Adjustable beds and hospital beds can tilt upward or down both at the head and feet. The heights of adjustable beds can also be raised and lowered to comfort and specifications, allowing for easier transfer. A bona-fide hospital bed is actually considered a medical device and is therefore FDA-regulated. Increasingly, retail adjustable beds are able to be used in the exact same ways as hospital beds, or very similarly, but they’re held to a different set of standards by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Although they may be comparable products, insurance will usually only cover an FDA-approved product.
We spend a lot of time distancing adjustable beds from medical uses, because they can be such a good preventative measure: the idea is to present them as a healthy choice, not something you resort to when ill. But they are equally useful in either circumstance, so lets look at some of the benefits of adjustable beds from a medical perspective for folks suffering with ALS, since that’s been in the news lately.
Be honest about the person’s situation: Can they walk? Has regular day-to-day activity become strained? Can they shift positions in bed by themselves? Can a nurse provide assistance to the person without straining their own back? If you’re answering “yes” to one or more of these, it might not be necessary for an adjustable bed yet. But, conversely, getting an adjustable bed early and letting the individual get comfortable with it and it’s controls may make for an easier time when their health worsens.
The benefits of adjustable beds are widely discussed, from better posture to a cure for snoring. But with specific regard to ALS, a raised head allows easier breathing for someone experiencing respiratory challenges, and raised lower body can help alleviate swelling. Additionally, and especially for family and medical staff, the changeable heights of adjustable beds means a much easier time for dressing, sponge bathing and toilet use.