation Agency (Med-Eq) is an alternative if you are not in a hurry. Since Med-Eq is a volunteer organization, it may take a couple of weeks before your donation is processed and a collection arranged.
Other Ways to Dispose Of A Hospital Bed
Another way to dispose of your hospital is to sell it. You can approach a hospital bed refurbishing and reconditioning service; however, they may not deal directly with the public.
In addition, there are third-party platforms that allow you to post a listing of your unused hospital bed for sale. These free classified websites will often require the following for the listing:
To find a third-party medical equipment sales platform, try these search terms via Google or your preferred search engine:
This list is not at all exhaustive—get creative with the keywords and be specific by including your location. Disposing of your unused hospital bed near you may be easier and more cost-effective than shipping it to a seller who may be out of state.
Now that you no longer need your hospital bed, you can dispose of it quickly and efficiently if it is fully functional. If repairs must be made, there are medical equipment refurbishment services that will take your hospital bed off your hands to resell it.
Finally, many organizations will gladly collect your donated hospital bed and redistribute it to community members and veterans in need—it will be of service for a long time.