Checks to make before you buy or rent a fowler bed: Thickness of Metal Sheet; Side Rails; Foam Mattress; Disinfected Beds

  • Thickness of Metal Sheet: Check the thickness of the metal sheet used to make the bed. Suppliers are using thin gauge sheet for making beds since these end up becoming cheaper, but these beds are known to bend because of patient weight. Check the maximum weight bearing capacity of the bed. It should be able to bear 120 kgs at least. If your patient is heavier then find a thicker sheet (lower gauge)
  • Always buy side rails – These are not optional but are often sold as such. Sedated patients or even dependent patients can slide or roll off the bed and fall. The resulting emergency will not be worth the small saving
  • Always take a foam mattress – This is required to prevent the patient touching the hard surface of the bed even if you are buying a water/air mattress to place over the foam mattress. (See earlier post) Typically, foam mattresses are 3” inches thick with a Rexene cover and are adequate. Mattresses which are 2” inches or less thick are cheaper but may fail to prevent the patient’s body touching the hard surface (See later: Choosing between an Air or Water Mattress)
  • If you are choosing to rent the bed, do check if it has been sanitized and disinfected. This is critical to prevent opportunistic infections