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Hospital bed mattresses, also known as medical or therapeutic mattresses, may provide comfort and prevent side effects when people remain immobile for long periods.

Some people require specialized mattresses if they are sick or if they have reduced or impaired mobility.

A traditional mattress may not suit certain medical conditions, may aggravate them, or cause pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores.

Pressure ulcers occur due to a combination of factors. Prolonged external pressure on tissues causes a lack of blood flow to the affected area. Impaired drainage from the lymphatic system may also contribute to the development of sores.

Compared with traditional mattresses, hospital bed mattresses work better for preventing and relieving pain from pressure sores.

Hospital bed mattress manufacturers use different materials in their products than regular mattress manufacturers. These materials are similar to those found in traditional mattresses and include:

  • foam
  • innerspring
  • air
  • gel

Hospital bed mattresses should also be waterproof, antimicrobial, and easy to clean. These features ensure the mattress meets medical-grade sanitation standards.

The head, leg, and bed heights are typically adjustable with hospital mattresses, and they can bend with the adjustment of the head and legs.

Medical News Today chooses hospital bed mattresses that meet the following criteria:

  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) registration: MNT will choose mattresses that are in the FDA’s Establishment Registration and Device Listing.
  • Weight limits: MNT will choose mattresses that are suitable for people with a wide range of body weights, including those who have overweight or obesity.
  • Extra features: Where possible, MNT will include mattresses that have additional features, such as ulcer relief, built-in bedpans, and incline settings.

MNT follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

As part of our updates process, we check and re-vet all products. We removed some mattresses that were not in the Establishment Registration and Device Listing, as the FDA classifies hospital mattresses as Class I and Class II medical devices.

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Just like a traditional mattress, a good hospital bed mattress should provide appropriate support and comfort.

The only way to know whether a mattress may suit someone is to test it, where possible.

Below are some of the best hospital bed mattress options for a person to consider.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

The following table compares the mattresses in this article on type, height, and more.

Drive Medical Therapeuticmemory foam6 inaround $156.99no information
Invacare Solacememory foam6 in$357.02no information
Medacurememory foam6 inaround $349.98available through Affirm
InvaCare Softformmemory foam6 inaround $387.60available through Affirm
Drive Medical Gravitymemory foam6 inaround $231.46available through Affirm

For individuals who must remain in bed, a hospital bed with a hospital bed mattress is safer and more comfortable than a traditional bed and mattress. However, it may not suit more mobile people.


One study demonstrated that a large-scale switch-out of hospital mattresses led to a reduction in hospital-acquired pressure sores. This resulted in a 66.6% decrease in stage 3 and 4 pressure ulcers and a 50% reduction in mattress comfort complaints.

Some experts suggest using silk-based fabrics since they are superior in pressure ulcer prevention. Cotton-based fabrics may cause increased friction forces and damage to the skin.


A hospital bed mattress may not be suitable for people who are not at risk of developing bedsores, those who do not have reduced mobility, and those who do not need to remain lying down.

In addition, a person who will be using a hospital mattress at home may not be able to try the mattress before buying it.

Further, mattress labels may be misleading. For instance, a mattress labeled firm may be too firm for some or not firm enough for another person’s needs.

For those who do not require a new medical mattress, an alternative may be to add an extra layer to their existing mattress.

Here are some of the top hospital bed mattress toppers.

Vive Health Alternating Pressure Pad

  • Price: around $76

This product fits on top of hospital beds. People who have pressure sores or are at risk of developing them may benefit from this hospital bed mattress topper.

The topper has 130 individually sealed air bubbles that provide durable support. It suits people who weigh up to 300 lb.

It has a pump that controls the pressure within the air bubbles. The air cycles through different levels of pressure to:

  • evenly distribute a person’s weight
  • increase blood circulation
  • reduce pressure
  • prevent skin breakage
  • relieve pain from pressure sores


  • top-end weight distribution
  • 130 sealed air bubbles to provide durable support
  • a pump to control the air pressure in the sealed air bubbles for additional comfort


  • may sleep too hot, according to some reviews
  • one review mentioning that the air pressure distribution mechanism failed to work after 1 week of use
  • some reviews mentioning that this mattress topper is too hard and uncomfortable to lie on
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Drive Medical Premium Guard Gel Mattress Overlay

  • Price: around $132

This fluid-resistant nylon mattress overlay can sustain up to 500 lb of weight.

It features 15 gel bladders covering the entire area of a person’s body that is in contact with the mattress.

This gel mattress overlay can also prevent and treat pressure ulcers.

The base is waterproof and stain-resistant.


  • suitable for people weighing up to 500 lb
  • may help prevent ulcers
  • waterproof and stain-resistant


  • some reviews mentioning that the overlay quickly becomes indented, making it difficult to move around on the bed
  • some reviews mentioning that the distribution pads sank after 3 days
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Here we answer some common questions about these products.

What type of mattress is best for a hospital bed?

The best mattresses for hospital beds include features that redistribute weight to prevent too much pressure on certain body parts. Specifically, this feature can help prevent bedsores and pressure ulcers.

Can any mattress go on a hospital bed?

Regular mattresses do not work on hospital beds due to their inflexibility. Hospital beds are adjustable with moving head and foot sections. They require more flexible mattresses, often those made from foam.

How long do hospital bed mattresses last?

Quality hospital mattresses should last 7–10 years.

Which bed is good for bedridden patients?

People should look for adjustable beds that make it easier to turn the individual around to reduce the risk of bed sores.

Beds that rise up may be a good option, as individuals can then sit up with help, which may be beneficial while eating.

Some mattresses may have inbuilt bedpans, which can make disposal and cleaning of bodily fluids easier.

Is a hospital bed mattress the same as a twin mattress?

No, hospital bed mattresses are a different size from twin mattresses.

Additionally, manufacturers design hospital beds for extended use, whereas people usually only use twin mattresses to sleep on.

Doctors recommend hospital bed mattresses for people who must remain in bed for extended periods and those at risk of developing bedsores. Traditional mattresses may not provide enough support for people with reduced mobility.

Hospital bed mattresses include foam, gel, innerspring, and air mattresses that help redistribute a person’s weight across the surface to prevent and treat pressure ulcers.

Alternatively, people can place a specialized topper on their current mattress for pressure ulcer prevention and treatment.