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How do you get a hospital bed?

This is a challenging question with a few answers. Read below to find out which solution applies to your situation and get an education on the full picture.

Get a hospital bed covered by your insurance

Most major medical plans, including Medicare Part B, follow similar guidelines to determine if someone qualifies for a hospital bed. A hospital bed can be a covered piece of durable medical equipment (DME) if the following requirements are met:

  • It is prescribed by a physician via written prescription

  • Medical documentation to prove the patient's condition requires positioning of the body; e.g., to alleviate pain, promote good body alignment, prevent contractures, avoid respiratory infections, in ways not feasible in an ordinary bed or with additional pillows; OR

  • Medical documentation to prove the patient's condition requires special attachments that cannot be fixed and used on an ordinary bed, such as a trapeze for independence with bed mobility.

  • Documentation of the diagnoses that are impacting conditions that are mentioned above.

  • The need for an adjustable height bed is well explained and justified by specific medical documentation.

Once those requirements are met, find a DME vendor that is approved by your insurer and have the physician’s office send the documentation to them by fax. If you are working with Medicare you can find the providers in your area here. The DME vendor will check the documentation and will request any more details needed from the physician. Once it has been approved by insurance and any co-pay has been paid they will deliver and set up the hospital bed.

Pay out of pocket for a hospital bed

The requirements for getting a hospital bed covered by insurance are stringent. Although you and the physician may agree that a hospital bed is needed and send in that request, the insurance company gets to decide if the request for a hospital bed meets their definition of medically necessary. If you get denied by insurance or just don’t have the time to go through the insurance process you could also pay for a hospital bed directly. There are often a few places per major city that sell hospital beds but do not accept insurance and therefore their prices are more affordable. If you are in the Kansas City area, AccessAble Living can help you!

Also, consider requesting a refurbished hospital bed frame. Hospital beds are meant to last a long time and get plenty of use so purchasing a refurbished one usually gives you great quality at half the price. On the other hand, while hospital mattresses are made to be durable they are more easily worn out. So consider opting for a new mattress for the refurbished bed frame for optimal comfort and hygiene.

Purchase an adjustable bed frame and mattress

It is becoming more common to find adjustable bed frames and specialty mattresses at your local furniture store. They give you the opportunity to raise your head and feet!

Buying an adjustable bed frame offers a lot of benefits including better comfort with a thicker mattress as well as more options for bed sizes and styles.

Add features to your current bed

If purchasing a bed is not an option and getting one covered by insurance is not possible you may consider adding features to the bed you already have.

  • If you need your head or feet elevated purchase a bed wedge. It provides the elevation and support but keeps its place all night unlike trying to use multiple pillows.

  • If you need help getting in and out consider adding a bed rail. Similar to the rail on a hospital bed, it provides a sturdy handle to hold but it is shorter in length than the rails on a hospital bed so you are still able to get in and out without another person being required to lower the bed rail.

  • If your bed is too high consider a bed step that is wide enough for both feet to be on safely so that you can get up 4” higher without balancing one foot at a time on a little step ladder. You can also consider removing the bed frame or the box spring to bring the bed down to the right height.

  • If you are concerned about incontinence add a waterproof mattress cover to protect the mattress. Use washable incontinence bed pads over the sheets and under the blanket to protect the sheets so that they don’t have to be changed as frequently.

If this guide to hospital beds was helpful please let us know! Also if you are in the Kansas City or Wichita areas and want help sorting through all of this and figuring out the best solution for you and your family just call or email us and we can schedule a Free Home Assessment.


Proud to be your aging in place resource in Kansas City and Wichita for wheelchair ramps, shower chairs, and everything in between!

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