Hospital Bed Buying Guide

The Basics Of Your Hospital Bed

Let us give you an overview of how they work, their different features, the pros and cons of each specific bed, and how to choose the right one for you or your loved one. We’ll walk you through which options you can consider for short-term use, and which ones would be better suited for longer terms. Express Hospital Beds will help you choose everything from the frame to the mattress and everything in-between.

The Bedframe

When it comes to choosing the right bedframe for you or your loved one, make sure you keep support and stability at the forefront of your mind. Remember that there’s a difference between the frame of your bed and the deck.

The Bed Deck

The bed deck supports the mattress and features of your hospital bed. We offer a wide variety of bed decks to suit your needs. From spring and grid decks, to slat and full deck, we’ll help you choose the right one.


The Mattress

Even the most advanced and high-tech hospital bed would be obsolete with the wrong mattress. You need a mattress that can provide the needed support for as long as you need it, without causing or exacerbating bedsores. Let Express Hospital Beds help you choose the right mattress to give you or your loved one better support, higher cost-efficiency, and gentler skin care.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How To Choose The Right Bed

Now that you have a clearer idea of which types of beds and mattresses you can choose from; you can start working towards making an informed choice. Here are a few questions you should consider before finalizing your purchase:

How many hours will the bed be used per day?

Will you or your loved one need assistance with sitting up?

How many days, weeks, or months would you need the bed?

Could you or your loved one be at risk of falling out of the bed without support?

Could your or your loved one’s needs change in the near future?

Once you’ve answered these questions, we recommend that you reconsider the options you’ve been looking at and make sure each of the beds and mattresses take your specific support, mobility, and comfort needs into consideration.

Ready To Choose?

If you’d like us to answer any questions or walk you through our specific products, features, and costs, give us a call at 1-800-535-1322 or send us an email today.

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Semi-Electric Beds

Semi-electric beds are suited to users who have limited mobility, but don’t need to have the height of the bed adjusted on the daily. These kinds of beds allow you to automatically adjust the patient’s head and feet with a remote control thanks to an electric motor. However, height adjustments will need to be made manually with a hand-crank.


- Gives you some freedom of mobility thanks to automatic head and feet adjustments

- It's more affordable than a full electric bed


- Height will need to be adjusted manually using a hand-crank located at the foot of the bed

- It can be quite difficult to adjust the height of the bed if you don’t have enough strength

- A Caregiver is required for height adjustment greatly limiting the patient's independence

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Full-Electric Beds

Like a semi-electric bed, these hospital beds also use a remote control and electric motor to adjust the bed and the positioning of the patient. Unlike a semi-electric bed, however, this bed gives you the option to not only adjust the head and feet of the patient, but the entire bed. This is done by steel cables inside the bed deck that gradually and gently adjust the bed’s height to suit your or your loved ones needs. This means that patients can get in and out of bed with greater ease. Caregivers can also adjust the bed to suit the patient’s personal care needs.


- Patients can easily operate it while lying in bed without any assistance

- No strain on caregivers to adjust the bed

- Doesn’t require any strength to operate or adjust

- Great for patients with mobility issues (and the caregivers who care for them)


- More expensive than other semi- or non-electric beds

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Hi-Low Beds

If you or your loved one is at risk of falling out of the bed without the necessary support, then a hi-low hospital bed is a good option to consider. These beds rise automatically when the patient stands, and give incredible comfort, support, and assistance. This bed features the same convenient measures as a fully-electric bed, with the exception that this one is only 7 inches above the floor. Even when adding a mattress, the fall height from a hi-low bed is a low 13 inches. To give you greater peace of mind, you can opt to include a fall-mat in your hospital bed setup to reduce the risk of injury and fall height even further.


- A lower bed height improves patient safety and reduces falls

- Ideal solution for memory care facilities as well as facilities not allowing rails

- Patient can find the ideal height to exit the bed safely or use a transfer board if necessary


- It has a higher cost than full electric beds

Heavy Duty (Bariatric) Beds

If you need a bed that can support a heavier or larger patient (e.g. between 350 and 1000 lbs.), then you should consider a bariatric hospital bed.

This bed’s frame is specifically designed to support greater weights thanks to its durable, wider and heavy-duty design. This means that the patient can enjoy the same level of comfort and convenience offered by other electric beds.


- It's stronger, wider and more durable specifically made for heavier patients

- It has all the features of a fully electric bed

- Has the same range of convenient features as standard electric beds


- Higher costs than standard electric beds

Short Term Hospital Beds

If you need a hospital bed as a temporary or short-term solution, then you should consider beds that feature a spring bed deck. These types of beds are generally more affordable because you won’t be paying for a range of long-term or complex features that you don’t need.


