Hospital Ward Beds vs. Home Care Beds: Which One is Right for Your Needs?

Hospital Ward Beds vs. Home Care Beds: Which One is Right for Your Needs?

When recovering from illness, injury surgery or changes in your health/condition, finding the best place to heal is crucial. A big part of that decision is choosing the perfect bed that best caters to an individual’s specific healthcare requirements.  

This decision often comes down to choosing between hospital ward beds and home care beds. Both options have their distinct advantages and limitations, and making an informed choice is vital to ensure comfort, safety and facilitate efficient care.

In this article, we’ll delve into the characteristics and benefits of hospital ward beds and home care profiling beds, enabling you to determine which one aligns best with your needs. Whether you are a patient seeking personal care or a caregiver looking to make it easier, understanding these key differences will assist you in making an informed and well-rounded decision.

We’ve helped thousands of people in choosing the right hospital bed for them. If you prefer to be guided through the process, start your journey with a free consultation call.   

What is a hospital ward bed?

As the name suggests, hospital ward beds are typically found within healthcare facilities such as hospitals and clinics. They are designed to accommodate the needs of multiple patients within a shared ward or room.

A hospital ward

Features of a hospital ward bed

Hospital ward beds are designed specifically to meet the demand of patients and the hospital staff. As such these beds have several features to help facilitate care and provide patient comfort:

  • Adjustable height: Hospital ward beds are typically height-adjustable. This allows healthcare providers to position the bed at an optimal height for patient care tasks, such as examination, treatment, and transfers. This feature ensures ease of access and reduces the risk of strain or injury to caregivers.
  • Backrest and leg rest adjustment: This feature allows patients to find a comfortable sitting or reclining position and enhances relaxation during recovery. There are also health benefits associated with sleeping with your legs elevated, such as reducing tension and easing swelling. 
  • Side Rails: Hospital ward beds with side rails help prevent patients from accidentally falling off the bed. The rails can be raised or lowered as needed, providing added safety while also allowing for easy patient access and mobility when lowered down.
  • Integrated Call Button: To ensure patients can alert healthcare staff in case of emergencies or assistance needs, hospital ward beds are often equipped with an integrated call button.
  • Provision for Medical Equipment: Hospital ward beds are designed with attachments and provisions for medical equipment, such as IV poles, infusion pumps and bedside tables.
  • Wheels or Castors: Mobility is essential in hospital, and many hospital ward beds come with wheels or castors. This allows for easy movement of the bed within the ward or between different areas, facilitating efficient patient care and transfers. 
  • Weight Capacity: Hospital ward beds are designed to accommodate a range of patient weights, ensuring safety and stability during use. Beds designed specifically for bariatric patients can also be sourced.
  • Mattress Support: These beds are often used in conjunction with a pressure care mattress to prevent bedsores or pressure ulcers during extended periods in hospital.


Hospital ward bed considerations

Depending on you or your loved one’s care needs and preferences, a hospital ward bed could be the best option. However, here are a few things to consider before making a commitment:

Limited customisation

Due to the nature and usage, hospital ward beds often have very limited customisation options. Patients may have less control over adjusting the bed to their preferred positions, leading to potential discomfort during extended periods of use.

Opera fabric swatches for our beds

We offer a wide range of customisation options and care bed accessories to enhance your quality of sleep.

Limited availability

In busy hospitals and care facilities, the availability of hospital ward beds may be limited. Patients might face challenges in securing a bed promptly, especially during peak periods or in regions with high patient demand. This can potentially delay being discharged from hospital or disrupt continuity of care. 

If you need a hospital bed quickly, we can provide beds as quickly as the next working day. Learn more about our delivery options here.  

Clinical appearance

Hospitals can have a clinical and impersonal atmosphere, which may not contribute to the sense of comfort and familiarity that individuals experience in their own homes. In some cases, this institutional environment can affect emotional well-being and the overall healing process. Ultimately, hospital ward beds prioritise functionality over appearance.

A hospital bed in a clinical setting

Restricted Mobility

Hospital ward beds are typically designed with mobility features that prioritise caregiver access and patient safety. While these features ensure patient security, they may limit the independence and mobility of patients who wish to move around more freely.

As well as being functional, our beds have a modern and contemporary style, both looking and feeling good.

An Opera bed with a homely feel and style

Choosing a hospital ward bed vs homecare bed

While home care beds offer certain advantages, there are situations where having a hospital ward bed becomes more beneficial, especially for individuals with specific medical conditions. Here are some reasons why a hospital ward bed might be a better choice:

What is a homecare bed?

Now, we move on to home care beds. The ability to receive care in the comfort of your own home is highly valued, and home care beds are an essential solution that promote comfort and independence, as well as facilitating care.

