Types of beds used for care environments

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A profiling hospital bed, community bed or hospital cot is a bed specially designed for hospitalised patients or others who are in need of some form of health care.

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These beds have specific features to aid both the comfort and general well-being of the patient and also for the convenience of health care workers, who can easily injure their backs when working at an incorrect height. Common features include adjustable height for the entire bed, the head, and the feet, adjustable side rails and electronic remote control or buttons to operate both the bed

Hospital beds and other similar types of beds such as nursing care beds are used not only in hospitals, but in other health care facilities and settings, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, outpatient clinics, and in home health care.

These beds are normally based on a frame design to allow for all the functions to operate, but they are also high enough and have few obstructions below to allow a portable or mobile hoist to be positioned with the legs of the hoist all the way underneath.

Features & options of Hospital beds


Wheels enable easy movement of the bed, either within parts of the facility in which they are located, or within the room. Sometimes movement of the bed a few inches to a few feet may be necessary in-patient care.

Wheels are lockable. For safety, wheels can be locked when transferring the patient in or out of the bed.

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Beds can be raised and lowered at the head, feet, and their entire height. While on older beds this is done with cranks usually found at the foot of the bed, on modern beds this feature is electronic.

Today, while a fully electric bed has many features that are electronic, a semi-electric bed has two motors, one to raise the head, and the other to raise the foot.

Raising the head (known as a Fowler's position) can provide some benefits to the patient, the staff, or both. The Fowler's position is used for sitting the patient upright for feeding or certain other activities, or in some patients, can ease breathing, or may be beneficial to the patient for other reasons.

Raising the feet can help ease movement of the patient toward the headboard and may also be necessary for certain conditions.

Raising and lowering the height of the bed can help bring the bed to a comfortable level for the patient to get in and out of bed, or for caregivers to raise to an easier height with which to work with the patient.

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Side rails:

Beds have side rails that can be raised or lowered. These rails, which serve as protection for the patient and sometimes can make the patient feel more secure, can also include the buttons used for their operation by staff and patients to move the bed, call the nurse, or even control the television.

There are a variety of different types of side rails to serve different purposes. While some are simply to prevent patient falls, others have equipment that can aid the patient them self without physically confining the patient to bed.

Side rails, if not built properly, can be of risk for patient entrapment. In the United States, more than 300 deaths were reported as a result of this between 1985 and 2004. As a result, the Food and Drug Administration has set guidelines regarding the safety of side rails.

In some cases, use of the rails may require a physician's order (depending on local laws and the policies of the facility where they are used) as rails may be considered a form of medical restraint.

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Some advanced beds are equipped with columns which help tilt the bed to 15-30 (Invacare Soft Tilt offers up to 60) degrees on each side. Such tilting can help prevent pressure ulcers for the patient and help caregivers to do their daily tasks of changing bed linen, sitting up and transferring, with less of a risk of back injuries. These beds mean that it is possible to operate single handed care with a patient - freeing up staff for other care duties.

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Low beds:

This version of the nursing care bed allows the lying surface to be lowered close to the floor to prevent injury from falls. The lowest bed height in the sleeping position, usually about 25 cm above floor level, combined with a roll-down matt that can be placed at the side of the bed if needed – minimises the risk of injury if the resident falls out of the bed. Lie-low beds provide a viable alternative to conventional measures used in caring for restless residents by foregoing legally problematic restrictive measures (cot sides, fixation devices

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Bed exit alarm:

Many modern hospital beds are able to feature a bed exit alarm whereby a pressure pad on or in the mattress arms an audible alert when a weight such as a patient is placed on it and activating the full alarm once this weight is removed. This is helpful to hospital staff or caregivers monitoring any number of patients from a distance (such as a nurse's station) as the alarm will trigger in the event of a patient (especially the elderly or memory impaired) falling out of the bed or wandering off unsupervised. This alarm can be emitted solely from the bed itself or connected to the nurse call bell/light or hospital phone/paging system. Also, some beds can feature a multi-zone bed exit alarm which can alert the staff when the patient start moving in the bed and before the actual exit which is necessary for some cases.

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Emergency CPR function:

In the event of the bed occupant suddenly requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation, some hospital beds offer a CPR function in the form of a button or lever which when activated flatten the bed platform and put it in lowest height and deflates and flattens the bed's air mattress (if installed) creating a flat hard surface necessary for effective CPR administration. Specialist beds

Many specialist hospital beds are also produced in order to effectively treat different injuries. These include standing beds, turning beds and legacy beds. These are usually used to treat back and spinal injuries as well as severe trauma

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