So, what’s the difference between a hospital bed and an adjustable bed? At first glance they share a lot of the same qualities: they move under your mattress to help you get better sleep, and can address health issues. But one of these things is not like the other, even though many times they'll both be called by the same names. Find out what makes these styles the way they are so you can decide which one that's right for you!
What are hospital beds?
The “hospital” type of adjustable beds are designed for people with more serious medical issues. The first adjustable beds were for hospital use, thus the name, and you can still find them there. In the decades since the first one appeared, they've spread to home use. These power bases are designed to make life easier for the patients, and to help their caregivers in their duties. Hospital-type motion beds offer basic movement of the head and foot sections, and usually lower and raise in height to make it easier to get in and out of bed. The goal is not just to provide better sleep and quality of life, but to help in rehabilitation, prevent injuries, and keep the patient from falling out of bed. These are the ones you've probably seen on TV.
Adjustable beds approved for home health care use should go through review to make sure they’re safe to use with pacemakers and other medical equipment. Models can vary from fully electric, semi-electric, and manual operation. If you have medical issues or use home health equipment, make sure the bed you’re looking at is approved for your situation.
This type of bed is made to be easy to move, and come with large industrial wheels and side rails (which sometimes can’t be removed). Hospital beds typically come in one size, 38” in width and 84” in length, because they’re made for a single patient. A mattress is often included, which is covered in a thick vinyl cover to that it can be easily sterilized after use. Some also come with a fixed headboard and footboard.
Besides the health benefits, another positive for this type of bed is that the cost can be covered by insurance, although choice is limited by what’s been approved.
A hospital style adjustable bed made for home health care.
When is an adjustable bed not a hospital bed?
Think of the other type of adjustable beds as “lifestyle” beds. They still help with your health – the adjustable sections are meant to move you into positions to help you get better sleep and relieve pain. But this style of motion bed also offers models with a lot more movement options. They have positions programmed in that are designed specifically to support you while you’re working in bed, reading, watching TV, or whatever else you do in a comfortable and convenient position.
Lifestyle adjustable beds do more than just move by adding features made to make your mattress time a fully relaxing experience. They can give you a massage, provide surround sound, light your way at night, or even stretch your back. Lifestyle adjustables also have the luxury of being able to focus on style over function in some ways. When placed in the flat position, lifestyle adjustable bases look like any other traditional bed. They bases can be used with a ton of popular mattress types so that you can pick the one you like (excluding coil mattresses). Almost every size option is available, and you can choose a split base style if you and your partner have different sleeping preferences.
However, most of these models are not approved for use with medical equipment, and the positions may not be what you need for your condition. A lot of lifestyle adjustable beds don’t go up and down, which won’t help those who have problems getting in and out of bed.
A lifestyle adjustable bed is made to make all your time in bed more enjoyable.
Bottom line: if you have a serious health concern, or use medical equipment, a hospital style adjustable bed might be what you’re looking for. Make sure to check to see which type is compatible to your situation. For more minor sleep concerns, to relieve aches and pains, and to help you relax no matter what you do in bed, a lifestyle adjustable bed might be just the thing.