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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 have reduced or impaired mobility.

A traditional mattress may not suit certain medical conditions. Rather, it 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. They work to make a comfortable hospital bed.

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

A hospital bed mattress 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 chooses mattresses that are in the FDA’s Establishment Registration and Device Listing.
  • Weight limits: MNT chooses 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 includes 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.

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.

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

Drive Medical Therapeuticmemory foam6 inaround $175available through Affirm
Invacare Solacememory foam6 in$357.02no information
Medacurememory foam6 inaround $340available through Affirm
InvaCare Softformmemory foam6 inaround $387available through Affirm
Drive Medical Gravitymemory foam6 inaround $305available through Affirm
Vive Healthair, topperno informationaround $75available through Affirm
Drive Medical Mattress Overlaygel, topper3.5 inaround $139available through Affirm

For individuals who need to 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 people who are more mobile.


An older 2018 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.

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.

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.

Quality hospital mattresses should last 7–10 years.

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

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.

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.

People must ensure the hospital bed is the right width and length for the person using it. People can try pressure relieving hospital bed mattresses and mattress toppers to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers.

Hospital beds can have special mattresses for people who require long-term care. They help to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers and adapt to the position of the bed.

Hospitals are likely to use foam mattresses for hospital beds. However, they can also use gel, innerspring, and air mattresses to try and distribute a person’s weight and reduce the risk of pressure ulcers.

Doctors recommend hospital bed mattresses for people who need to 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.