Bariatric Bed Basics

Bariatric beds should meet the needs of patients while promoting a good night’s sleep.

For a bariatric patient, the benefits of good night-time positioning are immeasurable. Since many bariatric clients have respiratory problems, being positioned well at night allows them to breathe better, says Len Feldman, owner of Big Boyz, who offers his clients approximately eight different bariatric beds.
Bariatric beds should be safe and have the ability to handle the weight of a bariatric person.

At Gendron, beds are weight categorized from 600 to 1,000 lbs., says Steve Cotter, president.
Having the right weight capacity and proper articulation is important. Another important factor to consider is environmental access, Cotter says.
Bariatric beds should be thoroughly tested and not only for weight capacity, but also for width and depth and to ensure the right features are included.
“These beds aren’t inexpensive, so you want to make sure you get one that manufacturers stand behind,” says Dr. Kevin Huffman, bariatric advisor for Gendron and a board-certified physician.

Some companies offer a variety of beds. Both Gendron and Big Boyz praised the “low” bed, designed to facilitate transfers.
Feldman says some of the low beds offered by Big Boyz are only eight inches from the floor and minimize injury caused by accidental bed falls. Low beds also give patients the ability to get out easily and give health-care providers the access needed to do patient cleaning and dressing, Huffman says.
Companies offering bariatric beds and accessories include American Bantex Corp., Big Boyz Ind. Inc., ConvaQuip, Drive Medical, Gendron Inc., Hill-Rom, Invacare Corp., PaceSaver, Sunflower Medical LLC and Sunrise Medical.

This article originally appeared in the October 2008 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Lunzeta Brackens is a contributing editor for Mobility Management.

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