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Looking for a hospital bed mattress or curious how they are different from traditional mattresses? Read on to find out everything you need to know before purchasing one.

Hospital beds are commonly used for people with limited or no mobility, severe cardiac conditions, or who are recovering from stroke. Because the head and foot of these beds are adjustable, they enable people to sit up or lie down easily on their own or be repositioned by a caregiver.

For people with mobility issues, adjustable hospital beds can restore a sense of independence, and it can help prevent caregiver injury.

Despite the name, hospital beds are not limited to use in hospitals. They can also be used at home. Read on to learn more, including our picks for the best hospital beds for you or a loved one and what to look for when shopping for a mattress for these beds.

Best value

Drive 15770 Gravity 7 Mattress

Drive 15770 mattress
  • Price: $216.99 (6.6 foot size mattress)
  • Materials: latex free foam, memory foam
  • Type: memory foam
  • Firmness: plush
  • Financing available: yes

With three full layers of supportive latex-free foam for just over $200, the Drive 15770 Gravity 7 mattress is a great choice for budget shoppers. High density foam sides make it easier and safer to move individuals on and off.

An ultra-soft heel section provides extra protection and comfort. This mattress holds up to 300 pounds (lb) and includes an easy-to-clean cover that is water resistant and fire retardant.

Amazon Prime members enjoy free shipping and free returns on this standard-sized mattress, which measures 80 inches (in) long x 36 in wide x 6 in high. Choose from three interest-free financing plans from Amazon Prime Visa, Amazon Store Card, or Affirm.

Best for pressure relief and distribution

Medacure Pressure Redistribution Foam Mattress

medacure pressure foam mattress
  • Price: $349.98 (standard size)
  • Materials: high density memory foam, viscose elastic foam
  • Type: memory foam
  • Firmness: plush
  • Financing available: Yes

The Medacure Pressure Redistribution Foam Mattress is designed to help prevent pressure sores by evenly distributing body weight across the surface. User reviews say the soft, plush mattress, which is made of three layers of high density memory foam and viscose elastic foam, is comfortable.

The hospital-grade nylon cover is removable, washable, antimicrobial, and waterproof. Because it can hold up to 450 lb and is available in five sizes, it is a great choice for people who are larger or taller.

Free shipping and free returns are available for Amazon Prime members. In addition to standard size (80 in L x 36 in W x 6 in H), this mattress is available in four larger sizes. Choose from three interest-free financing plans from Amazon Prime Visa, Amazon Store Card, or Affirm.

Most affordable

Drive Medical 15019 Therapeutic Foam Mattress

drive medical 15019 mattress
  • Price: $198.99
  • Materials: memory foam
  • Type: hybrid
  • Firmness: medium
  • Financing available: yes

The Drive Medical 15019 hospital bed mattress boasts therapeutic features like pressure redistribution and friction reduction without breaking the bank.

The removable, fluid resistant, nylon stretch cover protects the skin from friction and moisture, while the nonskid bottom prevents the mattress from shifting. The mattress is made of supportive memory foam and can support up to 350 lb.

Available in the standard size of 80 in L x 36 in W x 6 in H, this mattress ships free and arrives in approximately 1 week. Choose from three interest-free financing plans from Amazon Prime Visa, Amazon Store Card, or Affirm. This item is not eligible for returns unless it’s damaged or defective upon arrival.

Best fluid resistant mattress

Invacare Softform Premier Mattress

invacare mattress
  • Price: $387.60 (standard size)
  • Materials: high density foam
  • Type: foam
  • Firmness: firm
  • Financing available: yes

The Invacare Softform Premier Mattress has multiple features that protect both the mattress and the skin from moisture. These moisture-fighting features include a coated polyurethane cover, welded seams to prevent fluid from seeping into the mattress, and a 1-in flap that covers and protects the zipper.

This firm mattress can hold up to 500 lb and has a foam U-core that can be replaced if it wears down over time.

Get free shipping and free returns with an Amazon prime membership. This mattress is available in standard size (80 in L x 36 in W x 6 in H) and long size (84 in L x 36 in W x 6 in H). Choose from three interest-free financing plans from Amazon Prime Visa, Amazon Store Card, or Affirm.

Price*MaterialsTypeFirmnessFinancing available
Drive 15770 Gravity 7$216.99 latex free foam, memory foammemory foam plushyes
Medacure Pressure Redistribution Foam Mattress$349.98 high density memory foam, viscose elastic foammemory foam plush yes
Drive Medical 15019 Therapeutic Foam Mattress$198.99memory foamhybridmediumyes
Invacare Softform Premier$387.60high density foamfoamfirmyes

*Prices are accurate at time of publish.

Our picks for hospital mattresses were selected based on price, customer reviews, construction and materials, and product availability. We also made sure that every mattress listed is registered with the FDA. For this article, we looked at over 10 mattresses, and these four passed our rigorous vetting process. When possible, we looked for retailers that offered free shipping, easy returns, and financing options.

Hospital mattresses are considered medical supplies and are often not returnable unless they are damaged or defective.

Are you a caregiver?

Here are some articles to help remind you to take care of yourself. You are important, too!

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Hospital beds are beneficial for preventing injury in both the person using the bed and the caregiver supporting their needs.

For an expert opinion on hospital beds, we consulted Bryan George, a full-time physical therapist assistant at a major hospital system in Portland, Oregon.

He has extensive experience working with people in hospital beds and told us, “The patients I see present at all different levels of mobility. Hospital beds are an incredibly versatile tool as they relate to mobility.”

