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Types of Hospital Beds for Home Use (2023): Your Plain English Guide

By kbeveridge

Types of Hospital Beds for Home Use

If you’ve had surgery or live with a permanent disability, you may be looking for a hospital bed to use at home. They allow you to adjust various features and can be simpler to navigate than regular mattresses. But how do you know which type to choose?

The different kinds of hospital beds for home use are electric, semi-electric, manual, hi-low, and bariatric. Each of these beds has different features, modes of operation and is suitable for various medical and financial situations.

In this guide, we take an in-depth look at the types of hospital beds for home use. We explain the differences between each model and whether Medicare covers them. We also look into hospital beds’ benefits and how to choose the correct one for your home.

Different Types of Hospital Beds and Their Uses

There are a wide variety of hospital bed types to choose from. Let’s take a look at each model in detail.

What Is an Electric Hospital Bed?


As the name suggests, electric hospital beds use electricity to power their movements. You need to plug the unit into a power socket for it to function. However, once attached, you can manipulate the bed’s actions without having to use physical strength.

Electric hospital beds often have control panels that allow you to adjust their height and different bed angles. These are the most expensive but most functional kinds of hospital beds.

You may like to choose an electric hospital bed for home-use if you need to make many adjustments and your carer lacks some physical strength.

What Is a Semi-Electric Hospital Bed?


Semi-electric hospital beds are the mid-way point between electric and manual hospital beds. Like the electric models, you can adjust the head and foot sections using the keypad. However, like manual units, you will need to use your strength to change the bed’s height.

These models are more expensive than manual beds and more affordable than electric ones. You may want one in your home if you don’t have the budget for a full electric unit but need the extra adjustment assistance.

What Is a Manual Hospital Bed?


Manual hospital beds require you to make all of the adjustments by hand. They have cranks that you work to change the positioning of the foot and head sections. Some may allow you to change the bed’s height but not all.

Manual models are the most basic and affordable options. Therefore, they could be an excellent option for home use if you’re looking to save money. However, bear in mind that you will need decent strength to operate one.

What Is a Hi-Low Bed?


Hi-low hospital beds allow you greater control over the bed’s height. You can move the bed a lot closer to the floor than standard models. Therefore, they are one of the safest models and most likely prevent falls from happening.

You may like a hi-low bed to use in your home if you are anxious about falling and injuring yourself. By maneuvering yourself closer to the ground when you need to get up, there is much less room for error.

What Is a Bariatric Hospital Bed?


Bariatric hospital beds are more heavy-duty than regular models. They are broader and more robust, allowing them to support more weight without putting a strain on the bed’s frame.

A bariatric hospital bed may be suitable for home use if you are too wide or heavy for standard models. Many brands can accommodate up to 1200lb (544kg), allowing you to use the bed without worrying about it breaking.

Types of Hospital Beds Covered by Medicare

Like other mobility aids, a hospital bed can be a considerable expense if you pay for it out of pocket. Thankfully, you may be able to get coverage under Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance).

Medicare classifies hospital beds as durable medical equipment (DME). This means that it can cover up to 80% of the cost, provided that you meet the following criteria:

If so, depending on your circumstances, you may be able to rent or buy the hospital bed and have that cost covered. If you are unsure about your coverage, we recommend chatting to your doctor or Medicare first.

Top Hospital Bed Brands

The following brands are reputable and offer various hospital bed models:

  • Drive Medical: A global company that formed in 2000 and specializes in medical equipment, from mobility scooters to CPAP masks and everything in between.
  • HopeFULL: A Chinese company that started in 1999 and specializes in hospital and aged care beds.
  • Invacare: This American company started operating in 1885 and it focuses on a wide range of mobility aids and personal care products.
  • Medacure: It is an American corporation that has been manufacturing durable medical equipment since its beginnings.
  • Medline: It is an all-encompassing medical company that manufactures medical products, works directly with healthcare providers, and provides business solutions.

What Are the Benefits of Hospital Beds?

There are various physical and lifestyle benefits to choosing a hospital bed.


Hospital beds are much safer than regular exposed mattresses if you are worried about falling. Mainly if you use a hi-low bed or keep it positioned closer to the floor, it can severely reduce the risk of falling. Adding safety rails to your bed can further prevent falls from happening.

If you fall from a lowered hospital bed, your injuries are also likely to be less severe. Therefore, it can be an excellent option if you lack strength or motor skills.


Many hospital beds allow you to change the angle of your feet and legs. This adjustability can be beneficial to keep you comfortable and also reduce inflammation. Particularly if you have gone through surgery, elevating your feet can improve blood flow and decrease swelling.


Most hospital beds have wheels on the bottom and may also fold up smaller. This design makes it straightforward to move the device between different rooms. If you cannot get out of the bed, it may allow you to eat meals in your family’s company or spend days in the living room.

Carer Benefits

If you have a regular carer, a hospital bed can make his or her life a lot easier too. Particularly if you opt for an electric or semi-electric model, the machine can perform some of the tasks that your carer usually would. This can reduce strain on his or her body too.

Tips for Buying the Best Hospital Bed for Your Needs

There are a few factors to consider when choosing a hospital bed for home use:

  • Mobility level: If you have minimal mobility, then an electric hospital bed could help you to sit up and elevate your legs as needed. If, however, you can move parts of your body and you have some strength, a manual bed may be viable.
  • Time in bed: Depending on your physical condition, you may spend only the night or the entire day inside the hospital bed. The more time you are in it, the better you are suited to an electric bed, which will be more comfortable long-term.
  • Size and weight: You must choose a hospital bed that is long, wide, and strong enough to accommodate your body. If you are unsure, you can usually check the total measurements and specifications of any model.
  • Carer strength: If you choose a manual or semi-electric bed, your carer will need to be strong enough to adjust the height without assistance. If he or she can’t, then an electric bed should be your first choice.
  • Adjustability: Hospital beds may allow you to adjust the head and foot sections to certain angles. However, not all models offer the same range of adjustability. Make sure that the bed you choose can accommodate your physical needs.
  • Side rails: Retention rails on the side of the bed can prevent you from falling out. If you are worried about falling, these are essential additions.
  • Budget: First, you should check if Medicare or your private health insurance can cover the hospital bed. Regardless, you will need to consider your personal budget and choose a model that fits within that range.


In conclusion, you can choose from the following kinds of hospital beds for home use:

  • Electric
  • Semi-electric
  • Manual
  • Hi-low
  • Bariatric

Each of these hospital beds has a different range of movement, maximum capacity, mode of operation, and cost. When choosing a hospital bed for home use, you should consider

Hospital beds can be beneficial if you have had surgery, an injury, or live with a chronic disease. They can reduce your risk of falling and injuring yourself, offer adjustability, are portable, and can assist your carer to help you.

Overall, hospital beds can be an excellent mobility aid for inside the home. They can increase your comfort and make mobility easier for yourself and your carer. By choosing the correct model for your needs, you could significantly improve your quality of life.


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