New Bed

If any of you have had a medical bed at home you know what the beds are like. They look like they are from WWII with the clunky metal frames and fake woodgrain panels. The motors are slow and squeaky and always sounds like the hamster needs to be changed. Sometimes you don’t even qualify for a motorized version and you have to use a hand crank. The mattress was very uncomfortable.

The siderails are one of the biggest problems. They lock onto the frame and there is a gap between the mattress and the rails. The thumb springs broke on our siderails and we ended up using mouth swab sticks to hold them up.

Since that time we have been trying to get a better bed. We finally were able to replace her bed with a fantastic Hill Rom bed. This is one like you would have in the hospital and it even has a low air loss mattress with it. It is like going from a Model T to a brand new car. The motors are so much faster and it has a number of features we have found very helpful such as the “chair” feature and the built-in scale. The side rails are fit to the mattress and is much safer. The Hill Rom folks were just great and I have attached a pictures of them below delivering the new bed.

The Hill Rom folks have a Home Care Division although you could never prove it by our insurance company or our home health equipment provider. When we complained about our old bed we asked why we couldn’t get a bed like they have in the hospital and we were told basically that it just wasn’t done and the WWII style beds are the only things available. Obviously that is not the case…

Ashleigh is now so much more comfortable and she is sleeping better at night and so are we knowing she is also safer.





We found the real potential danger with the siderails when we woke up one night and found Ashleigh lodged in the gap between the bed and the rail. She was able to hold herself up with her right arm otherwise it could have hung her. She was not able to call out because of her inability to speak.

8 thoughts on “New Bed

  1. how did you get approved for that? I live in El Paso, Tx. and my insurance company will not pay for anything the only two things that we’ve gotten approved for is a sit to stand and the WW11 bed nothing else. If i request for something else it immediatly comes back as denyied. Please tell me how is that you got that bed. Brenda Guerrero at brenditabonita10@hotmail.com

  2. You need to make sure you know the specifics of your insurance policy. Ask for the rules regarding Durable Medical Equipment (DME) to be faxed or mailed to you. In our experience, the key thing when dealing with Durable Medical Equipment (DME) is the justification letter, called the Letter of Medical Necessity, and the doctor’s prescription.

    The vendors of DME like KCI or Hill Rom sometimes will have sample Letters of Medical Necessity that can help your doctor or therapist get all of the right language into their letters and improve you chances of approval. If there are solid medical reasons for a particular piece of equipment you have a better chance of getting it. For example, our Hill Rom bed offers motorized head, feet and whole bed motors to raise and lower which saves the caregivers backs.

    You may want to focus on avoiding pressure or bed sores when it comes to upgrading the bed. There is a Texas based company, KCI, that makes fantastic low air loss air mattresses that fits over the existing mattress that do a great job of preventing pressure sores. Hill Rom also includes sore preventative air mattresses as part of their bed systems. These are much better that the typical mattress and as you probably know, pressure sores can lead to life-threatening infections. Hill Rom has a home care group you can call.

    Finally, appeal all of the insurance company denials. Each policy and each state have a process and make sure you follow that process. Not sure if this will help with the insurance company but it is worth a try. Worst case you can try to purchase a used bed. Sometimes hospitals sell the old beds as they upgrade their inventory.

    Ernie Szabo
    The Brain Injury Recovery Network

  3. How did you get approved. Need to know how the Dr. RX for bed was worded to get approved.

    My daugther also was in a car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury (Brain Stem). She has been w/o any kind of medical insurance for 2 yrs. She now is covered by a waiver program. (community base program) Tx-Evercare HMO Star-Plus. Soon she will have Medicare coverage and medicaid will become primary.

    Please help – desperate for a bed like your daughter got with a air-mattress.

  4. See above for some tips on getting approved. The letter of medical necessity is the key.

    A low air loss overlay mattress can be used on any hospital bed. We had a KCI overlay mattress on our old WWII model bed.

    BTW, insurance did not cover the new bed for Ashleigh.

  5. You mentioned that insurance did not approve her Hill-Rom bed. If you don't mind me asking how were you able to aquire this bed w/o insurance. I have appealed the insurance and have been denied twice. I am now waiting to have a state fair hearing. I had all medical records and prescription which detailed info. on pressure ulcers and pass entrapemnt. Dr. mention the necessity for bed to raise to 30" in height to help me(caregive). They came back with-this would not benefit patient. I have contacted my state representive to help with this appeal. I will continue with the State appeal, but don't know what else could help my case. Do you have any insight on what else I could do. Since insurance did not cover your daughter's bed, do you think I am fighting a loss cause. Please help.

  6. We did get a motorized hospital bed and air mattress through our insurance.

    The problem was that the bed was the old WWII style bed that the durable medical companies all seem to have. Ashleigh fell between the bed and the railing and it is a miracle she was turned just right so that she did not get strangled to death.

    The air mattress was a complete joke. It looked like the things you float on at the pool. So, initially we got the KCI First Step pressure relief mattress overlay and used that with the old style bed. When she got stuck between the railing we got the Hill Rom bed. These upgrades were not covered by insurance.

    I suggest you contact Hill Rom's consumer division and see if they can help with maybe some sample letters of medical necessity or other advice. Good luck.

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