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Hospital Beds Vs. Long-term Care Beds: Which One to Choose?

Apr. 13, 2022

Healthcare beds play an important role in the rehabilitation and care of patients, so it is important to choose the right healthcare bed for the patient's medical needs. However, the difference between a hospital bed and a nursing home bed or long-term care bed is not well understood by the public.


While both hospital beds and long-term care beds are designed to maximize healing, comfort, ergonomics, and mobility while minimizing the risk of falls, they meet different medical needs and patients depending on whether they require inpatient or outpatient care or palliative or rehabilitative care.


Here we will explain the differences between the two types of beds and how to choose the right one for your specific needs.

Long-term Care Bed  

Long-term Care Bed


What is a hospital bed?

A hospital bed is a bed specifically designed to meet the needs of inpatients. Their special function serves a dual purpose; patient comfort and health care provider convenience.


Their unique feature is that they can be raised or lowered from the head as well as the feet of the bed. Raising the bed at the head, commonly known as the Fowler’s position, allows the patient to sit up straight. Beds with raised feet elevate the patient's lower extremities, which may be a requirement for certain medical conditions.


Hospital beds also have adjustable side rails that can prevent patients from falling out of bed or allow them to get in and out of bed easily by adjusting the rails. Some hospital beds are also equipped with a built-in control panel on the side rails or headboard that allows patients or medical staff to adjust the bed without having to manually do so. The control panel can also be used to control other elements in the room, such as the TV, air conditioning, fans, or lighting.


Most hospital beds also have lockable wheels that make it easy to move the bed around the room or facility for treatment.

Long-term Care Bed

Long-term Care Bed


What is a long-term care bed?

A long-term care bed is exactly what the name implies: a bed designed for long-term care. Long-term care beds are commonly used in nursing homes, palliative care facilities, assisted living centers, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes.


They are used for patients who have fully recovered from a hospital discharge or for patients who do not require emergency medical care but are still unable to move around or perform daily functions such as eating and bathing on their own. These patients need a different type of bed to meet their specific needs and conditions, and that's where long-term care beds come in.


Long-term care beds or nursing home beds are available in different sizes depending on the patient's height, weight, and body type. These beds also have special high/low features that can raise them higher off the floor or lower them to just a few inches off the floor. This is especially helpful for patients with dementia or other mental health conditions.  

The genteel Long-term care bed is equipped with a wall guard and side rail. Turning and rotating could be adjustable electrically. Long-term care bed functions are operated with a 12-button hand pendant including the function of head up and down, foot up and down, bed deck up and down, side roll-over, chair rotation, and light on/off.

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Nursing home beds can also be customized with accessories such as custom mattresses, soft-touch rails, lighting, headboards, and more for the convenience of patients and caregivers.


View more information about the best long-term care bed, click here.   

Hospital Beds vs. Long Term Care Beds

There are many differences between hospital beds and nursing home beds or long-term care beds that make them suited for different purposes and needs. As the name implies, the main difference is that hospital beds are used for inpatient care or outpatient care, while the latter is used in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, but there are also significant differences in their construction, design, functionality, and customization.


Nursing home beds can also be customized using a variety of bed accessories, whereas hospital beds are not as easy to customize. This makes nursing home beds more suitable for long-term medical care because they can provide a higher level of safety, comfort, and ergonomics for patients and caregivers. The high/low feature or height adjustability of long-term care beds also sets them apart from hospital beds, which do not typically have this feature.  

How to Use Long-term Care Beds

Long-term Care Beds

Choosing the right medical bed for you

By now, you should have understood the main differences between hospital beds and nursing home beds or long-term care beds, and who they benefit from. Hospital beds are more suitable for patients who require medical procedures or emergency medical care, while nursing home beds are suitable for patients who require long-term palliative care and assisted living or even short-term rehabilitation care.


Nursing home beds are also more appropriate for patients with obesity and chronic physical or cognitive impairments or injuries (e.g., spinal cord injury, dementia, etc.) because they need to be height adjustable to facilitate getting in and out of bed as well as large and small beds to move around comfortably. Nursing home beds also easily accommodate children as they are also available in small sizes, making these beds suitable for all ages.


Deciding whether you need a hospital bed or a long-term care bed can be daunting. But we hope our handy guide will help you choose the right medical bed for your purposes and get the best care and comfort you need.


Genteel is a professional manufacturer dedicated to the design, development, and production of rehabilitation medical equipment, specializing in rollators, walkers, patient lifts, shower chairs, home-care beds, and crutches. If you still need help, Genteel is always here to support you, contact us for a free consultation and get the support you need from our team of experts.