Most PALS find the use of a hospital bed beneficial. A hospital bed will allow the PALS to raise/lower their head, raise/lower their feet, as well as adjust the height of the mattress for optimum transfers.
There are three classifications of hospital beds:
- Manual. All operations - raise/lower the head, raise/lower the feet, raise/lower the whole mattress - are operated via manual cranks at the front of the bed.
- Semi-Electric. With this type of bed adjusting the head and foot positions are electric and operated through buttons by the user. The raising/lowering of the mattress is done via a crank on the front of the bed.
- Full Electric. All operations are operated through buttons by the user.
Most insurance policies will pay for a semi-electric hospital bed. When ordering a bed, you should request &wuot;Half Rails." Half rails are side rails of the bed that are in two pieces. This allows the bed rail by the head to remain in place, and it can be used to assist with transfers.
When it comes to mattresses, typically you only have two choices as to what your insurance will fund - spring mattress or foam mattress. It is difficult to know what mattress will be comfortable for you, but just know that you can request either mattress when the order for the bed is placed.
If you find that the hospital bed mattress is not comfortable to you, there are some options to look into.
There are a range of mattress overlays. There are foam overlays, gel overlays, air overlays, and overlays that are a combination of these materials. With a diagnosis of ALS, there are certain classes of overlays that you may be able to qualify for through your insurance. Ask the medical supply company that you received your hospital bed from what your options are. They will tell you what your insurance will pay for and what paperwork may be required.
There are air mattresses especially made for hospital beds. These mattresses replace the standard mattress. There are a few different kinds of air mattresses. There is alternating pressure, turning, and low air loss mattresses. In general, ALS patients cannot qualify for this type of mattress through their insurance unless they have an actual pressure sore or some other disability would warrant this type of mattress from a medical perspective. But, occasionally we have these items available through our equipment loan program.