By the end of this decade, one in five Americans will be age 65 and older. This changing demographic means there will be a substantial increase in health care needs for the elderly, including access to medical and health care devices in one’s home. This is already evident in the demand for home hospital beds and other durable medical equipment (DME).


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A home hospital bed can greatly improve the quality of life for those living with debilitating health conditions or who are recovering from accidents or medical treatments. Hospital beds are different from a home adjustable bed or lounge bed.

Adjustable and electronic beds for seniors can be adequate for individuals who need some extra mobility assistance, as well as adjustable support and comfort, however, these beds may not be suitable for someone with significant medical care requirements. Choosing beds for the elderly at home will require some careful assessment of individual needs.

For example, if the individual is mobile and does not need to spend many of their waking hours in bed, then an adjustable mattress may be sufficient for comfort, support, and moderate mobility assistance. Conversely, if an individual will need extended periods of bed rest or if they are mostly immobile due to their condition, a home hospital bed may be integral to their quality of life and the provision of adequate care.

To determine whether a hospital bed for the home will be a necessity, it’s best to speak with a health care provider who is familiar with the case specifics.

The Necessity Of The Home Hospital Bed

In general, an in-home hospital bed is specially equipped to accommodate a wide range of positional changes, height levels, and easy portability over short distances. This makes it possible for patients with mobility limitations to be helped in and out of the bed more easily and for care to be administered more efficiently.

Hospital bed frames and mattresses also allow for rest with adequate support and transportation to different areas. A hospital bed mattress may also be equipped with health monitoring and condition-specific amenities, such as a built-in scale, pressure-reducing pads, and communication assistance technology.

Hospital beds place priority on utility over esthetics and are designed to be easy to clean. Depending on the model, hospital bed frames can accommodate add-on equipment, including electronic lifts, handles and rails, tables and surfaces, etc. All of these attributes mean that hospital beds, including the mattress and frame, can be a major expense.

For many seniors and elderly patients who are living on a fixed income and already dealing with other care costs, the prospect of buying a new home hospital bed can be daunting. New in-home hospital beds start in the $1500 range at their most basic and cost $10,000 or greater at the more advanced level.

But, when long-term in-hospital stays are not realistic, and a lower-cost adjustable bed won’t fit patient needs, a hospital bed for home often becomes a necessity. Under these circumstances, there are few options for getting discounted, reduced, or free hospital beds.

How To Get Free Hospital Beds For The Elderly And Disabled 

Some health insurance programs may cover all or part of home hospital bed expenses. Depending on the specific case, Medicare may cover home hospital beds for the elderly at home. Medicare may also cover some semi-electronic adjustable beds for seniors as part of DME coverage.

Medicaid will sometimes cover home hospital beds for individuals with disabilities and/or those who have demonstrable financial needs. In either case, full or partial cost coverage depend on whether a doctor certifies the DME as necessary for the patient based on their specific condition. Other health insurance providers will also require a health care provider to prescribe a home hospital bed as DME before any coverage or reimbursement is provided.

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Medical insurance is not the only way to get low-cost or free hospital beds; options include charities and non-profits, senior care and humanitarian organizations, and programs that are dedicated to helping certain demographics, such as veterans, cancer patients, and people living with chronic diseases and disabilities.

Some organizations will partner with hospitals and medical supply distributors to connect patients with used and refurbished hospital beds for minimal or no cost. If a patient doesn’t meet insurance or program criteria for a low-cost or free hospital bed, it’s still possible to find them from private sources. In general, hospital beds do not have a lot of resale value.

Owners who no longer need them will often offer them at no or low cost to anyone who can arrange transport. Sources like Craigslist, eBay, Freecycle, and social network marketplaces will have categories for hospital beds and other medical equipment, including wheelchairs, crutches, and used walkers for seniors.

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