George points out that hospital beds can be beneficial for all mobility levels: “For instance, some people sleep in a recliner and have a hard time transferring from laying flat in a bed to sitting upright at the side, but can walk laps around the hospital once they’re up.

“In this case, we might use the mechanical bed to help them elevate their torso and get them up and moving. The hospital bed helps us to better meet patients where they currently are, and assist them to a higher level of function.”

There are a variety of health conditions that would make someone a good candidate for a hospital bed, such as a stroke, COPD, or paralysis. A doctor or another trusted healthcare professional can answer questions and help determine if a hospital bed is right for your loved one.

“Quite frequently, a hospital bed is ordered for patients who aren’t expected to regain a great deal of function. Profound strokes, for instance,” says George. “They’re a huge help to caregivers as you can raise and lower the bed surface, easily roll a patient to one side or the other to change the linens or assist with hygiene.”

George also stressed the benefits of hospital beds for a person’s strength and sense of safety. “I come back to the same phrase often, ‘It’s safer for you to be stronger.’

“Patients who need hospital beds have often lost trust in their body, for extremely understandable reasons. Rebuilding that trust can be so hard, but it’s so important. From a rehabilitation standpoint, a hospital bed is a tool that helps patients to safely regain function, not replace it.”

  • Body size: Consider the individual’s height and weight and if they would benefit from a wider or longer mattresses. According to George, the risk of developing pressure ulcers increases if the mattress is too small: “I’m 6’4 and people my height can very easily end up with our feet against the foot plate. That kind of prolonged pressure on hard plastic is a recipe for a pressure ulcer forming.”
  • User mobility: Different beds have different features. Folks who are not mobile may benefit from a bed with extra features.
  • Cleaning and maintenance: Easy clean options — like removable, washable mattress covers — make it easier to keep the bed clean and dry. It’s also helpful to research maintenance and warranty. What happens if the bed breaks? Do you have to schedule regular maintenance checks?
  • Budget: How much can you afford to spend on a hospital mattress? Will insurance cover all or part of the cost? Can you pay over time with a low or no interest financing plan? Before researching options, it’s best to consider what you can pay and how much insurance will cover.
  • Time in bed: If you will be using the hospital bed 24/7 or anticipate using it for many years, you may benefit from a higher end bed with a multi-year warranty. If you need the bed for a few hours a day or overnight, or will only use it in the short term, it may not be necessary to purchase one with extra features.

Pros

  • Caregiver safety: Hospital beds help reduce the caregiver’s risk of repetitive stress injuries or back strain when moving loved ones.
  • Independence: Adjustable beds with buttons can help folks sit up or move positions without help.
  • Fall prevention: They can help reduce the risk of falls and related injuries.

Cons

  • Pressure sores: Pressure sores are common when spending time in bed and can lead to infection, pain, and other complications.
  • Cost: Hospital beds can be expensive, especially if insurance isn’t helping to cover the cost.
  • Bulk: They may be bulkier than traditional beds take up more space.
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Hospital bed mattresses can be an effective tool for various health conditions and mobility issues, but there is a risk of side effects with prolonged use. Pressure sores or pressure ulcers can be a concern for people who spend a lot of time in bed.

“We tend to think of pressure ulcers as things that happen to someone’s heels and sacrum, but they can form anywhere there’s skin,” George explains. “Someone who tends to lean their head to the right too much can get a pressure ulcer on their forehead if it sits against the plastic.”

He adds, “There are two main ways a person might develop a pressure ulcer: Either they lack the physical ability to move their body, or they lack the sensation that prompts them to do so. Without precautionary measures, it is a medical certainty that immobility will result in pressure ulcers due to diminished blood flow to the tissue.”

Most hospitals have a protocol in place to prevent and treat pressure sores.

George outlined his hospital’s protocol, which involves “assessment of a patient’s sensation and mobility, regular visual skin checks, mobilization as tolerated, and a dedicated wound care team.

“Patients who are unable to move themselves might get a ‘Q2 turns’ order, in which we offload a different side of their body every 2 hours with pillows to change where the pressure of their body sits. We also use a ‘waffle’ mattress, which is an inflatable cushion between the mattress and the patient.”

Folks who are not mobile have a higher risk of deconditioning, which is the decline of physical function — including weakening of the muscles — due to lack of physical activity.

Physical therapy and occupational therapy can help reduce the risk of deconditioning. Other common concerns include blood clots, poor circulation and constipation, or other digestive issues.

If prescribed by a doctor, insurance will often cover at least part of the cost of a hospital bed mattress. Check with the insurance company to determine coverage.

In most cases, Medicare Part B will cover 80% of the cost of hospital bed mattresses.

Most hospital bed mattresses are between 6 and 7 in thick. This allows for them to be flexible enough to move with the adjustable bed frame.

In hospital settings, hospital bed mattresses are very similar to the consumer grade mattresses described in this article. Most hospitals will have a variety of mattresses on hand, and their mattresses may be heavier duty in order to withstand years of use.

Some hospital bed mattresses are the same size as a twin mattress, but most are longer in length, equivalent to a twin XL, or wider.

The biggest concern for people who are not mobile is pressure sores. A mattress specifically designed to alleviate pressure and allow for airflow is likely the best mattress for their needs.

The right hospital bed mattress can help with mobility, safety, and independence. Take into account your budget and your medical needs to find the best option for you or your loved ones. If you’re still unsure about which option to choose, ask a doctor for guidance.


Ash Fisher is a writer and comedian living with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. When she’s not having a wobbly-baby-deer day, she’s hiking with her corgi, Vincent. Learn more about her on her website.