Specific questions for hospital bed search

Fusia

Distinguished member
Forum Supporter
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
119
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
08/2019
Country
US
State
MT
City
Big sky country
I've mentioned recently in a few posts that I am in search of a hospital bed. I've searched and read threads on this forum about what to look for in a bed/mattress, and have looked at many online providers about specific bed models. One of my issues is that the Medicare approved DME providers in my geographic area carry very few options - typically one or two of the lower end models with minimal functions. So, I am considering finding the bed I want online and paying for it out of pocket, then getting the mattress I want through my local DME since I believe they have more options available for mattresses.

Given all that, I have some specific questions about choosing a bed and mattress:
1. It's been suggested in a resource guide here and in some threads that I should look for a bed with LINAK motor(s).
A. Why is that suggested, and how critical is that?
B. The bed specs that I see online do not indicate what kind of motors are used. What's the best way to find out?
C. Are there certain brands that specifically use LINAK motors?
D. I read that LINAK motors are used in some of the more consumer-oriented beds, and that LINAK now has app controlled functionality. Are there any more medically-oriented beds that now offer the LINAK app control?

2. The functions I'm looking at include up/down for head, legs, overall height, as well as Trendelenburg/Reverse Trendelenburg. I also saw one bed which allowed manually raising the foot section, which helped with swelling in the feet - this seems like a useful function, as well.
A. Would you recommend getting the function allowing the foot section to be raised?
B. Is this set of functions reasonable?
C. Should I consider any other functions?

3. I am about 5'5", so I think the 80 inch length would suffice for me. I'm considering the 42 inch width. Fortunately, space is not an issue in my bedroom. Does that wider width make it easier or more difficult for caregivers?

4. Does anyone have any specific recommendations for a make/model that would match what I'm looking for?

5. Mattress: Since I live alone and I don't plan to have an overnight caregiver at least for a while, I'm thinking the alternating air pressure sleeping surface might be a good choice for me - it would reduce the need for me to be moved throughout the night.
A. Assuming I go that route, should I go with an air pressure mattress or just an air pressure overlay on top of a standard mattress?
B. Would the air mattress be a better choice given that I would be going through Medicare?
C. Do you have any specific recommendations for a good make/model or what features to look for/avoid?
 

lgelb

Moderator
Forum Supporter
Joined
Nov 5, 2009
Messages
9,733
Reason
Lost a loved one
Diagnosis
00/0000
Country
US
State
WA
City
Seattle
I think I'm the one that touts LINAK actuators --just that they are considered reliable and a bed is something that you want to be reliable. If you Google LINAK hospital beds or brands or something like that, you will find good options.

At your height, 80" is fine but I would question the 42" and go for 36-38" depending on the model. For transfers, reaching in, etc. extra width is more trouble than it's worth.

Low air loss surfaces, available as both mattresses and overlays, are superior to alternating pressure if you have or are at risk for pressure injury. Note Medicare won't pay for either unless you actually have a pressure injury.

However, for the average PALS, my view is that you do not need either one if you have adequate foam cushioning on all your bony prominences/joints, such as feet, ankles, knees, forearm, elbows, and possibly hips if yours roll out of alignment. Often that starts with a latex or other pressure-relieving foam overlay, depending on how hot you sleep, your climate, humidity, etc. In other words, PALS get turned because they are in pain from pressure, and if you keep pressure from building up in what started out as a comfortable position, turning should not be required.

Obviously, this won't apply to everyone, but I would consider it the default position to try before you spend on surfaces that you may find less comfortable than a more traditional one.

Re the separate foot thing [which is a relatively new gimmick], foot swelling should be addressed with pressure boots that can be connected with a soft tie to prevent flopping. We used Sage's Prevalon. If you just elevate the feet, you are not keeping the heels from pressure like the boots do. The legs are connected (obviously!) so when you elevate the legs as part of that comfortable position you are reducing edema risk overall as well as creating a more stable position than if you just try to play with the foot separately.
 
Last edited:

nona

Senior member
Forum Supporter
Joined
Oct 1, 2018
Messages
525
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
02/2015
Country
US
State
NH
City
New London
I have the bottom of the line, Medicare-funded bed with the standard foam mattress and a natural latex overlay. I sleep on my side with my upper body raised and I am blissfully comfortable once positioned (body pillow plus one between my knees, one behind my back, and a thin pillow under my head). The only pressure point has been my ear, so we cut a hole in my pillow. The bed raises and lowers with a crank that we've used maybe twice in two years. Aside from looks, IMO the biggest flaw in the cheap model is the lack of firm edges.

