If you've recently had to be admitted into the hospital, you may be acquainted with the comfort of hospital beds. These are not the stiff cots commonly found in emergency rooms, but rather fully adjustable, incredibly comfortable beds. However, while comfort and flexibility is always a must in a hospital bed mattress, different hospitals use different types of mattresses on their beds.
A standard bed mattress won't bend with an adjustable bed, as a hospital bed must. Hospital bed mattresses are made to conform not only to different laying and sitting positions, but also to long-term use. After all, some patients may be confined to their hospital beds for weeks and even months at a time. Thus, mattresses have to be thin enough to bend with the adjustable bed frame, but also thick enough to provide adequate support and padding.
Many hospital bed mattresses are either inner-spring or foam mattresses. When money is a limiting factor, inner spring mattresses are usually chosen because they are the least expensive. People who rent hospital beds often use these types of mattresses, which are the least comfortable, according to Preferred Health Choice, a medical supply vendor. Yet foam mattresses are not that much more expensive and provide much more comfort, according to the PHC website. Another type of mattress often found on hospital beds is the air mattress. This is the most expensive type of mattress but provides the most customization, as patients can adjust the amount of air in the mattress to make the mattress just the right consistency for them.
As with mattresses for regular beds, mattresses for hospital beds range widely in cost. For instance, a basic inner spring mattress retailed for $149 on the PHC website, while a PressureGuard mattress sold for a whopping $5,999. Medicare usually covers only a basic inner spring mattress for people who need to have hospital beds in their homes, according to PHC.
Hospitals usually look at a mattress' weight capacity when deciding on a model for their beds. Inner spring mattresses are often rated to support 250 lbs. of pressure, while foam mattresses often have weight capacities between 275 and 400 lbs. Specialty bariatric mattresses are made to support people above this weight. Usually, they are foam or air mattresses, or a combination of the two. A hospital that has mostly innerspring mattresses on its beds will likely have some beds with high-capacity mattresses to accommodate obese patients.
People who need hospital beds in their home and expect to be bedridden for long periods of time may find that investing in a quality hospital bed mattress can greatly reduce the risk of getting bed sores and waking up with aches and pains. However, when money is an object, mattress overlays can be purchased. These overlays are like mattress pads for regular beds. They sit on top of the mattress and provide added comfort but at a fraction of the cost.