Buying Guides & Advice

Hiring a hospital bed for short-term care

Whether its coming home from hospital to recover from surgery or a trip away that is only possible with assistive equipment, there are many reasons why a hospital bed may only be needed for a short period of time. Larger capital equipment such as hospital beds and air mattresses are significant purchases and are potentially inconvenient to move on after the period of care ends. Hiring a hospital bed for a longer period of time though can quickly add up. In this guide we explain more about hiring a medical bed and key things you should consider.

Hospital bed hire rental

Hospital bed hire rental is a service that enables persons to use a hospital bed over a short period of time by paying a weekly fee to the hire company. The bed is delivered and installed in the user's preferred location, they use it for as little or as long as they need and pay per week. When the bed is no longer required, the hire company de-installs and collects the bed and the hire period is ended.

When is hire used?

The hire of hospital beds is used in a number circumstances where only short-term care is needed. Uses include...

Short-term illness

When a person has a short-term illness that reduces their mobility (e.g. older person with pneumonia or broken limb), they may require assistive equipment for a short time to help them with their daily living.

Temporary accommodation

When a disabled or elderly person is in temporary accommodation (e.g. relatives/friends house), it may be easier to hire equipment rather than moving existing equipment from their home.


For patients who want to go on holiday, a big concern can be the lack of supportive equipment. Your hire company will need to be able to install into static caravans and holiday homes.

Hotel stays

Hotels often hire care beds for elderly and disabled guests. A hotel will sometimes hire the bed and add the total hire charge to the guest's bill.

Hospital bed hire costs

Cost is dependent on the specification of hospital bed you decide to go with. The average weekly cost for typical home care hospital bed is £60-100 per week. Some hire companies will have a flat weekly hire rate and others will work it on a sliding scale (e.g. after 4 weeks of hire the weekly charge reduces). You may also be subject to a minim hire period, often 2 weeks or a month.

Other costs you need to bear in mind are the cost of a mattress (foam mattresses can't always be hire for infection/cleanliness reasons) and the cost of delivery and setup of the bed. These are usually charged as fixed amounts and can make up a significant amount of the total bill if you are only hiring for a short period of time.

When you should hire and when you should go with another option

Here are some key considerations you should bear in mind before hiring a hospital bed.

Length of hire period

Hire makes sense when you are sure you will only need the bed for a few weeks. If you are hiring a bed for more than 8-10 weeks it often works out more cost effective to buy outright. Hire for 10 weeks at £60/week plus the cost of a basic mattress (£250), delivery/setup (£100) and collection when hire ends (£100), your total costs will be an absolute minimum of £1050.

Purchasing a bed outright such as the Opera® Classic will cost from £995 and up to £1400 with a mattress and delivery. You then have sell-on value with a market for used beds on online classified sites such as eBay, Preloved and Gumtree. See new hospital bed prices here to compare with your hire rates.

Support from the local authority

Local councils and NHS trusts operate equipment loan stores that will loan out equipment such as hospital beds for short periods of care. Before hiring a hospital bed, speak with you local council or hospital discharge team to see if you can have a bed provided by them. They will look after the installation and fitting of the bed free of charge too.

Ongoing circumstances

Hiring a bed is only worthwhile if you are sure there will be no ongoing requirement. If you expect there to be long-term needs such as restricted mobility or pressure care requirements, you would be best to invest in a hospital bed that will support you ongoing and improve quality of life. Many people are put off by having a hospital bed at home because of their clinical appearance, but with beds like the Opera® Signature Comfort, you can have a homely-styled bed with all the functions you need.

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