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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.

A quick look at the 8 best hospital bed mattresses

People who need a hospital bed mattress are typically at risk of developing pressure ulcers, a fairly common condition in hospital patients.

An appropriate mattress distributes weight evenly to try and prevent and aid the treatment of pressure ulcers.

This article looks at the benefits and risks of hospital bed mattresses and provides a list of some of the best hospital bed mattresses and toppers available online.

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.

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.

Best for Chronic Pain: Drive Medical Therapeutic 5 Zone Support Mattress

Pricearound $158
Prosaffordable and comfortable mattress for those living with chronic pain
Consthe mattress does not fit all bed frames and is not customizable. Also, Some reviews mention that it is too thin

This 6-inch mattress distributes a person’s weight evenly across five zones. It is waterproof and flame retardant. The mattress is also lightweight at 15.2 pounds (lbs) and therefore suitable for travel.

The mattress also comes with a shear, 2-way stretch cover that reduces friction and is water-resistant.

The top layer reduces pressure on bony parts of the body that may have a higher risk of compression against the mattress.

The foam material is appropriate for stomach and back sleepers but not for side sleepers.

Best Value: Invacare Solace Prevention Therapeutic Foam Mattress

Pricearound $350
Pros durable and easy to clean
Conshigher cost

This foam mattress helps provide relief for those at medium or high risk of developing pressure ulcers.

It has three zones that distribute weight and alleviate pressure from the head, body, and heels.

The mattress has several higher density, pressure-relieving areas that help those at risk of developing sores. The mattress has a reasonably sized surface area for support and relief.

It also features a fluid-resistant, Nylon top cover and a trilaminate vinyl bottom, allowing for easy cleaning.

Highest quality: Marathon Advanced Care General Hospital Bed Memory Foam Mattress

Pricearound $500
Prosreportedly very comfortable
Conshigher cost

This multilayered mattress has different zones with higher or lower densities to promote comfort and postural support.

The mattress has a double thickness top lay of Viscotech memory foam. It also features a latex-free, antibacterial, antifungal, and allergen-free cover.

The mattress contains CertiPUR-US-certified foam and comes with a 12-month standard warranty.

Most comfortable: Medacure Pressure Redistribution Foam Hospital Bed Mattress

Pricearound $295
Prosvery comfortable, multiple sizes
Consa person should take care to measure the size they need

This pressure-redistribution mattress has three layers of memory foam and provides comfort by redistributing a person’s weight evenly across its surface.

It features a foam cut that provides ample support, promotes airflow, and minimizes moisture.

The mattress is available in six sizes and includes a waterproof mattress cover.

The company claims that this mattress is appropriate for at-home use care for older adults, and people with a higher body weight index (BMI) or obesity.

Best for pressure management: Invacare Softform Premier Fluid-Resistant Homecare Bed Mattress

Pricearound $380
Proscontoured foam insert and foam layer, high weight capacity
Consreports of the mattress being too firm

This fluid-resistant mattress features a unique contoured foam insert. The foam layer provides individual comfort and optimizes pressure reduction.

The foam layer contains individual cells that interrupt tension, allowing a person to feel immersed in the foam. This feature optimizes pressure reduction.

This mattress has enhanced edge support with a single-piece foam “U” core to make it easier for people to get on and off of the mattress. Additionally, the mattress comes with the company’s trademarked removable and washable Softform mattress cover.

Best bargain: Drive Medical Gravity 7 Long Term Care Pressure Redistribution Mattress

Pricearound $200
Proslow-cost, high-quality product
Consavailable in only one size

This therapeutic memory foam mattress can support up to 300 lbs of weight and has a dedicated heel section.

The top foam layer provides pressure redistribution points to help prevent pressure ulcers.

The bottom layer has full-length, horizontal cuts that the company claims extends the durability of the mattress.

The mattress includes three layers of memory foam for optimal comfort.

Best air mattress: Medical MedAir Low Air Loss Mattress Replacement System

Pricearound $700
Prosportable, emergency-suitable
Conshigh-cost

This air mattress comes with an alarm, quilted cover, and a remote-controlled air pump. The digital pump with diagnostic alarms provides customized support to meet individual patients’ needs.

It comes with a hospital-grade, anti-slip, water-resistant, quilted nylon cover.

An LED screen displays the mattress’ weight and pressure. It also features 24-hour power outage protection.

The mattress also comes with an ab emergency CPR feature to deflate within seconds.

It fits onto most hospital beds and can hold up to 450 lbs.

Best firm support: ProHeal Pressure Redistribution Foam Mattress for Hospital Beds

Pricearound $250
Proscustomer reports of comfort, high-quality
ConsLimited gripping function

This channel-cut, high-density foam mattress comes with features that address five of the body’s pressure zones to prevent bedsores.

It comes with a removable, water-resistant, and fire-retardant nylon cover.

The below table compares the products in this article.

Best forFeatureCost
Drive Medical Therapeutic Mattresschronic back painfive comfort zonesaround $158
Invacare Solace Preventionvaluethree weight distribution zonesaround $350
Marathon Advance Carehigh qualityvaried postural supportaround $500
Medacure Pressure Redistribution Foam Mattresscomfortconvoluted foam for supportaround $295
InvaCare Softform Premier Fluid-Resistant Mattresspressure managementcontoured foamaround $380
Drive Medical Gravity 7 Long-term Care Pressure Redistribution Mattresscost savingthree memory foam and pressure redistribution pointsaround $200
Medical MedAir Low Air Loss Mattress Replacement Systeman air mattress optiondigital and remote-controlledaround $700
ProHeal Pressure Redistribution Foam Mattressfirm supportfive pressure zonesaround $250

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.

Benefits

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.

Risks

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 Alternative Pressure Pad

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

Pricearound $100
Proshas top-end weight distribution capabilities
Conssome customers report the mattress as unbreathable

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

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

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

Drive Medical Premium Guard Gel Mattress Overlay

This fluid-resistant nylon mattress overlay can sustain up to 500 pounds of weight. It also features 15 gel bladders covering the entire area of the patient’s body that is in contact with the mattress.

Pricearound $115
Proscustomers report the mattress topper as durable and comfortable
Conssome customers report the mattress quickly becoming indented, making it impossible to roll over or get out of their beds

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

The base is waterproof and stain-resistant.

Below, we look at some common questions about hospital bed mattresses.

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 from 7 to 10 years.

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.