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How Do I Choose the Best Used Hospital Beds?

A.M. Boyle
A.M. Boyle

Choosing the best used hospital beds is often a matter of finding ones that are the right size for you and have functions that suit your individual needs. The bed needs to be in good shape mechanically and should be easy to use and maneuver. In addition, you should ensure that the bed itself, with all its features, is in safe, working order and is not damaged or broken.

Hospital beds are unique, mobile beds that have features designed for the comfort of convalescing patients. Various sections of the bed can be raised or lowered for the patient’s comfort. Many medical supply stores, hospitals, and even some individuals sell or rent used hospital beds for patients to use at home for either themselves or for a loved one who is ill. Most hold twin-size mattresses, but the frames are usually bulkier and larger than average twin bed frames because of their various mechanisms and features. When choosing your used hospital bed, it's wise if you first decide on the space where you intend to keep it so that you can find one that will fit once you get it home.

A good used hospital bed should function correctly.
A good used hospital bed should function correctly.

In addition to assessing the proper size, you should also make certain that the bed has the functions that you need. Used hospital beds are generally either manually or electronically adjustable. Manual beds typically have hand cranks to lift or lower the head, foot, and middle and will probably have a mechanism to raise the entire bed so that a caregiver can have easier access to the patient. While these models are generally the least expensive types of used hospital beds, they can be very difficult for a patient to manage on his or her own, especially if he or she is elderly or infirm. Generally, you should choose a manual bed only if the patient is physically able to work the cranks or an able-bodied caregiver is available at most times to assist with adjusting the bed.

A bed with lockable wheels will make the bed easier to move when necessary.
A bed with lockable wheels will make the bed easier to move when necessary.

Other used hospital beds have functions that are controlled electronically. Most of the time, the patient has a handheld device available that he or she uses to control and adjust the bed. This type of bed is probably the best choice for patients who are alone or not strong enough to manipulate hand cranks. While these types of beds are usually more expensive to buy or lease than the manual models, the extra cost might be necessary, depending upon your individual situation.

Regardless of whether the bed is manual or electric, make sure that all the functions are in good working order. Put the bed through its paces, and test the limits of the functions. In addition, check all the parts to ensure there is no damage that can later cause problems. For instance, examine any electrical cords to make sure they’re not frayed or broken. If the bed has hand cranks, check them to be certain they aren't dented or rusted or have sharp, metal edges that can cause injury.

Many used hospital beds have bars on the sides for added security and safety. The bars are usually lowered and raised manually. If you need a bed that has side bars, make sure that they are easy to raise and lower from both inside and outside of the bed. In addition, most used hospital beds are on wheels for easy movement. Consequently, if that is the case, don't forget to check that the wheels move freely and have a working brake that can be easily engaged and disengaged.

As a final note, it is generally advised that, when buying or renting a used hospital bed, you invest in a new mattress. By their nature, hospital beds have been used by individuals who are ill, and it is always safer and more hygienic to have your own fresh, clean mattress. When choosing a bed, though, double-check that the mattress you have in mind will fit properly on the bed without interfering with its functions. If you do choose to use a mattress that comes with the bed, verify that it has been sanitized, and inspect it carefully for any stains or signs of wear and tear.

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    • A good used hospital bed should function correctly.
      By: Andrea Arnold
      A good used hospital bed should function correctly.
    • A bed with lockable wheels will make the bed easier to move when necessary.
      By: Agence DER
      A bed with lockable wheels will make the bed easier to move when necessary.