Common Questions About Home Hospital Bed Sizes

Common Questions About Home Hospital Bed Sizes

Posted by Tom Swalm on May 17th 2024

Picking a medical bed for home use can be a daunting and confusing endeavor.  It doesn't help that many websites and medical professionals themselves mistakingly refer to different sizes incorrectly.

Twin size hospital bed?

I often times have customers call and tell me they need to buy a twin size hospital mattress for a loved one.  The reality is despite the fact that their nurse, home health provider, or even their doctor may have referred to their existing bed as a Twin size or Twin XL, it is actually a standard hospital bed size.  Most homecare beds and hospital beds are actually 80X35 or 80X36.  Here is a break down to help clear up some confusion:

Standard Twin:  75X38 or 75X39

Twin XL:  80X38 or 80X39

Standard Hospital Bed 80X35 or 80X36

Why the discrepancy in sizing?

If you read the fine print mattress manufacturers will clearly state that foam based mattresses have a 1" variability in sizing.  This is due to both normal variability in the manufacturing process and the fact that once a person is in the bed the foam can expand ever so slightly.

I was told my hospital bed was a twin

It is unlikely that someone was intentionally trying to mislead you, but instead were just misinformed.  I have spent the majority of my career selling hospital beds at the facility level and even nurses with decades of experience will refer to a long term care bed as a twin size.  

Why so small?

Caring for an aging loved one at home is a relatively new phenomenon in the US.  Hospital beds, long term care beds, etc were originally designed for use in hospitals and nursing homes.  The rationale for a bed smaller than a twin is two fold.  First because space is limited in these institutions and second because providing bedside care can be difficult in a wider bed.  

How do I know what size to buy?

It depends on your situation.  If you are buying a mattress for an existing bed frame, you should measure the length and width of the sleep deck, not distance between the head and foot board.  If adding a therapeutic mattress to a traditional bed frame not a hospital bed, then confirm if the bed is a standard twin or a twin xl.  

If purchasing a an entirely new bed, then think about the person who will be using the bed.  

-Do they lay sleep on their back with little to know movement during the night?

-Do they need or want enough room to roll over or be turned to offload wounds?

-Are thy overweight or are their limbs contorted in any way?

Which companies make the best bed for my needs?

Several companies specialize in consumer sized medical beds like Transfer Master and Assured Comfort.  Other companies like Span America offer low air loss and alternating pressure mattresses in consumer sizes as well as bed frames that can be expanded to a twin xl.

Safety Concerns

It is important to ensure you are making the correct selection to avoid potential safety risks for your loved one.  For example buying a mattress that is too big could cause your mattress to hang off the edge of the bed sleep deck and increase the risk of falls from the side of the bed.  A mattress that is too narrow for your frame can lead to potneitl entrapment risks if the bed has side rails.

More info on hospital bed and mattress sizes:

Common sizes you will find in the market include:






Then traditional consumer sized options.

If opting for an 80X35/36 or 80X42 keep in mind sheets for these sizes will not be sold in traditional stores and will need to be purchased online or from a medical retailer.

At MedEquip Health we know caring for a loved one is stressful enough without having to become a product expert on all of the things you may need.  This is why we ask LOTS of questions when working with clients to ensure we get it right the first time, every time.