Hospital Beds

To download Hospital Bed instructions click here
For Bed Side Rail instructions click here
For Trapeze Bar instructions click here

If the patient will be spending most of the day in bed, an adjustable hospital bed is essential. It will allow the patient to sit up in bed for feeding, reading, conversation, and other daytime activities and may assist them in breathing or preventing choking. The ability to change position can also help to minimize pressure sores and to help relieve fatigue. The hospital bed may also be raised or lowered to give the caregiver easier access to the patient or for ease of transfer.

A hospital bed is higher than a regular bed and it rolls easily on wheels. There are three kinds of hospital beds available: manual, semi-electric and fully electric.

Electric hospital beds let patients who are weak or injured elevate the head or feet without physical effort or caregiver’s help, and this improves breathing and circulation. The principle advantage of the electric bed is that the patient can adjust positions easily.


Most hospital bed mattresses include a water proof cover. If yours do not, you may want to consider adding one. When a patient is using the bed constantly, the caregiver should turn the mattress from end to end and over on a weekly basis. At this time, also wipe the mattress cover with a disinfecting solution. Be sure to unplug an electric bed before cleaning it or the mattress.

Bed Rails

Bed rails are an essential safety aid to keep the patient from accidentally falling out of bed. They also provide a handhold for the patient to aid in positioning. While some manufacturers’ beds have bed rails specifically for their beds, most beds use a universal bed rail that has its own frame. Universal rails work with almost any hospital bed.


On semi-electric models the remote control has four buttons. One pair of buttons operates the headspring section; the other pair operates the foot section. In each pair, one button raises, and the other one lowers the bed. The function of each button is indicated on the remote control. The semi-electric models have a manual crank system to raise and lower bed height.

Before elevating the head section, it is always wise to elevate the thighs first, by raising the foot section slightly. This prevents the patient from sliding down in the bed. Raising the thighs and flexing the knees in this manner also provides a more comfortable position for most individuals.

Raising or lowering the height of the bed can make getting in or out of the bed much easier. If the patient is using an ambulation aid, such as a walker or cane, the bed height can be increased to make reaching a stable standing position much safer and easier. This allows the caregiver to concentrate his or her efforts on assisting the patient rather than with struggling to lift the individual up to a standing position.

For transfers to and from a wheelchair or bedside commode the bed height can be set slightly higher for transfers out of the bed, and slightly lower for transfers back into bed. This makes transfers easier by using the assistance of gravity.

It is extremely important that the wheel locks be applied on the two locking casters any time the patient is entering or leaving the bed to prevent the bed from rolling away and causing a fall. Even with these locks applied, patients who are unstable on their feet should not attempt to enter or exit the bed without assistance. Even though the wheels may not turn, the casters may slide on the floor, allowing the bed to shift, causing an accident. An attendant or caregiver should be present to assist the patient and to help stabilize the bed.

In addition to being helpful with transfers, the bed height can be raised to reduce bending or stooping by the caregiver when assisting the patient with turning or changing positions in bed. This is also helpful during bathing feeding, and other bedside care.

When assisting a patient to turn in bed side rails should be in the up and locked position and the bed set at a height that permits the caregiver to reach over the rails and to roll the patient toward them. Never assist by rolling the patient toward the opposite side of the bed.

• Keep the side rails up. Side rails prevent injury that may result from falling out of bed. They also give a person something to grasp when changing position. You can lower the side rails when caring for the person or making the bed, but they should remain up at most other times.

• Lock the wheels to keep the bed securely in place. Unlock the wheels only when moving the bed. After repositioning the bed, relock the wheels.

• Know how to use the emergency crank. Most electric beds have a manual emergency crank to adjust the bed if a malfunction or power failure leaves it stuck in one position. The crank can also be used during transport.

• To prevent shocks, always unplug an electric hospital bed before washing it or the mattress.

• Keep a bedside call bell and/or a telephone with an emergency number near the bed. In an emergency, a bedridden person must be able to get help.



A side rail is a safety device to prevent the patient from rolling out of bed. They should never be
used as a restraint device.
There will be a gap between the side rail and the mattress when the head spring is elevated. This
is normal.


The rails are lowered by pulling out on the pull buttons or plungers. Care should be exercised not
to catch the patient’s hands or feet in the rails as they are lowered. It is wise to hold the rail with
one hand, while releasing the latch with the other, so that the rail can be lowered slowly and in a
controlled manner.
To raise the rail simply lift up the center until the plungers snap into the holes in the rail. Visually
check to confirm the plungers are securely seated.
Some bed rails permit the head rail to be raised independently of the foot rail to provide a half
rail effect if desired.
When assisting a patient to turn on to their side, the rails should be in the up and locked position.
The caregiver should stand on the side toward which the patient is to be turned-then reach over
the rail and pull to provide the needed assistance. Providing this assistance can be made much
easier by first adjusting the bed to a convenient height.

To make the bed:

· Lower the rail on the side.
· Drop the linen between the rails and the mattress.
· Tuck the linen and blankets.
· Raise the rail to the up position.
· Follow the same procedure on the opposite side.

Periodic lubrication of the sliding and telescoping parts of the rails with silicone spray will
keep them operating easily and smoothly. Only silicone spray should be used for this lubrication
procedure. Similar petroleum based sprays such as WD-40 will soil the bed linens.


A trapeze bar is intended to provide the patient with a means of self help to change position in
bed and to move onto a bedpan. Try to avoid using the trapeze to transfer into the bed. The
trapeze is not designed to be pulled from the side and could possibly cause the trapeze clamps to
dislodge from the headboard.
Both patient and caregivers should give careful consideration to the adjustment of the grab bar
position before the delivery person leaves your home. This will prevent the need to loosen the
clamps to readjust the trapeze bar later, with the risk of either not getting the clamps tightened
securely, or tightening them so tight that damage to the equipment results. Damage such as
stripped threads or fractured clamps, can result in equipment failure and possible injury to the
user. All clamps should be checked daily to ensure that they are securely tight.
When the head of the bed is elevated or when the caregiver is working with the patient in bed,
the triangular grab bar can be placed out of the way by hooking it over the upper end of the offset
bar and sliding it back toward the head of the bed.


If your trapeze bar is installed on a floor stand (free standing), rather than being installed directly
onto the head of the bed, you should be aware that it is not secured to the bed and may shift if
pulled horizontally instead of vertically.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this education material or the Bed, please contact our office. Thank you.

843 Parallel Drive
Lakeport, CA 95453
(707) 263-9888 Phone
(707) 263-9889 Fax
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Respiratory Therapy
  • CPAPs
  • BiPAPs
  • Concentrators
  • Portable Oxygen Systems
  • Nebulizers
  • Suctioning Units
  • Oximeters

Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
  • Hospital Beds
  • Bed Accessories
  • Wheelchairs
  • Walkers & Canes
  • Patient Lifts
  • CPMs (Continuous Passive Motion)