Home care beds, also known as profiling care beds or medical beds, are designed specifically to give comfort and support to those with limited mobility, health conditions, illnesses or disabilities

a lady in a profiling/medical bed

At Opera, we have over 20 years’ experience finding the best beds for care at home. Learn more about getting a home care bed for you or your loved one.

Home care bed features

Similar to hospital ward beds, home care beds are equipped with various features to enhance functionality and facilitate easier care giving. These features include:

  • Height adjustment: Home care beds have height adjustment to allow easier access to the bed, whilst also provide a safe working height for care providers. Some home care beds also have a super-low height range for falls prevention, giving both user and care giver peace of mind.
  • Back and leg rest adjustment: Home care beds have adjustment features to easily find a comfortable and ergonomic position to alleviate pressure, improve circulation, and reduce discomfort. We also have a range of electric adjustable beds to provide full comfort and support.
  • Side rails: Home care beds often come with additional features to enhance convenience and aid in daily activities. These may include built-in side rails to prevent falls and provide a sense of security. Some home care beds (like our Signature Comfort Plus) have split three-part rails which double up as a grab handle to help getting in and out.
  • Easy to use handsets: Operating a home care bed is simple for both the care provider and the user. Typically, home care beds come with a wired handset that can clip onto the side of the bed when not in use. For users with advanced care needs, some beds offer a locking feature on the handset which allows carers to disable all features should there be a safety risk. At Opera, all our home care beds offer this feature as standard.
  • Castors: Like hospital ward beds, home care beds have castors for easy manoeuvrability and convenience.
  • Weight capacities and size: Home care beds vary in both size and weight capacity. Wider hospital beds and bariatric care beds provide more room for comfort and to help facilitate care, particularly for taller users.
  • Mattress compatibility: Depending on if you need a pressure care mattress or an adjustable comfort mattress, having a hospital bed at home allows you to choose which one best suits your needs, as our beds are compatible with both.


The main differences between home care beds and hospital ward beds

Home care beds offer greater flexibility and customisation than hospital ward beds, when it comes to their design and appearance. 

Homely design

Home care beds are specifically designed with a focus on creating a homely and comfortable environment, in contrast to the more clinical appearance of hospital ward beds.

An Opera profiling bed i homely looking

We pride ourselves on the contemporary and modern design that our beds have, giving all users peace of mind throughout the night.  

Balancing functionality and attractive design

Home care beds are a great investment in making care easier and more comfortable for the user, whilst also creating a cohesive and familiar atmosphere. 

a lady sat in s profiling bed smiling

At Opera, we are committed to providing home care beds that embrace style and fit seamlessly into any home. Our collection of hospital beds for home includes designs that mimic traditional bedroom furniture. For example, our popular Signature Comfort Profiling Bed has all the functionality of a hospital bed, but in an attractive and homely style.

Enhance user well-being and quality of life

Creating a homely design contributes to a more comfortable and comforting environment for individuals receiving care in their own homes. It helps to promote a sense of normality and well-being, making recovery and the long-term care experience feel less institutional and more personalised.

Meanwhile, home care beds are designed to help facilitate efficient care, making the experience better for both the care provider and the user. Home care beds support a wide range of medical conditions and provide proper support and enhanced comfort.


Home care bed considerations 

If you are thinking of investing in a home care bed, here are a few things to help before you decide:

Size and weight capacity: Be sure to check the home care bed is suitable for the weight and size of the user. If a larger bed is required, you may need to purchase a bariatric care bed.

Budget: Depending on the style and size of home care bed you require, homely-styled hospital beds vary in price. Our range of hospital beds includes options across all budget types.  

It’s important to choose a bed that will last a long time and cater to future care needs. At Opera, our beds come with generous warranties for extra peace-of-mind your comfort will last. Meanwhile, we pride ourselves on finding the best solution for your needs, both currently and in the future. If you’d like us to help, contact us to get started.

Reviews and Recommendations: It’s important to research and read reviews from reputable sources, such as Trustpilot. You should also consult with healthcare professionals, caregivers or other individuals who have experience with home care beds.

Delivery: If you are needing a hospital bed quickly, purchasing one yourself gives you greater control over delivery times. Hospital ward beds are often in short supply, which can mean longer lead times if you or your loved one are due to leave hospital.

someone showing the remote and how it works


Ultimately, the choice between a hospital ward bed and a home care bed depends on various factors such as:

  •       The medical needs of the individual
  •       Your desired level of comfort
  •       Your design and style preferences
  •       How quickly the bed is needed
  •       Your budget
  •       Delivery times

If you provide care for someone at home, a hospital bed can make care easier. For users themselves, investing in a hospital bed at home that aligns with their needs ensures optimal comfort, enhances safety and provides a reliable solution for long-term care or recovery.

For further advice and support, speak to an Opera advisor today for a personal consultation. 

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