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How Do I Choose the Best Hospital Bed Table?

J. Finnegan
J. Finnegan

The individual needs of the person who'll use the hospital bed table will need to be assessed before a purchase is made. The table height should be adjustable to accommodate all sizes of users. Make sure it's easy for weak or arthritic hands to manipulate latches for those users who are able to make their own adjustments. The wheels on the bottom should roll easily across all surfaces, and should be lockable to prevent users from accidentally pushing their trays away. People who travel will need a hospital bed table that can fold up and be stored.

A hospital bed table is a tray or table with legs or other type of support, and is designed to stretch over or sit upon a hospital bed. The table can be a simple bed tray that can be placed over a supine person's legs, however, these are best suited to people who are at least somewhat mobile and strong enough to lift and move the tray out of the way when needed. A hospital bed table is generally rectangular, but a more square shape can sometimes be seen on smaller hospital bed tables. Some have a folding or slide away wing which can be square to rectangular in shape and vary in size from less than half to equal in size of the main table top. These are best suited to people whose activities require extra space such as writing, craft-making, and other activities.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

There are some hospital bed tables that allow accessories to be attached like a pocket for pens, scissors, glasses, or other small items or a drink holder, which is great for people who need to drink from secure immobile beverage containers. Some have adjustable table tops that can be angled while others are nonadjustable. There are split-top hospital bed tables that have a portion of the table that can be angled while the other part remains level at all times. The split-top table is a good design for people who need beverages kept on a level plane and have food or other items angled toward them.

Attached to the hospital bed table is a long vertical arm that extends down to a wheeled frame on the floor. It's common for the arm to be height adjustable, and some hospital bed tables also have arms that are angle adjustable. An adjustable vertical arm accommodates users who are sometimes able to sit in a chair, or who need the position of their hospital beds changed frequently, or those who aren't able to sit up.

The base or frame is usually made from steel as sturdiness is of utmost importance, while the table top can be made from a variety of easily cleaned materials. The T-shaped table base is common and easily slides under hospital beds. U-shaped bases slide under beds, but can also be used to wrap around chairs or wheelchairs without crowding the user's feet.

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Discussion Comments


Talking about home hospital bed tables, well, not only do they need to raise and lower easily, but they don't need to collapse under pressure, either.

Some kind of caddy for eyeglasses or a TV remote control is a good idea, but the person might find that more useful if it's on the bed rail itself.

Cheap plastic is no one's friend here, so a sturdy table is the best purchase.

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      Woman holding a book