Purchasing the right care bed for use at home, either for yourself, a close family member or for someone you routinely care for can be an intimidating and baffling process.
At Shelden, our commitment to our customers is a core part of our business, which means that we're always striving to make the buying process more comfortable. In this blog, we've put together some key considerations you’ll need to work through in order to find the perfect care bed.
Critical Features & Handy Extras
Hospital beds fall into two main categories. The first thing you must ask yourself, is do you require an electric variable height function?
If the answer is no then an adjustable Divan bed might be perfect for you, offering a rising backrest to assist with sitting upright to eat meals and to help with breathing.
The second feature of these beds is an adjustable rising knee break that helps the user get into a more comfortable position and prevents sliding down the bed.
These Divan beds have an attractive homely look and you can even choose a matching headboard. The sizes range from a small single to a Super king partner bed, whereby both partners have individual electric adjustment of the backrest or knee break.
Remember to consider the two mattress options. Either reflex foam for comfort and pressure reduction or the traditional sprung divan mattress.
If you require a variable height then a hospital bed may be what you need.
All hospital beds have three standardised electric functions: variable height, rising backrest and knee break. Beyond this is where the standard features end; there are numerous customisable options available such as different wood finishes, tilt and rotate features and varying height ranges.
Writing out a list in two columns is the best course of action, these columns should be something like:
- Critical Features
- Handy Extras
In ‘critical features’, you’d write out a list of things that you certainly require. For example, if the user is prone to falling out of bed, you'd need side rails and a low height range.
In ‘handy extras’, you might include more aesthetic considerations such as wood colour and finish.
Below is an example of how you might lay out your list:
- What is the maximum weight of the user?
- Height range – low bed or standard height bed?
- Do you require side rails?
- Do You require the bed to have tilt options?
- Do you require Standard 90cm width or extra wide 120cm bed platform?
- Wood colours and finishes
- Compatibility with your mattress choice
- Enclosed head and footboard
- Accessories such as lifting poles
A platform will consist of a rising back or headrest, a knee break and leg raiser functions which are normally operated using a remote control. These types of beds are perfect for both user and carer; this is because they can be moved remotely without the carer needing to intervene manually.Most hospital beds feature a profiling function. This is an adjustable platform, on which the mattress rests, that moves to sit the user up or adjust their knees and legs to make it easier to get out of bed.
The height range of a care bed is the distance between the mattress platform to the ground when it is at its highest and lowest position (excluding the mattress). So, for example, the bed might be able to lower so it is 40cm from the ground and it might be able to raise anywhere up to 80cm, this means the bed will have a height range of 40-80cm. This is usually the standard range for a care bed.
Low profile care beds are similar in terms of design and functionality to a standard bed, only with the ability to lower much closer to the floor. This tends to be about 20-25cm from the ground – again, without the mattress.
The shorter distance means that if the user should have an accident and fall out of bed, their risk of serious injury is severely reduced when coupled with a crash mat. Or if you have difficulty lifting your legs into bed a low bed will be beneficial.
These beds are more popular nowadays as an alternative to side rails, which can come with a risk of entrapment.
Rotating Chair Beds
Rotating chair beds are becoming more and more popular. This innovative product works as a standard profiling hospital bed but at the touch of a button allows a weight bearing user to exit the bed from the side without the need for a hoist or other equipment; also allows the user to re-enter the bed from a standing position.
Buy For Quality, Not Price
Buying a hospital bed is likely to be a one-off investment, which is why it is so important to get your choice spot on.The best brands in the industry make their beds to withstand years of use, so the very last thing you need is one that can’t offer support and lasting quality.
When you begin to browse, it's essential to assess quality over price. It’s often the case that a bed that looks the real deal will be backed up by two or three years of warranty, which gives you a good idea on how confident the manufacturer is of the quality of their product.
Of course, the price isn't something that should be ignored entirely, but any good supplier will be able to recommend products that suit your budget.
Buy The Bed & Mattress Together
If you’re in the market for both a mattress and a bed, try, where possible, to buy the bed and mattress together. This means they’ll be no discrepancies between products. For example, if the bed causes damage to the mattress because it isn’t compatible, you won’t be able to get a replacement at no cost.
Getting the two together means you can be sure the two are meant to work together and you can be issued with replacement or repair from the manufacturer should something go wrong with either product.
Will You Install the Bed Yourself?
Once you’ve chosen the bed, decide whether you wish to install it yourself or have the engineer do it on your behalf.
It can sometimes be tricky to ensure the bed is put together correctly. At Shelden, we offer installation upon delivery as a service. The customer can decide before the product is even dispatched whether they wish to have one of our engineers install it for them.
It’s often the easier choice, especially for those who aren’t physically capable of installing the product themselves.
Purchasing care beds and similar products is probably something that none of us really want to do. However, when the time comes, you’ll need a reliable company that provides the very best products to suit all budgets and circumstances.
At Shelden, we always have our customers at the forefront of everything we do, whether that’s offering impartial advice, offering rental services or offering VAT relief to our most vulnerable customers.
If you require our advice, give us a call on 0800 014 8672, and one of our experienced and passionate team members will be happy to talk you through your options.