- Perfectly suitable for short-term use

- The can be used for 2 to 5 years depending on the weight of the patient and how many hours they are in bed daily

- Are more affordable than long-term beds


- Will start to sag and stretch and the bed will have a sagging mattress feel which is uncomfortable and non supportive of the patient

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Long Term Hospital Beds

If you need a hospital bed that can withstand years of constant use and still be comfortable, then you need to invest in a bed that features either a grid, slat, or solid bed deck. These decks will give you the support, comfort, and preventative care you need for years to come.


- The gird, slat and solid decks provide ideal support and comfort to the patient

- The bed deck will maintain its integrity for years thus providing your love one or patient with years of comfort and support

- Features upgraded motors

- Has a sturdy and substantial bedframe

- Won’t need to be replaced thanks to its durable and stable construction


- It has a higher price than a short-term bed due to improved motors and frame

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Foam Prevention Mattresses

Basic foam mattresses or those that have inner springs can lead to bedsores and skin breakdown. This is because they increase the pressure and heat on the patient’s body if they lay in bed for extended periods of time.

A Foam Prevention mattress is perfect for patients who spend the majority of the day in bed or who have severe mobility issues. These mattresses also prevent bedsores and give patients a higher level of comfort.


- Prevents the formation of painful pressure and heat bed sores and provides comfort to your loved one or patient

- A good option for preventative care at an affordable price


- Not useful in patients who have already developed bed sores

Alternating Pressure Mattresses

An alternating pressure mattress provides patients who suffer from ulcers with ways to manage their skin moisture, relieve pressure points, improve blood flow, and increase circulation. These mattresses do this by inflating and deflating individual air cells within the mattress. This means that patients will benefit from better overall health, improved healing, and healthier skin.


- Useful in the treatment of bed sore or skin breakdown in patients

- Improves blood flow and circulation thereby making the skin healthier and promoting healing


- Lesser expensive alternating pressure mattresses will have fewer air cells and lesser quality motors and bladder support

Low Air-Loss Mattresses

Just like an alternating pressure mattress, this mattress is perfectly suited to patients who require ulcer therapy thanks to its pressure relief and skin moisture management features. Air-filled cells allow the patient to “float” on the mattress while enjoy air being circulated by a blower across their skin. This reduces the moisture and heat generated from extended periods in bed, without drying out the therapeutic dressings needed to treat their condition.


- Prevents the formation of heat and moisture ulcers and improves blood flow to areas with existing pressure ulcers

- True Low Air Loss mattresses are more direct in blowing air directly up at the skin. Standard Low Air Loss mattresses will blow air thru-out the whole mattress and isn't as optimal treatment as True Low Air Loss


- On lesser expensive models the blower can be loud as it blows the air thru-out the mattress.

Lateral Rotation Mattresses

This type of mattress gradually and gently rotates the patient from side to side while a blower provides a gentle air flow across their skin to promote healing. This is great for patients who require ulcer therapy and could benefit from relieved pressure points, better digestion, improved circulation, and more. These mattresses could also reduce the risk of a patient facing pulmonary complications.


- Ideal for family members and/or caregivers that need to turn their loved ones every couple hours

- Turn times can be adjusted to turn at various speeds allowing for your loved one to be able to sleep thru the turns

- Provides supplementary benefits of boosting digestion and circulation and reducing the probability of pulmonary complications



- Loud noise from the blower could disturb some patients

Heavy-Duty (Bariatric) Mattresses

Just like a bariatric bed, these mattresses are best suited to patients who weigh between 350 and 1000 lbs. They’re also available in standard form, or can include air-circulating features.


- Can support heavier patients without compromising on features and comfort


- Foam options might be less comfortable and too firm for some patients


Choosing a hospital bed and mattress for your loved one requires a thorough understanding of different factors to ensure you make the best choice. Important factors include your loved ones' needs i.e., how long will they be using the bed and mattress, how mobile they are, their weight, do they need others to take care of them and if so, who will provide the care, are they at risk of falling, the bed’s safety and positioning, features, and your affordability. You must bear in mind that both the bed and the mattress play key roles in providing comfort for your loved ones, so make sure to think about all aspects of care when choosing a bed.

Ready To Choose?

If you’d like us to answer any questions or walk you through our specific products, features, and costs, give us a call at 1-800-535-1322.