How to Choose a Hospital Bed for Seniors at Home


Whether you are a caregiver, family member, or looking for yourself, choosing a hospital bed for seniors at home can be overwhelming. You want the patient to feel as comfortable as possible while prioritizing their health and safety. Keeping costs down is also important when shopping for any home care equipment.

The options are limitless, with a range of features available, price points, suppliers, health condition, patient size and weight, abilities, and more. Some even prioritize design to match their home décor and personal preferences.

The good news is, there is a hospital bed available for your needs.

How can you choose the best hospital bed for seniors at home? This post will walk you through the process step by step so that you can feel confident the bed and mattress you select meets the needs of both caregiver and individual needing care.

This post will cover the following topics:

  1. Understand the difference between hospital and conventional bed
  2. Know what size you need and the weight it can support
  3. Choose a medical mattress that matches the bed size and patient needs
  4. Decide if you require an electric versus manual adjusting bed
  5. Select an experienced provider or consider hospital bed rentals
  6. Determine whether you need installation or service
  7. Don’t forget about bed accessories for a comfortable home care space

What is the difference between a hospital bed and conventional bed?

The first thing to know is that hospital beds are different from conventional beds in several ways. If a healthcare provider or care team has recommended a hospital bed, this means the senior requires special features for well-being and comfort that a regular bed does not provide.

Hospital beds have adjustable head and foot heights as well as adjustable overall height. This allows you to raise and lower the bed to allow the patient to get in and out of bed more easily. It also put less physical strain on the caregiver.

Hospital beds also have bed rails on either side which can be raised and lowered depending on the person’s needs. Bed rails help prevent falls and let the patient safely and easily grip the rails.

Hospital Mattress Features | SFI Medical Equipment Solutions

The other aspect is the size of the bed and the weight it can support. While regular beds come in standard sizes you are familiar with (king, queen, etc.), hospital beds do not. Instead, they are available in a range of widths and lengths depending on the person’s height and size.

Larger patients might need a bariatric hospital bed and mattress (for more on medical mattresses, see the next section). Bariatric beds typically support between 600 and 1,000 Lb.

What type of mattress is needed for a home care hospital bed?

The other big difference between conventional beds and hospital beds is the mattress. Not only do standard mattresses not fit hospital beds, but a medical mattress has special features that a regular mattress does not.

Medical mattresses are designed to bend as the bed is adjusted. Standard mattresses make this impossible due to the materials they are made from and how they’re constructed.

The other important feature of medical mattresses is that they have specific features that help prevent painful pressure ulcers, or bed sores, on patients who lie in bed for long periods of time. Hospital mattresses are made from foam and have special contouring that promotes airflow and distributes pressure more evenly across the body.

Mattresses must also be easily washable, which is not possible with a conventional mattress. For incontinent seniors, look for a mattress cover that is antimicrobial, waterproof, and stain resistant. This is very common and many are available to make day-to-day caregiving easier.

As you can see, hospital mattresses are incredibly an important factor when purchasing a hospital bed for the home. To find out what type of mattress is best for your needs, download our free Hospital Mattress Sizing Guide.

Hospital Mattress Sizing Guide for Home Care Seniors - SFI Medical Equipment Solutions

Do I need an electric or manual hospital bed?

Hospital beds come in manual or electric versions while control how the bed is adjusted. The type you choose depends on the strength of the primary caregiver who will be adjusting the bed regularly for the patient.

An electric hospital bed is the ideal option for both patient and caregiver and contributes to a safer home care environment. View different options on our product page.

Where can I buy a hospital bed in Canada?

Hospital beds are easier than ever to purchase online from a number of retailers, including hospital beds for seniors at home. Visit our Shop page to explore hospital bed brands including Invacare (maker of the popular Carroll series bed) and more.

Some customers wish to purchase used beds, which is another option. In this case, maintenance or servicing might be required. For safety, we recommend having your beds inspected and serviced by factory authorized professionals.

Can I rent a hospital bed for seniors at home?

In cases where a medical bed is only needed for a short period of time, some suppliers offer hospital bed rentals for home use. This is applicable for situations such as a patient recuperating from a surgery. Renting can be a cost-effective and convenient option.

If your dealer does not offer rentals, seek out a provider like SFI Medical. We offer rental options to home care customers across Canada. To get started, simply contact us and ask about our hospital bed rental program.

How do I get my hospital bed installed in my home?

Many models offer “split frame,” or two-piece shipping, where the bed is broken down into smaller (50 Lb or less) sections that can be handled and assembled by one fit person.

Commercial models do not generally offer split frame beds and are more expensive and durable due to their unibody construction. For these models, technicians or movers will have to manually carry the bed up walkways, stairs, and more to ensure you have proper clearance for a 80” long x 36” wide x 10” bed frame to be carried through your home. Typically this involves taking measurements in advance.

Depending on the type of hospital bed you need, it might need to be professionally installed due to the complex parts and systems involved. Many also find hospital beds difficult and inconvenient to set up given their other responsibilities and needs for the home care space.

Ask your bed retailer if they offer installation services in your region, or look for a factory authorized sales and service provider like SFI Medical whose experienced team will help with installing or removing home care hospital beds.

What other medical equipment do I need for senior care at home?

Once you have chosen the right hospital bed for you or the senior you are caring for, don’t forget about some of the other accessories needed for safe and comfortable home care. These include:

  • Mattress topper – different options are available to add on to a basic mattress depending on the patient’s needs, including additional foam or customized pressure pads
  • Sheets – you can either buy a complete set of sheets designed for your specific medical mattress, or purchase a medical mattress fitted sheet only and use your own conventional bed top sheets
  • Overbed tables/rolling tables – light and portable tables that extend over the bed are a convenient way for patients to have what they need within reach, whether it is food, reading materials, personal items, etc. Different versions and design options are available.
  • Lifts – a variety of different lifts are available, including ceiling lifts and sit-to-stand lifts, to help individuals with greater mobility challenges move around more easily
  • Bedside fall mats – cushioned, non-slip mats are a simple way to add reassurance for the patient’s safety when falls are a concern. Choose from different colours and sizes.

This list is just a start, but it will help you recognize the benefit of additional equipment and accessories that make a home care space comfortable and convenient for the patient and also the caregiver.


The bottom line is that choosing the right hospital bed for seniors at home is important but also challenging for caregivers and individuals alike. But there is a solution for you, and we are available to help you navigate this important step.

SFI Medical Equipment Solutions - Hospital Beds, Tubs, Lifts in Canada

If you need more help or have a specific question about home care equipment, contact our experienced customer service team today.

SFI Medical is proudly Canadian owned and operated and we serve customers nationwide. For additional cost savings, check our primary service area map to see if you qualify.

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