I tried both kinds of alternating air mattresses --the whole mattress and the overlay -- and I didn't like either oneone. Both were too rubbery and hot, and the movement and pump noise kept me awake. Also the full mattress cannot be used with a greater than 30 degree angle, so if you need the torso lift it might not work. And lastly, the "off" setting won't last all night, so if you had no pressure problems and just wanted to use it as a mattress, the model I tried wouldn't allow it.
 

swalker

Very helpful member
Joined
Dec 11, 2014
Messages
1,292
Reason
DX MND
Diagnosis
07/2014
Country
US
State
CO
City
Vail
I have an older Hill Rom Advance 1135 hospital bed. It has all the features you mention you want as well as an automatically adjusting air mattress that is supposed to help prevent pressure sores. I used to have issues with pressure sores on my heels. Since using the bed, I have had no such issues.

I really like it. While mine was donated to me via the ALSA by a CALS (who is also a friend) who lost her husband, this was a model of bed I had already identified through my previous research. When her PALS passed, she donated the bed to the ALSA. After 7 years, the ALSA had never picked it up and she wanted it gone. She coordinated with the ALSA to make the donation happen, which we very much appreciated. We paid to have the bed moved from her house to ours, which was about $1,500 (she lives over 100 miles away).

Note that it was quite a challenge to get the bed into our house. The thing is very large and unwieldy! There were very strong men in the crew that moved it out of her house, but only 3 in the crew that moved it into our house. Three strong men was really not sufficient. They did quite a bit of damage getting it into the house (both to the house and to the bed).

We could not get Medicare to pay for the kind of bed I thought I needed, so we were determined to go a different route. I researched beds and found that used, reconditioned hospital beds are surprisingly affordable. You might want to look into this.

Steve
 

lgelb

Moderator
Forum Supporter
Joined
Nov 5, 2009
Messages
9,733
Reason
Lost a loved one
Diagnosis
00/0000
Country
US
State
WA
City
Seattle
Steve makes a good point. The beds are usually pretty solid and last a while if they are not thrown around. I sold Larry's bed, which I bought on line, to an adult care home who in turn sold it at cost to the family of one of their Alzheimer's patients who needed one. Medicare would not pay and the family had limited funds. They put it on a pickup truck and drove it 200 miles. They are actually not too hard to disassemble, which we had to have someone do when we moved it to a different room early in its life. And it had already been shipped cross-country before that.
 

Fusia

Distinguished member
Forum Supporter
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
119
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
08/2019
Country
US
State
MT
City
Big sky country
Thanks, Laurie and Steve, this was all really useful information for me - it really helped me to get my head to stop spinning! I have been looking at refurbished and reconditioned beds today - that probably makes the most sense in order to get the functions I would like, while paying out of pocket. I think I'm zeroing in on Hill Rom and Joerns. I still need to investigate a little more on the mattress…

I was the admin assistant for a few years to the fire chief at a local volunteer fire department until I was diagnosed - so, I could easily round up several young, strong men to help move the bed into the house, if needed.😊
 

Fusia

Distinguished member
Forum Supporter
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
119
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
08/2019
Country
US
State
MT
City
Big sky country
Thanks, Jessie, really good information on your experience with the air mattress and overlay. I also am most comfortable sleeping on my side, but right now I'm not able to stay asleep for more than 90 to 120 minutes before I need to turn over to the other side. It's difficult for me to get pillows situated, since I don't yet have the caregiver helping me get into bed at night. I will probably start with a lower tech mattress and upgrade if I need to down the line.
 

lgelb

Moderator
Forum Supporter
Joined
Nov 5, 2009
Messages
9,733
Reason
Lost a loved one
Diagnosis
00/0000
Country
US
State
WA
City
Seattle
Also, on the subject of discounted beds, Electropedic, and I'm sure other companies, have half-price bed pages on their Web site. There are decent DME sites such as SpinLife, Rehabmart, and PHC Online whose deals rotate with mfr rebates, closeouts and the like.

You always want to have a "medical foam" mattress, (preferably chosen based on your weight, usually included with the bed), and if you live in an area subject to power outages, even if you can sign up for the "medical equipment list" with the power company, you may want to think about the battery backup feature.
 
