How to Make a Hospital Bed More Comfortable

Doctor Naomi Gallant
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Senior Care Consultant

Dr Naomi Gallant is an Occupational Therapist with the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, specialising in the care of people with dementia. She holds a Clinical Academic PhD in Dementia Care from the University of Southampton.  Learn more about our team.

When it comes to hospital beds, taking extra measures to make them more comfortable is of paramount importance, especially since many people may end up spending extended periods sleeping in a bed and environment that they aren’t familiar with.

According to a study in 2018 by BMC Health Services: More patients reported their sleep quality to be poor to very poor during their hospital stay.

Even the best hospital beds will never be as comfortable as what you’re used to at home.

That’s because hospital beds aren’t designed to accommodate patients’ comfortability. They’re designed to make it easier to care for patients. As a result, your hospital bed is not going to be as homely as you’d hope.

Having said that, there are extra steps you can take to get a comfortable bed for a good night’s rest.

Table of Contents

How to make a hospital bed more comfortable:

  1. Use a mattress topper
  2. Bring your own pillow and blanket
  3. Use bed rail pads
  4. Use a mattress pad
  5. Upgrade to overbed trays
  6. Storage organizer for personal items
  7. Add a cooling fan to the room
make a hospital bed more comfortable

1. Use a Mattress Topper

Unfortunately, the standard mattresses in many hospital beds don’t do enough alone to prevent pressure bed sores. However, there are extra measures you can take to give you a good night’s sleep,  dramatically improve blood circulation, and relieve pressure points. 

One of these measures is to use a mattress topper. There are many benefits that you gain from using mattress toppers, and they’re not just comfortability benefits, but also benefits for your health too. 

For example, a memory foam mattress topper is extremely efficient for pressure point relief. 

Mattress toppers also come in a range of thicknesses which can make the bed more firm as opposed to making it soft. It’s important to recognize the specific purpose of your mattress topper when buying. Most mattress toppers will tell you whether they soften the bed or make it more firm. 

Mattress topper on hospital bed

Benefits of Using Mattress Toppers

Here are the benefits of using a mattress topper to make your hospital bed more comfortable.

  • Improves blood flow
  • Regulate body temperature
  • Extra support
  • Makes the bed softer
  • Will prevent bed sores
  • Good for relieving pressure points
  • Gives you a better sleep
  • Increases the heights of low beds
  • Waterproof
  • Provides additional support
  • Reduces back pain
  • Helps neck stiffness
  • Extra comfort
  • Prevents pressure ulcers
Make sure that the topper matches the size of your hospital bed for maximum comfort.

2. Bring Your Own Pillow & Blanket

What better way to make yourself feel at home than bringing two essentials that make your own bed so special? Bringing your own pillow and blanket will go a long way towards making your hospital bed more comfortable. 

According to Jennifer Whitlock, RN, MSN, FN , a board-certified family nurse practitioner: “bringing your own pillow and blanket may dramatically improve your quality of sleep.”

Additionally, if you have more things from home in your hospital room, it’s going to feel like a more familiar environment, thus improving comfort during your hospital stay. 

It’s important to consider hygiene though, they must be cleaned regularly in accordance with hospital guidelines to disinfect them. 

Most patients just want to be comfortable during their hospital stay, and we think this is one of the simplest ways to contributing towards achieving that. 

3. Use a Bed Rail Pad

Another method to make your hospital bed more comfortable is to use a bed rail pad. Furthermore, using bed rail pads are beneficial to the entire bed because they prevent falls and injury for vulnerable patients. 

They also prevent users from being entaled in the side rails and injuring their limbs. Many hospitals have hard metal or plastic bed rails that pose a greater injury threat, using a pad provides a cushion that protects patients. 

Many bed bumper pads are made with soft foam which improves comfort for patients. What’s more, bumper pads can also provide a means of support for the patient, helping them to get in and out of the hospital bed. 

Finally, bed bumper pads or rails are convenient for hygiene maintenance, this is because many of them are made with a wipe clean cover which makes thing easy for medical staff. They’re essential for patients who may fall out of bed during their sleep. 

4. Use a Mattress Pad

Very similar to a mattress topper discussed earlier in the article, they both serve the same purpose: To protect and enhance the comfort of your bed. Mattress pads also come with straps underneath that prevents the pad from moving while you do in your sleep. 

What Does a Mattress Pad Do?

A mattress pad will make your bed feel softer and protect it from damage and stains. It is a thin layer of padding, and can be made by a variety of materials such as cotton, memory foam, latex, wool, or feather. 

They’re also durable and very affordable, they last long and are easy to clean. Some of which are even machine washable. 

5. Upgrade to Overbed Trays

Most hospitals and rehabilitation centers will provide an overbed tray or hospital bed tables as they’re also called, but in some cases, a patient has to upgrade in order to have access to them. Of course, you could bring your own, but it would be more convenient to use the ones provided by the hospital. 

The table tops can be used for a variety of things such as reading, using a laptop, eating food.  What’s also convenient is that the height of it can be adjusted to suit the occassion. 

You can also get overbed trays with wheels that wheels into place and adjust to height, they’re also easy to clean.

The convenience of these trays make your hospital bed more comforatable because patients don’t need to get up in order to do mutiple tasks that they can do right from the bed with the tables. 

On the other hand, the tables with wheels can be very dangerous if patients decide to use them as support to get out of the hospital bed. For that reason, the standard ones are safer and we therefore recommend those. 

6. Storage organizer for personal items

Another essential to provide comfort in your hospital room and therefore your hospital bed is a storage organizer to put the items from home into without cluttering the room. 

These handy godsends can attach to the bed rails of your hospital bed and allow the patient to have their personal items within an arms length. Particularly handy to remember when you’re renting a hospital bed!

DISCLAIMER: Readers should consult their doctors before making any decisions relating to a medical condition