How Do I Choose the Best Hospital Mattress?

Judith Smith Sullivan

The best hospital mattress will meets your needs for comfort, fit into your budget, and offer additional features to increase the functionality and convenience of your bed. Hospital mattresses are sometimes called adjustable beds. They are available at many mattress retailers, both in stores and online.

Hospital bed mattresses are typically thin, but designed to support bed-bound patients.
Hospital bed mattresses are typically thin, but designed to support bed-bound patients.

Before you begin shopping, decide on your budget. A mattress is a big investment, and a hospital mattress is usually more expensive than a traditional mattress. You may be tempted to purchase a cheap mattress, but consider the warranty before you buy. Companies that know their mattresses don't last more than a few years are reluctant to offer more than a five year warranty. If you have to replace a mattress after a few years, you won't save yourself any money and you'll have the extra hassle of shopping for a mattress all over again.

Coil springs resemble ringlets in shape, and may be found in beds.
Coil springs resemble ringlets in shape, and may be found in beds.

Typically, a good mattress will have a warranty of ten years or longer. It should also come as a set with a box spring. If it is double sided, meaning the padding is the same on both sides of the mattress, a hospital mattress can usually be rotated and flipped. This will also extend the life of the mattress.

As with any other mattress, individuals have different preferences when it comes to firmness. If you have a good idea of what you like, whether it's downy cushioning or a firm support, search for those characteristics. This can help you save time while shopping. Of course, try other styles to compare as you may find that your preferences have changed.

The material from which a hospital mattress is made will vary. It can be foam core, coil springs, latex based, memory foam, or some other type of material. Latex is resistant to mites and allergens and memory foam is usually a good choice from those that suffer from acute aches and pains. Spring coils help to reduce transfer of motion throughout the bed. The best way to find out which suits you is to try them out in a store.

Apart from the variety in price and style, hospital beds also have a wide variety of extra features. For instance, some hospital beds are adjustable at the head and foot of the bed. This is especially useful if you have medical reasons for elevating your feet. Another feature is the separate king sized hospital bed. These typically come in two sections, so that both individuals can adjust their bed to their own comfort level without disturbing the other.

A hospital bed may also have integrated heating or massage options. If you choose a bed with one or both of these features, make sure that there is an automatic shut off time. It is not uncommon for an individual to fall asleep with a heater on, which can pose health risks.

Wireless remotes are another convenient option on a hospital bed. This allows you to set the remote in an easy to reach area so you don't have to struggle to control the bed. One disadvantage is that it is easier to lose the remote. You may also wish to choose a bed with a back up battery supply, so that you can adjust your hospital mattress even if you lose power.

Hospital mattresses should be comfortable and flexible to adjust with the bed.
Hospital mattresses should be comfortable and flexible to adjust with the bed.

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Discussion Comments


For most people, getting a hospital mattress for themselves or a loved one means, as Grivusangel mentioned, that there will be a major change in mobility. Because of this, the buyers should have a long talk with the medical supply people. They really are qualified to advise on the best mattresses for the situation.

Renting a bed for a short term issue may be a good solution, but if the circumstances mean there will be a long term decrease in mobility, then the buyers should look for comfort, ease of maintenance and so forth. A massage function is nice, if the doctor says it's all right. Some people don't need to have massage.

If the bed is merely an adjustable bed and will not be used to care for an invalid, then it all comes down to comfort and what suits the buyer.


One thing you definitely want to take care of is to make sure the mattress is constructed so as not to make someone more prone to developing bedsores, if they will probably be bedridden for a while.

Of course, you have to make sure the person changes position, but making sure a mattress doesn't promote bedsores is very important.

You can usually do this by checking with the medical supply store you're buying the bed from. A representative can usually give good advice on what mattresses are good for people who will not be up and around much. I'm told that memory foam mattresses are good because they tend to mold around a person's body, and don't allow too much stress on pressure points like the hips, where bedsores are more apt to form.

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