Last edited:

KimT

Extremely helpful member
Forum Supporter
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Messages
4,147
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
08/2015
Country
US
State
South
City
The Beach
Laurie, great point about the battery backup. When our power went out my lift chair was in the down position. I'm so used to having my legs elevated during the day, I spent a lot of time in bed.

I've had an adjustable bed for a little over 10 years. I bought it because of a C5/C6 herniation and subsequent bothersome neck and shoulder pain. I watch TV in bed so it has served me well. I bought a rubber mattress that was quite expensive (gone are the days when I could flip it myself) and an overlay that is not hot in temperature for about $200 on Amazon. I've had to buy a new overlay since the first one and I also bought a very fluffy mattress cover. I sleep in my back and right side. I can't sleep on my left side due to it giving me heart palpitations and my left shoulder has a torn rotator cuff. Presently, I switch frequently from my back to my right side during the night. I sleep flat.

I'm not sure what I will do when I need a hospital bed but this thread has helped me a great deal. If the motor in my current bed goes, I'll go to a hospital bed at that time whether I need it or not. The motor was around $1,500 but it has ridiculous features like massage. The rubber mattress bends so I can sit upright in bed and I like that feature. It also has no odor which is important to me when looking for a new mattress. I can't tell you how many mattresses I've sent back or given away due to the odor. Fortunately, the ones I've tried during the past 20 years all had a generous return policy.

I've always considered beds a very important item since we spend so much time there.
 

Fusia

Distinguished member
Forum Supporter
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
119
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
08/2019
Country
US
State
MT
City
Big sky country
I wanted to just briefly close the loop on my original Post, to let people know what I ended up with… Like most things these days, it seemed to take an inordinate amount of effort for me to get this done. I found an online site that cells refurbished and reconditioned hospital beds. After viewing a number of their really good videos on specific beds and talking to their sales manager, I made a decision and sent an email to the sales manager telling him I wanted to buy this particular bed. A week later, I hadn't heard anything, so I checked in with them - they were still waiting on getting a shipping quote, but they would get back to me with that in a few days. Another week later, I still hadn't heard anything, so I canceled the sale. (I never did receive a response from them.)

Then, I went back to my original plan of buying a new bed. I narrowed my choices down to two options. I called an online seller, and asked the customer service agent to briefly walk-through the differences between the two beds, but I was ready to make a decision. He promptly told me I needed to consider a third bed that he thought would be a great option for me. It was a good option, except for the fact that the headboard was not removable - I wanted someone to be able to get behind me to help with stretching and breathing exercises if needed. I knew my two initial options had that feature. The customer service guy argued with me in an email that I would need tools to remove the headboard on those two beds - I knew this wasn't true, because I had read the owners manual's. So, I wrote them off. I couldn't believe how difficult it was to get somebody to take my money!

I finally made the decision on my own between the two beds I was considering, found a third online site and just ordered it myself - I wanted to keep other human beings out of the process. I also ordered a decent foam mattress.

What I did end up buying was the Joernes Ultra Care XT bed. It had the features I wanted, and is relatively light in weight compared to the reconditioned hospital beds (which typically weighed 500 to 600 pounds). That will make it relatively easy to get into my bedroom and easier to donate down the line. While it hasn't been delivered yet, I don't know the final outcome, but I do hope this ordeal has a happy ending.😊
 

affected

Guru status reached
Joined
Apr 26, 2013
Messages
12,997
Reason
Lost a loved one
Diagnosis
05/2013
Country
OZ
State
AU
City
lala land
What an ordeal.
Please do let us know how you find it once it arrives and you have used it a little. I truly hope it gives all you need.
 

Jimi

Distinguished member
Joined
Sep 24, 2019
Messages
164
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
02/2015
Country
US
State
CA
City
Torrance
Linak apparently offers a Bluetooth adapter for some of their control boxes. This would be useful for those who can't push buttons on the wired remote but can still control their phone/computer via head movement or eyegaze. You could control wirelessly via smartphone. Google "The Bluetooth® Adapter BLE2LIN002". I'm not sure if your new bed is compatible. I looked through the specs but didn't see the motor and control specs.
 

Fusia

Distinguished member
Forum Supporter
Joined
Oct 26, 2019
Messages
119
Reason
PALS
Diagnosis
08/2019
Country
US
State
MT
City
Big sky country
Thanks, @Jimi, I'm not sure either if it has Linak motors, but I will consider that when I get the bed. At worst case, I figured I could use the switchbot button pushers as a somewhat low tech approach as someone else outlined in a different thread.
 
Top