hospital bed

Hospital Beds vs Long-term Care Beds: Which One Is Right for You?

Healthcare beds play an important role in a patient’s recovery and care and it is, therefore, important to select the right healthcare bed that suits a patient’s medical needs. However, knowledge about the differences between hospital beds and nursing home beds or long-term care beds is limited among the general public as this is not something most concern themselves with under ordinary circumstances. 

While hospital beds and long-term care beds both aim to maximize healing, comfort, ergonomics, and mobility while minimizing risks of falls, they cater to different medical needs and patients, depending on whether they require inpatient or ambulatory care or palliative or convalescence care. 

Here we explain the differences between both types of beds and how you can select the right one for your specific needs.


hospital bed


What Are Hospital Beds? 

Hospital beds are specialized beds that are designed to meet the needs of patients admitted to hospitals. Their special features serve a dual purpose; the comfort of the patients and the convenience of the health care workers. 

Their unique feature is that they can be raised or lowered from the head as well as the feet of the bed. Raising the bed at the head, commonly known as the Fowler’s position, allows the patient to be seated upright. Raising the bed at the feet allows the lower extremities of the patient to be elevated which may be a requirement for certain medical conditions. 

Hospital beds also have adjustable side rails that prevent patients from falling out of bed and also allow them to get in and out of bed easily by adjusting the rails. Some hospital beds also come with an in-built control panel on the side rails or headboard that allows patients or medical staff to adjust the bed without manually having to do so. The control panel may also be used to control other elements in the hospital room, such as a television, air conditioner, fan, or lighting. 

Most hospital beds also have lockable wheels which allow for the easy movement of the bed within the room or the facility for treatment purposes. 

What Are Long-term Care Beds?

Long-term care beds are just what the name implies: beds that are designed for long-term care. Long-term care beds are typically used in nursing homes, palliative care facilities, assisted living centers, rehab centers, and residential homes. They are used for patients who have recovered sufficiently to be discharged from the hospital or those who do not need emergency medical care but are still unable to move around or perform daily functions such as eating, bathing, etc. on their own. Such patients require a different type of bed that caters to their specific needs and condition, and this is where a long-term care bed comes in.

Long-term care beds or nursing home beds are available in different sizes depending on the height, weight, and size of the patient. These beds also have a special high/low feature that allows them to be raised much higher off the ground or lowered to just a few inches above the ground. This is particularly helpful for patients with dementia or other mental health illnesses.  

Nursing home beds can also be customized with accessories such as customized mattresses, soft-touch rails, lighting, overbed tables, and so on that provide ease to the patient and the caregiver. 

Hospital Beds vs Long-term Care Beds

There are many differences between hospital beds and nursing home beds or long-term care beds that make them suited for different purposes and needs. While the main difference, as their names suggest, is that hospital beds are used for inpatient treatment or ambulatory care in hospitals and the latter is used in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, there are also major differences in their structure, design, features, and customization.

Hospital beds are fully adjustable, while nursing home beds are usually not. Hospital beds have adjustable rails, while nursing home beds may not have rails at all. However, they can be customized and fitted with side rails. Hospital beds may also have a control panel fitted on the headboard or side rails, which nursing home beds do not have.

However, hospital beds come in a standardized size which may make it difficult for bariatric patients or those with physical disabilities to shift or reposition themselves easily. Due to this, hospital beds may not be suitable for such patients as they require a bed size that is larger than a standardized hospital bed. Long-term care beds, on the other hand, come in different sizes that help patients of any age, height, size, or medical condition find a bed that is right for them. 

Nursing home beds can also be customized with a wide range of bed accessories as mentioned above, while hospital beds are not so easily customizable. This makes nursing home beds more apt for long-term medical care as they can provide a greater level of safety, comfort, and ergonomics to the patient and caregiver. The high/low feature or height adjustability of long-term care beds also sets them apart from hospital beds that generally do not have the feature.  


patient on hospital bed


Choosing The Healthcare Bed That Is Right for You

By now, you would have understood the major differences between hospital beds and nursing home beds or long-term care beds, and whom they benefit. Hospital beds are more suited for patients who require medical procedures or emergency medical care, while nursing home beds cater to patients who require long-term palliative care and assisted living or even short-term convalescent care. 

Nursing home beds are also more apt for patients suffering from obesity and chronic physical or cognitive disabilities or impairments such as spinal cord injuries, dementia, etc., as they require height adjustability for easily getting in and out of bed as well as a large-size bed to comfortably move around in. Nursing home beds also easily accommodate kids as they come in small sizes as well, making these beds suitable for all age groups. 

Celesticare At Your Service

Deciding on whether you need a hospital bed or a long-term care bed may be daunting. But we hope our handy guide helps you select the right healthcare bed for your purpose, and you get the best care and comfort you need.

If you still need help, we at Celesticare are always here to support you with our extensive experience with respect to healthcare beds and mobility aids. Contact us for a free consult service and get the support you need from our team of experts.

Here’s our safety beds and long term Beds manufacturers:
1- Beds By George
2- Sleep Safe Beds
3- Flexabed
4- Assured Comfort

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