A Hospital Bed or hospital cot is a bed specially designed for hospitalized patients or others in need of some form of health care. These beds have special features both for the comfort and well-being of the patient and for the convenience of health care workers. Common features include adjustable height for the entire bed, the head, and the feet, adjustable side rails, and electronic buttons to operate both the bed and other nearby electronic devices.
Hospital beds and other similar types of beds such as nursing care beds are used not only in hospitals, but in other health care facilities and settings, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, outpatient clinics, and in home health care.
While the term “hospital bed” can refer to the actual bed, the term “bed” is also used to describe the amount of space in a health care facility, as the capacity for the number of patients at the facility is measured in available “beds.”
In 1874 the mattress company Andrew Wuest and Son, Cincinnati, Ohio, registered a patent for a type of mattress frame with a hinged head that could be elevated, a predecessor of the modern day hospital bed.
The modern 3-segment adjustable hospital bed was invented by Willis Dew Gatch, chair of the Department of Surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine, in the early 20th century. This type of bed is sometimes referred to as the Gatch Bed.
The modern push-button hospital bed was invented in 1945, and it originally included a built-in toilet in hopes of eliminating the bedpan.
Wheels enable easy movement of the bed, either within parts of the facility in which they are located, or within the room. Sometimes movement of the bed a few inches to a few feet may be necessary in patient care.
Wheels are lockable. For safety, wheels can be locked when transferring the patient in or out of the bed.