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What Is a Therapeutic Bed?

By Sandra Koehler
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A therapeutic bed is a type of assistive device designed to help individuals suffering from a variety of ailments, injuries and disease processes causing mobility or pain issues. This can range from a standard hospital bed to specialized mattresses or extra padding purchased through a retail store. It may also include additional positioning aids such as pillows, bolsters or wedges to provide comfort or positioning needs related a medical condition.

The hospital bed is the standard therapeutic bed found in hospitals. It is a motorized bed capable of elevating the head or feet, individually or in unison. This feature allows frequent positional changes, especially warranted with individuals with limited or no ability to move to reduce the risk of bed sores, a breakdown of the skin integrity commonly due to an excessive amount of pressure in one area over time. This type of bed is also conducive to increasing overall circulation, an important factor when mobility is limited. The hospital bed is also designed to aid an individual in getting out of bed, by its ability to raise the person into a sitting position.

The standard therapeutic bed found in hospitals can be upgraded to include such things as egg crate padding or air cushions. Padding aids in relieving pressure points and increasing comfort. By a simple adjustment in the amount of air in the air cushions, small adjustments can be made in positioning and pressure areas.

The use of a therapeutic bed, however, is not limited to a hospital setting. Adjustable hospital beds are often used in situations where a chronic illness or disease is being treated or rehabilitated in a home setting. Typically, the use of a hospital bed at home requires the recommendation of the health care provider for the cost to be covered by the insurance company.

Individuals suffering from chronic pain issues often can benefit from a therapeutic bed. This type of bed commonly contains a foam material. This can be accomplished through the use of foam in the form of an egg crate mattress pad design, with triangular projections of foam, or memory foam, or a combination of memory foam and gel to support the body, and can be purchased through a retail store. These types of therapeutic beds can greatly increase sleep and minimize pain issues caused by sleeping patterns.

In choosing a retail therapeutic bed, comfort is essential. If the bedding is too hard or too soft, it may only exacerbate pain issues. Adding a pillow top pad, for example, may feel comfortable, however, it may not provide the support the body needs. Switching from a traditional bed with springs to a foam bed can alleviate pressure problems and support the normal curvatures of the body in any sleeping position.

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Discussion Comments

By candyquilt — On Oct 16, 2014

How easy is it to use a hospital therapeutic bed at home? I know that elevating the feet or the head are easy, just requires the use of a few buttons. But what about adjusting pressure in the pads? Is this something that one can easily learn to do at home?

We are planning to get a therapeutic hospital bed for my father who needs to be cared for at home. I just hope that we will be able to use it correctly for all his needs.

By fBoyle — On Oct 15, 2014

@bluedolphin-- Well they are different from hospital beds. But yes, there are therapeutic beds out there for home use that help provide relief from certain conditions. The bed we sleep on is more important than we realize and it has to be perfectly suited for our personal needs.

I use a therapeutic bed. I too wasn't sure if it would help in the beginning like you. And this type of bed does cost more so I guess I took a risk. But it didn't disappointment. I have spinal issues causing back and leg pain. The therapeutic bed has been great. It supports my spine just as it ought to and relieves my pain. I do not wake up in pain and discomfort since getting this bed. It used to happen often before on my old bed which was not therapeutic.

My bed is a combination of memory foam and mattress. It's neither soft nor firm. It supports my spine while also letting me rest fully. It's perfect.

By bluedolphin — On Oct 15, 2014

Are regular beds (not hospital beds) being marketed as "therapeutic" truly therapeutic? Or are they just using the term as a marketing device?

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