How Much Does a MedSurg Hospital Bed Cost?

Through all our years of supplying medical equipment to Canadian healthcare facilities, there is one particular piece of equipment that seems to evolve faster than most others, comparatively – the MedSurg hospital bed.

There could be several reasons:

  • Manufacturers are driven by the fact that hospitals buy medical/surgical beds in large numbers every ten to fifteen years
  • The upgrades don’t significantly affect the bottom line
  • There are enough manufacturers to make it a competitive market
  • The length of time a patient stays in a hospital bed is one of the major healthcare costs a hospital has to deal with, resulting in the need and want for beds that will facilitate a faster recovery time

Whatever the reason, or combination of reasons, the question of how much a Med Surg bed costs can be perceived in two ways:

  1. How much it costs for just the Med Surg bed with a mattress and possibly a few accessories
  2. How much it costs to not have the right fit for your facility

Both questions are equally important, as we will show you in this article.

Bed Frames, Mattresses and Beyond

You know the saying, “You can’t have one without the other”? That is bed frames and mattresses. Obviously, you can’t have a patient lay on a bed without a mattress, just as much as a patient can’t lay on a mattress on the floor.

But you can purchase them separately or together, and that will greatly affect the cost.

Alternatively, perhaps you don’t like the available mattress options for the bed frame you want?

If you go with a new bed frame, maybe your existing mattresses are compatible?

Bed frame functionality:

Most bed frames are similar in nature, with the majority of variation in the features and benefits.

For example, most will offer an open architecture design, but how many offer a frame-based lateral tilt (as opposed to mattress-based)?

Let’s dive into what differences you will come across with hospital bed frames (in the form of questions):

  • Does it have a sit-to-stand feature?
  • Does it have control panels or a touchscreen?
    • How many does it have, and where are they located?
    • Is there a separate supervisory master control panel?
    • Alternatively, does it come with a separate patient hand control?
    • How many one-touch positions does it have?
    • Does it have the ability to lock out some, or all, patient controls to avoid any undesirable bed movement?
  • Do the siderails comply with Health Canada’s Adult Hospital Beds: Patient Entrapment Hazards, Side Rail Latching Reliability, and Other Hazards final Guidance Document?
  • Is there an integrated scale & multi-zone bed exit alarm?
  • Can you plug in accessories via outlets on the frame?
    • Does it have a battery backup in case of power outage?
  • Does the bed frame incorporate a storage space?
  • Can the bed length be extended to accommodate taller patients?
  • Is there a brake alarm and is it audible?
    • Is the brake system central locking?
    • Do the brakes automatically lock after a certain period of time in the event the caregiver forgets to lock them?
  • Is the bed frame controlled completely by hand controls or control panels, or can it also be controlled with foot pedals?
  • Does the bed have a fifth wheel to make manoeuvrability easier and patient transfers smoother?
  • How do the ergonomics and frame material/composition play into infection prevention?
  • How big are the castors?
  • Can the sleep deck, headboard and footboard all be easily and quickly removed without tools for cleaning and maintenance?
  • Does it have IV pole sockets?  If so, how many?
  • Is there a CPR quick release system?

Mattress functionality:

Likewise, the type of mattress you buy, in addition to its functionality, will alter the cost.

Let’s start with type of mattress. The main two options are:

  • Prevention foam
    • Is it viscoelastic foam, also known as memory foam?
    • Is it convoluted foam, also known as egg crate or acoustic foam?
    • Integrated air

Features of different types of mattresses (please note that a mattress may possess one or a combination of these):

  • Self-adjusting air cylinder system
    • Provides proper pressure redistribution to reduce interface pressures by dynamically adjusting to body weight and movement
  • Open cell technology
    • Removes body heat at a greater rate than conventional foams providing a cooler, drier experience for the patient
  • Infused gel technology
    • Works in combination with SMT to allow envelopment and support on a micro level to enhance patient comfort and satisfaction and maintain ambient temperature and provide a localized cooling effect on the skin
  • Deep cell design
    • Air-tight bladders that run laterally across the mattress provide patient immersion and envelopment
  • Surface modification technology (SMT)
    • Alters the mattress (by pattern, size depth, spacing and location) to maximize pressure redistribution and protect the most vulnerable areas of the body
  • Mattress cover
    • