A manual hospital bed is a bed designed for medical use in a hospital or in Homecare that uses hand cranks for changing the level of the bed as a whole and for adjusting the head and foot sections of the bed.
Manual beds are generally as flexible as electric or semi-electric hospital beds, but don't require the same levels of maintenance. Generally, those using a manual bed should be sure they have a reliable caregiver who can make the adjustments. All three types focus on patient comfort and easing the work of the healthcare professional.
It should be noted that when you talk about buying a hospital bed, of whatever type, you are buying the base or frame. The mattress is generally purchased separately.
How Do Manual & Electric/Semi-Electric Beds Differ?
With a completely manual hospital bed, as the name implies, you do everything by hand. The bed does essentially the same things as an electric or semi-electric bed but does not use power to do it.
On an electric hospital bed, these same adjustments are powered by electricity and even patients, using a remote control, can manage their own comfort in the bed.
On a fully electric hospital bed, the hand control adjusts the head, feet, and height of the bed, while the semi-electric only adjusts the head and foot electronically. The height is adjusted with a manual crank.
Major Brands/Manufacturers of Manual Hospital Beds
In its 2022 list of the best hospital beds, Consumer Affairs includes only one manual bed, the MJM International Low Bed with Headrest. MJM is designed for patient safety and caregiver ease. It has no siderails because of its extremely low height, while the headrests comes in three different heights. Priced at around $300.00, the MJM supports up to 250 pounds. Others prefer the Hill-Rom 305 Manual Hospital Bed. Its wheels make it easy to move and it allows for adjustmentfor angles to treat cardiovascular conditions. It has side rails but also a CPR quick release handle. The Hil-Rom comes in at around $5,000 and comes without a warranty. Other respected manufacturers include Invacare, Drive Medical, and Graham Field.
Price Range for Manual Beds
Manual hospital beds can start as low as $500. However, as we've seen, they can also go as high as $5,000 or more.
Where to Buy Manual Hospital Beds
Homepro Medical Supplies, LLC of Brooklyn, New York, sees manual beds, including Invacare, Drive Medical, and Graham Field, in its store and online. It also sells a variety of hospital bed mattresses. Most larger medical supply stores will carry a selection of hospital beds, including a small number of manual beds.
Amazon, no surprise, offers various hospital beds, manual and electric. With a dozen or more listings in a wide price range, Amazon is worth considering. Another interesting online market is RehabMart, which offers manual hospital beds by Drive Medical. They are priced at $830 and $644.
Used Manual Hospital Beds
There are many places where you can buy a used manual hospital bed. One place to find used hospital beds is to check with thrift shops and medical equipment rental locations. The former will receive the donated bed and generally price it quite reasonably. Both of these organizations are becoming harder to find, but where they exist, you can probably get a bargain.
You may also find a used hospital bed that an individual owner is selling. You can find them on places like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and eBay. All the usual risks of shopping in these areas do apply. However, you are likely to find what you need, and find it at a good price.
Tips for Buying the Best Manual Hospital Bed for Your Needs
There are a lot of variables in a manual hospital bed, and a mattress to buy once you pick a bed. It's a complicated purchase and one that will likely cost you at least $1,000 when all is said and done. Here are some tips for getting it right.
Features - Even manual hospital beds offer a lot of features, including various mattresses, tilt features, and an enclosed footboard and headboard. Whichever features you need or want, you should decide on them before you begin shopping.
Profiling Mattress Platform - The profiling feature allows for more flexibility in where and how the bed adjusts. You will need to pick the profiling you prefer or need before your purchase is made.
Bed Height - Some beds are either very low heights or adjustable to a very low height. This height is to prevent further injury to the patient from falling out of bed. The height is adjustable so that the caregiver can raise the bed while treating the patient.
Quality - Obviously probably none of these beds is trash or dangerous - lawsuit anyone? But there is always a range of quality in any product and you need to decide how much quality you need in the bed you purchase. A hospital bed is usually a one-time purchase and you probably want to find a bed with a warranty and one that offers all the quality you can afford.
Good Design - Think about why you need a hospital bed and make sure your chosen bed has what that condition requires. Then, you can take the time to consider esthetics and try to get a hospital bed that doesn't look like one.
Mattress - It's often a good idea to buy your mattress from the same place you buy your bed. It reduces problems if you have an issue later on.
Your manual hospital bed is a reasonably priced choice, but may be difficult for older or smaller individuals to operate efficiently. You can purchase them online or in stores, and may even be able to find one used near you. Be sure to consider what you need out of your bed before buying and then get the best you can afford.