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Adjustable Beds

What is a Profiling Bed?

Emily Trix Carver

Emily Carhan

9th August, 2022

Person in hospital bed

If you’re in the process of researching beds that can do more to support mobility and health, you may be asking what is an adjustable bed, what is a profiling bed and what is an electric profiling bed?

Profiling Beds Meaning

A profiling bed comprises of multiple mattress sections (ranging from two to four) that can be set at differentiating inclines. A profiling bed supports the user to sit up in bed or even sit in a seated position, like they would on a chair.

Profiling beds are typically found in care settings and used for people who need to spend many hours in bed or are used for those recovering from surgery or clinical procedures. An electric profiling bed can be operated by a handset to move each section of the bed, whereas a manual profiling bed will require some strength to change the bed’s positions.

Profiling Bed

Features of a Profiling Bed

Electric and manual profiling beds can be adapted to include a range of features that may be useful to the needs of the user or their carer. These unique features help to create an easier and safer experience.

Height Adjustment

Height adjustment is a popular feature on profiling beds as they enable easier transfers to and from the bed. The height adjustment feature means that the bed can be lowered to the floor, reducing the risk of injury for the user if they accidentally slip and fall off the bed.

The height adjustment feature is also beneficial for care providers. The adjustable height enables them to raise the bed to provide care for the patient or change bedding, without the need to over-exert their back, reducing the risk of an injury.

Adjustable Backrest

An adjustable backrest is one of the key features of a profiling bed. An adjustable backrest allows the user to comfortably sit up in bed. Electric profiling bed models feature an auto-regression backrest that prevents the back mattress segment from sliding down the bed, keeping the patient comfortable.

Side Rails

If you feel that the person using the bed is at risk of falling, then it is advised to add a side rail to the bed for additional security. Side rails sit on either side of the bed and can be lifted up or down. If required, you can also opt to include additional bed bumpers for added security and peace of mind.

Fowler (Chair) Function

If the person using the profiling bed will be spending the majority of their time in the same bed, then it be beneficial to opt for a bed that features the Fowler (chair) position. This feature means that the bed can adjust the leg and foot section to tilt below a horizontal line (much like a chair). This can support patients to feel comfortable in bed and avoid added transfers.

Difference Between Profiling Beds and Adjustable Beds

What is a profiling bed in comparison with an adjustable bed? At a glance, they may seem very similar, but there are a few key differences to be aware of.

Adjustable beds tend to look a little more like a standard bed in their design and can come in a variety of designs to fit in with your existing decor. You can also choose from a range of bed bases to suit you. Whereas, a profiling bed can appear more purpose-built for a care environment. Profiling beds may also feature an overhead handle. This is for the user to pull and hoist themselves up during transfers if they are able to do so safely.

Adjustable Bed

Oak Tree adjustable beds also provide the option of a side rail for added security, although this is not the standard for all adjustable bed manufacturers. A profiling bed will feature side rails as standard.

The key difference between a profiling bed and an adjustable bed is the number of positions that it can be moved into. While adjustable beds offer a range of different positions for comfort, a profiling bed will feature a wider range of unique position combinations to support bed-based users in a care setting.

Mattresses for Profiling Beds

When purchasing a profiling bed, it can be difficult to understand what mattress options are available to you. There are a few different mattress types and key features to consider to assist you on finding a solution that works for you or the person using the profiling bed.

Pocket Sprung Mattress

Whilst this is a popular standard mattress option, a pocket sprung mattress would be unsuitable for a profiling bed as it does not offer the flexibility to provide the correct support as the mattress plates move independently.

Air Mattress

Air mattresses are a great option for people who are confined to the bed for more than fifteen hours per day. Air mattresses feature an alternating pressure system that pumps air around air cylinders within the mattress. These cylinders inflate and deflate to support blood flow and healthy circulation. Air mattresses are water resistant and have a soft feel. These are particularly popular within care settings.

Foam Mattress

Foam mattresses for profiling beds are recommended for those who are able to spend some time out of bed each day and do not require the extent of support that an air mattress provides. There are a few different foam styles to be aware of.

Latex Foam: The lightest and coolest of the foam mattress offerings. Its small holes allow air to circulate easily throughout the mattress, keeping it cool while still offering support that alleviates pressure.

Reflex Foam: Made up of lots of air bubbles, providing a cooler alternative to a memory foam mattress. Reflex foam moulds to the person’s body shape and redistributes weight to support pressure throughout the body.

Memory Foam: Absorbs pressure and cushions the body. The cosiest and warmest of the foam mattress choices.

You may want to consider a mattress that features a few of these foam layers to experience the benefit of each of these unique qualities.

How to Install and Maintain a Profiling Bed

Profiling beds commonly arrive dismantled in slim sections that can fit through door frames with ease. Profiling beds are generally easy to assemble and parts are designed to be wheeled from room to room. It is recommended that you check through delivery and assembly specifications with your manufacturer before purchasing, to ensure that you have everything you need for installation.

It is important to consider the maintenance of electric profiling beds. The Medical Devices Regulations 2002 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) state that an electric profiling bed is subject to inspection and maintenance and states that the equipment must be “safe for use, maintained in a safe condition, and inspected to ensure it is correctly installed and does not subsequently deteriorate”.

Person in hospital bed

We hope that this article has been helpful to outline what is a profiling bed and covering the basics that you need to know. For any questions that you may have about adjustable beds, please do get in touch with our dedicated Oak Tree team, who will be delighted to assist with any questions you may have.

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