Hospital beds are not one-size-fits-all. Before making a purchase, the buyer should be aware that there are various kinds of hospital beds on the market to meet the patient’s needs. Heavier patients will often need to use bariatric beds to ensure their safety and comfort. A bariatric bed has special functions and features that are tailored to accommodate larger individuals.
How heavy is heavy? A bariatric bed is designed to hold patients weighing anywhere from 400 lbs to 1,000 lbs. In addition to serving as a safe and stable bed for the patient, it can also assist their caregiver with daily care. Some offer features to support the patient’s limbs to assist with bed-to-chair transfers and vice versa. Clearly, the right bariatric bed reduces the chances of injury for both the patient and the caregiver.
But before you get these benefits, you need to find the right bariatric bed. To do that, you can follow the tips below:
- Evaluate your home.
Considering where you’ll placing the bariatric bed is an important step when finding the right model. Do you have enough space for a particular bed, or are you willing to remodel the room just to make space for the bed? Prior to finalizing your purchase of the bed, make sure the room chosen offers ample space to allow for movement.
- Check the quality of the bed.
The bed must have passed the standards of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the FDA. It must have the labels IEC 60601-2-38 and UL60601-1. These codes for electrical medical equipment mean that the bed was tested by an independent facility other than the manufacturer and it was proven to adhere to high quality and safety standards. Tests include weight capacity, safety margin, environmental hazards, and fire hazard safety.
Check the label for maximum weight capacity, too. The weight capacity specified includes the weight of patient plus accessory weight. Also, see if there is any difference between the maximum patient weight for the bed and maximum patient weight safe for transfer. Some bariatric beds should not be moved or transported with the patient on it. There should be a label that explains this, otherwise consult the bed manual.
- Pick an adjustable bed.
Some important features to look for include height adjustments, where you can lower or raise the bed, ideal position for transferring the patient, and the ability to move the head of the bed to reposition the patient with ease. The high and low function is particularly useful as heavier patients sometimes have difficulty getting in and out bed. These adjustable features make the work of the caregiver easier, too.
- Choose one with a low-coefficient of friction.
A heavy person with limited range of motion is prone to skin breakdown. The importance of a bed with a sleeping surface that has a low-coefficient of friction cannot be undervalued. Ulcerations on the skin must be avoided at all cost since their presence dramatically increases the care that the patient will require.
- It must specifically meet the needs of the patient.
A bariatric bed is only good if it matches the needs of the person using it. It should be perfect for the weight of the patient and it must also fit well inside his or her room, leaving enough space for function and movement.
While budget is one of the considerations when buying a bed, features that meet the patient’s needs should always take priority. Purchasing a less expensive bed with a 350 lb limit, for example, for a patient weighing 375 lbs is a bad idea. You might get savings out of it, but it increases the risk of injury for the patient and caregiver. Plus, because the bed might break down earlier than expected, such a deal will only end up costing more in the future.