When the time comes to get a hospital bed at home for yourself or a loved one, you will likely feel a little daunted. Fear not, this guide will give you a really good understanding of all the possible ways of getting a hospital bed and what you need to do get one. There are a number of instances where a hospital bed may be needed in the home:
- Following discharge from hospital or a care home
- Medical condition progresses and requires assistive equipment
- Specified by a carer or occupational therapist
Firstly, it is important to know that you are not alone and that your hospital, care home or local council will be there to offer you support. There is a constant demand for beds that assist mobility in the home and the life changing impact they can have definitely makes the effort worthwhile.
This guide will take you through seven different ways to get a hospital bed for the home. Not all will apply in your circumstances but it is good to know and consider all the options.
1. Provided by your local council or hospital care team
Your local council’s care team will be able to provide you with a hospital bed if there is an undoubted need. They will likely send a member of the local community assessment team or an occupational therapist to come and carry out an assessment on you and your home. Providing they can see sufficient need, they will be able to organise a hospital bed for you and also assess whether you need other mobility equipment in your home.
Every council has a team dedicated to providing equipment for the home, and if you visit your local council’s website or give them a call, they will be able to give you advice and arrange a home assessment. The council may fund new equipment or provide you with short-term equipment through a loan store service (see below).
2. Community equipment service (loan store)
You may only require a hospital bed for a short while, in which case a community equipment service would be able to help. These services are run by region and are operated by equipment suppliers who enter a contract with the local authority to supply and collect equipment in people’s homes. To see if you can apply for short-term loan equipment, speak to your contact at the hospital, a district nurse or local neighbourhood care team.
3. Disabled Facilities Grant
When being issued equipment by a local council or hospital, all mobile equipment and equipment up to the value of £1000 is free. This means you should not pay for a hospital bed, but if you require related equipment such as a stair lift, you may want to consider having equipment supplied through a Disabled Facilities Grant.
This is a government grant and is means tested so you may have to contribute to the costs. Find out more on gov.uk: Disabled Facilities Grant.
4. Purchase your own
This is by far the most straightforward and hassle-free option if you have the financial means. Buying a hospital bed for the home from an equipment supplier means you can purchase a bed that suits your exact needs and you will have it fitted in your home far quicker than a bed provided by the hospital or council. Also, you can choose a bed that is more like of a piece of furniture rather than the ‘hospital-like’ beds supplied from a loan store. However, expect to be paying at least £800 for a bed and a mattress, and that can range up to £5000, especially if you need a specialist air mattress and advanced functionality from the bed.
Speak to your occupational therapist, GP or hospital consultant about the type of bed and mattress you need. The bed supplier will also be able to give you advice on what products would best meet your requirements.
Related Guide: How to Buy a Hospital Bed and Mattress for Your Home
5. Funded by a charity
If you are buying a hospital bed yourself, either because you need the bed quickly or are have been unsuccessful in getting authority support, you may want to speak to a charity that issues grants for home equipment. Charities require the grant recipient to be in need of the equipment and also in financial need.
An example charity is Independence at Home.
6. Hire for short-term needs
If you only need a hospital bed in your home for a short time, renting is an excellent option. Choose a supplier who will come and fit the bed and collect it once you are finished.
7. Purchase second hand
Buying a new bed outright can be costly and may not be an option if you do not have the finances. A cost-effective option is to buy a bed that has already been used. Browse around online, you may be surprised at the amount of second hand care beds you will find on sites such as eBay, Gumtree, and Preloved. Alternatively, buy from a supplier who buys back old beds and re-sells them as refurbished.