If you or a loved one is struggling with the constraints of a traditional bed, there are innovative options that can make you safer and more comfortable at home. People living with congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, quadriplegia or paraplegia, among other long-term illnesses may benefit from the features of a hospital bed. If you have Medicare insurance, you may even get help paying for the equipment you need to stay safe and healthy in your own home.
The Benefits of a Hospital Bed
Modern hospital beds can be used in the home to give people living with long-term immobility or pain the opportunity to live at home where they are most comfortable. Hospital beds can provide the support and comfort you need with unique features, including:
- Wheels: Beds equipped with wheels give the user and their caregivers the flexibility to move the bed to meet their specific needs. The beds are usually smaller than standard beds, making them easier to maneuver. The wheels can be locked when it is in place to make transfers in and out of the bed as safe as possible, especially if it is being used in conjunction with wheelchair or walker use.
- Elevation Adjustments: Hospital beds can be elevated or lowered so that the user’s feet can be planted firmly on the ground before attempting to stand. If you have trouble getting in and out of bed, you may be at a higher risk for falling, which can lead to serious injury. If you need to keep your feet or legs raised for circulation or other health issues, you can adjust the mattress to raise the lower portion of the bed. People with difficulty sleeping on a flat mattress can also raise or recline the upper portion of the bed. Some beds alternate pressure to help prevent pressure ulcers.
- Accessories: Side rails, call buttons, over-bed tables, sheet and blanket supports, and exit alarms can customize your hospital bed to meet the needs of the user.
Medicare Coverage for Hospital Beds
You don’t have to be in a hospital to have access to medical equipment that can improve your health and safety. A hospital bed can be ordered for use in your home by your physician. If you are eligible for Medicare, you may get help paying for it.
Do you qualify for Medicare? If you are 65 years of age or older, or have received disability benefits for 24 months, you were likely automatically enrolled in Medicare Part A, or Hospital Insurance, as long as you worked for a certain amount of time and paid taxes. When you are first eligible for Medicare, you have the option of enrolling in Medicare Part B. Part B, or Medical Insurance, helps cover the costs of preventive services, doctor visits, and durable medical equipment. While Part B is optional, if you do not enroll when you are first eligible, you will likely have to pay a late enrollment penalty when you decide to enroll later on. You will pay a premium and will be have an annual Part B deductible.
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a hospital bed may be covered by Part B Durable Medical Equipment (DME) benefits if your physician writes a prescription, provides detailed documentation on the medial condition, and establishes the medical necessity for a hospital bed. The order must include documentation proving the patient requires positioning of the body to alleviate pain, prevent contractures, avoid respiratory infections, or promote body alignment. The patient’s condition must require special attachments that cannot be fixed and used on a traditional bed.