Types of Hospital Beds and Their Uses

31 July 2023

Types of Hospital Beds and Their Uses

To accommodate a wide variety of patient and healthcare personnel needs, there are various types of hospital beds available. Including beds with an adjustable-height, profiling capabilities, higher weight capacities for bariatric patients, as well as a whole range of mobile options, there's sure to be a hospital bed that meets all of your requirements.

With so much choice, it can be difficult to sort through the different types of hospital beds and their uses. If you're looking for clarity on what sort of bed you should choose to furnish your hospital ward or clinic, check out our top recommendations below.

Types of Hospital Beds

Hospital Beds can be categorised in a variety of ways, including by function or by design. A common way of classifying these beds is to group them by how they are powered, including 'electric', 'semi-electric', and 'manual' models available. The National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) categorises beds by use, separating them into the following categories:

  • Medical / Surgical Beds
  • Critical Care Beds
  • Burn Beds
  • Paediatric beds
  • Psychiatry beds

While this is a simple and easy-to-understand way of categorising hospital beds, it is possible to further distinguish bed-type by function in order to make the right choice on what bed will best meet your needs. There are plenty of factors to consider before making this choice that go beyond its general usage, including the age and weight of the patient, what the patient's medical needs are, and what level of mobility the patient has.

Hospital Ward Beds

The main purpose of hospital ward beds is to provide a comfortable and supportive surface for patients to lie down. While not designed for any specific procedures, these beds tend to be designed for versatile functioning to allow easy transfers, patient examinations and performance of simple medical procedures (such as ultrasounds).

Our Choice: Sidhil Innov8 IQ Hospital Ward Bed

The Sidhil Innov8 IQ Hospital Ward Bed is a highly versatile hospital bed that has been designed with a selection of handy features. While perfectly suited for use as a hospital ward bed, the multi-functional design makes this unit suitable for various procedures, as well as for transporting patients during emergencies.

A white bed in three sections positioned at an angle

What We Love

  • Low mattress platform minimises fall-risk
  • Includes a manual and electric CPR mechanism for enhanced safety
  • Can be supplied with a variety of side rails for additional security

Not the Best For

Hospital Profiling Beds

Profiling beds are perfect for any patients that need help getting into and out of bed, whether due to impaired mobility or illness. The beds reduce the time taken to help these patients, minimises the risk of accidents when assisting patients, and decreases how much strength and effort is required for patient positioning.

Our Low Profiling Bed Choice: Alterta Lomond Low Profiling Hospital Bed

Top-quality models like the Alerta Lomond Low Profiling Hospital Bed are constructed with electronic functioning for automated patient positioning. This bed is ideal for use in various clinical environments to support healthcare personnel with moving patients from seated-to-lying positions.

A low oak wood bed frame with a side rail and mattress platform

What We Love

  • Height-adjustable design offers maximum convenience
  • Can be used with an alternating air-mattress for improved pressure distribution
  • Tool-free assembly
  • Designed with four 2" castors for ease-of-mobility

Not the Best For


Our Rotating Hospital Bed Choice: Alterta Lomond Rotating Electric Profiling Bed

The Alterta Lomond Rotating Electric Profiling Bed is a fantastic choice for a rotating hospital bed that’s both high-quality and easy-to-use. This rotating bed is great for assisting patients between lying, seated, and standing positions.

A light wood profiling bed with the seat positioned with the feet over the side-edge of the bed frameWhat We Love

  • Aids with seated-to-standing positioning
  • Supplied with a comfortable foam profiling mattress
  • Twelve-function lockable handset included
  • Battery back-up prevents risk of users becoming stuck during mains-failure
  • Makes patient positioning possible for solo carers

Not the Best For

Bariatric Hospital Beds

It is important that clinical healthcare environments are prepared to accommodate bariatric patients, providing them a space to sit or lie down that is both comfortable and easily able to withstand a higher capacity than the average hospital-bed unit.

Our Choice: Alterta Lomond Bariatric Low Profiling Hospital Bed

There are a wide range of hospital beds available for bariatric patients, which are designed to remain both sturdy and supportive when used by patients who have obesity. The Alerta Lomond Bariatric Low Profiling Hospital Bed is a fantastic option for bariatric patients. This bed offers a cosy place to sleep, as well as easy transport and positioning of patients.

a dark wood bariatric bed with three section mattress platform positioned at an angle

What We Love

Not the Best For

Children's Hospital Beds

Trips to the hospital can be scary for children, but they don’t have to be uncomfortable. With a paediatric hospital bed, you can be sure you’re offering little ones a comfortable place to sleep while under the care of a healthcare professional.

