Do you or a loved one have a debilitating illness or condition that requires lengthy or even permanent bed rest? Choosing a home care bed can be a daunting experience, especially when time is short and money is scarce. Here is a detailed look at the various factors you should consider before making a home care bed purchase.
Consider your medical condition
The most important in choosing a home care bed is assessing your medical condition. The right bed can significantly improve your health and happiness, so make sure you match the bed to your specific healthcare needs.
First, how much do you weigh? Most standard home care beds support up to 450 pounds. If you're heavier than that, you'll need to narrow your search to a bariatric bed, which are specifically designed to support obese patients.
Wheelchair-bound people and those at risk for falls should consider a low bed to make getting in and out of the bed as easy as possible. Paraplegics and other people with very limited mobility may want to invest in a professionally refurbished hospital bed rather than a home care bed.
Consider a medical mattress
After assessing your medical condition, you may find that you don't need a home care bed at all. A medical-grade foam or air mattress on top of a regular bed may be suitable for your needs. Many medical-grade mattresses are available in Twin, Full, Queen and King sizes. But is your current bed in good shape? If not, you could just end up damaging your new mattress.
Most people buy a home care bed and a mattress at the same time. If you're bed-bound, you'll want an alternating pressure system, or APM, that helps prevent bedsores. Depending on the model you choose, you could end up spending as much on a mattress as you do on the bed itself.
Consider your caregiver's needs
If you have a caregiver, you should consider their needs as well as your own. A bed that rises to a comfortable working height will reduce strain on your caregiver and help prevent injuries. A control panel puts all the bed controls in one convenient spot for your caregiver.
Opting for a home care bed with manual controls will save you money, but it will be more difficult for your caregiver to raise and lower the bed. If you can afford it, choose a semi-electric or fully electric model instead.
Consider your living space
When choosing a home care bed, don't forget to check the dimensions. Most home care beds ship unassembled, so they're easy to set up in the room of your choice. But if you opt for a refurbished hospital bed, you'll need to make sure your hallways and doors are large enough to move the bed into the room. For either bed, you'll also want to ensure that you have enough space to move about the room freely once the bed is in place.
Consider your time frame
If you needed a bed yesterday and haven't started shopping until today, then getting your bed quickly might be a big issue. Most home care beds take several weeks to build, and they often aren't kept in stock because of the large amount of storage space required.
If you need a bed immediately, your best bet is a professionally refurbished hospital bed. You'll get the same quality of bed (if not better), and they're usually in stock and ready to ship. The best option, of course, is to plan ahead so you aren't force to settle on a bed that isn't perfect for you.
Consider your finances
You might be surprised that cost is so far down on this list, but for many people, money is no object when it comes to their health and well-being. You'll be spending a lot of time in the bed you choose, so it's better to make a sound investment for the future rather than focus on short-term savings.
The least expensive home care beds start around $500.00 for a manual model with no frills. But for the average electric home care bed, you can expect to pay at least $1,000.00. A decent medical-grade foam mattress costs about $300.00, while a medical air mattress will typically run about $1,000.00. If you choose a refurbished hospital bed instead, you can expect to pay at least $2,500.00.
These prices do not include shipping and installation (although some vendors will ship beds for free, and some beds can be assembled at home with basic tools). Since beds are large and heavy, shipping can often add several hundred dollars to your purchase price.
Check with your Medicare or Medicaid caseworker to see if they can help defray your costs. Keep in mind that your claim may take a while to process, and you may be required to rent a bed for a period of time before you're approved to purchase one. Many patients prefer to avoid this hassle and buy the bed on their own.
Consider your options
Sometimes accessories make a huge difference in your use and enjoyment of a home care bed. People at risk for falling out of bed should definitely purchase bed rails, which are available in half-length and full-length sizes. Those who have trouble getting in and out of bed may need a trapeze bar or a lift system to help them bathe and use the bathroom.
Besides medical accessories, you may also want to look into purely aesthetic options. These days, many home care beds are designed to look like standard beds, with decorative headboards and footboards in a wide variety of colors. You can match the bed to your current décor or buy a set of coordinating furniture specially designed for assisted living facilities.
Consider the source
No matter which home care bed you choose, make sure you're working with a reputable vendor. The medical equipment industry is quite competitive these days, and especially so on the Internet, where all you need is a website and a manufacturer willing to supply you with products. Find out how long the vendor has been in business and how much experience they have selling home care beds.
Read the vendor's policies carefully so you're not surprised later by the fine print. Make sure you get a quote in writing detailing all of your costs, including shipping and installation. Your sales representative should be available during normal business hours to answer your questions and give you advice. No reputable salesperson should hurry you through a decision this important, so beware of high-pressure sales techniques.
If you ask plenty of questions and consider the answers carefully, you're sure to purchase a home care bed that's suitable for your health and happiness.