Our Choice: Sidhil Bradshaw Junior Profiling Bed

The Sidhil Bradshaw Junior Profiling Bed features a dazzling and colourful design that’s appealing to younger patients, helping them to feel less frightened of the clinical environment. It’s more compact than regular hospital beds, and perfectly sized for younger children to ensure optimal comfort and effective use of space.

a green, blue, and yellow children's bed

What We Love

  • Colourful design appeals to children
  • Weight capacity allows parents to sit on the bed with their kids
  • Available with or without side-rails
  • Electronic functioning for ease-of-use
  • Can be supplied with bed-rails to enhance patient safety
  • Supplied with a lockable handset

Not the Best For

Hospital Cots (For Babies)

Though the paediatric hospital bed is suitable for infants and toddlers, babies and new-borns will need a smaller, and more secure bed option. Hospital cots should have some sort of rail or barrier around the bed to prevent the patient from falling, but should also be easy to see into for effective monitoring of the young patient.

Our Choice: Sidhil Inspiration Hospital Cot with Visco Elastic Mattress

The Sidhil Inspiration Hospital Cot with Visco Elastic Mattress is designed with plenty of useful features to ensure that babies and new-borns are comfortable, safe, and easily monitored and cared for.

a blue and green cot with wheels and a mattress platform positioned at an angle

What We Love

  • Colourful design is appealing to younger patients
  • Viscoelastic mattress included for maximum comfort
  • Includes a fold-down shelf to function as a small working surface
  • Designed for easy viewing of patient from any angle

Not the Best For

Long-Term Care Beds

In some cases, patients will need to remain in hospital for extended periods while being treated for their condition(s). For these patients, it is important that they are provided with a bed that is comfortable, even if they are to spend a lot of time in it, as well as being adjustable to allow tailoring of the bed to suit individual patients.

Our Choice: Cura II Supreme Profiling Community Bed

The Cura II Supreme Profiling Community Bed is an easy-to-clean bed unit that's ideal for providing inpatients a place to rest during extended stays at the hospital. The bed is also adjustable to allow tailoring and ensure maximum comfort for the patient using it.

a light wood bed frame with a white mattress platform

What We Love

  • Height-adjustable for maximum convenience
  • Bed-length can be extended for patient comfort
  • Supplied handset has an intuitive design
  • Mattress platform provides a stable surface that minimises slipping
  • Can be used to put patients in the Trendelenburg or reverse-Trendelenburg positions

Not the Best For

Surgical Beds

Surgical beds are designed for the secure transport of patients to and from operations, or to rooms where specialised procedures are performed. This type of hospital bed should be highly mobile, easy to manoeuvre, and safe for use during patient transport.

Our Choice: Casa Elite Home Beech Standard Profiling Bed with Metal Side Rails

The Casa Elite Home Beech Standard Profiling Bed with Metal Side Rails is a four-section bed with an adjustable head, foot, and knee area to ensure maximum comfort. This bed can be raised and lowered, as well as adjusted to move the patient into an upright seated position. This is ideal when working with patients who may be under anaesthetic, and therefore unable to assist with positioning themselves.

a bed frame with a wooden headboard and angled metal mattress platform

What We Love

  • Metal side rails help to prevent the patient from falling
  • Can adjust patients into cardiac chair position
  • Nine-button control included for adjusting bed position
  • Easy-to-clean slatted platform for optimal hygiene

Not the Best For

ICU Beds

ICU beds are designed with a range of specific features that enable safe and effective usage in intensive care / critical care units. These features include electrical functioning, ease-of-transport, and the ability to put patients in the Trendelenburg position and reverse-Trendelenburg position.

Our Choice: Cira Community Electric Profiling Bed

The Cura Community Electric Profiling Bed is a fantastic choice of critical care bed that meets the necessary requirements. It has been constructed with a durable and easy-to-use design, so you can keep your focus on your patient during use.

a bed with wooden headboards, a mattress platform in three sections, and a side rail

What We Love

  • One-button automatic contour positioning
  • Easy, tool-free assembly and disassembly
  • Four-section profiling design offers multiple positioning options
  • Can assist patients into the Trendelenburg and reverse-Trendelenburg position

Not the Best For

Divan Hospital Beds

A divan bed is one that is designed without a footboard and headboard. These beds are constructed from a base and mattress, and tend to be fairly close to the ground, and are an ideal option for a comfortable and stationary bedding option.

Our Choice: Harvest Divan Nursing Home Bed

The Harvest Divan Nursing Home Bed is an affordable and sturdy low-bed option that's ideal for use in a fixed sleeping area. This unit is a fantastic cost-effective option for those who may not need to make use out of mobility, profiling, or adjustment features.

a low bed frame with a mattress on top

What We Love

  • Simple and affordable design
  • Low-level position reduces the risk of falls
  • Can be used with a headboard if required (sold separately)
  • Designed for optimal durability and comfort

Not the Best For

A hospital bed is an essential piece of equipment for most clinical healthcare settings that offers a wide range of functionality for various uses. With the right bed, you can ensure maximum patient comfort, ease of transport and positioning, optimal pressure disbursement for bed-bound patients, as well as providing an area for inpatients to rest and recover during their stay.

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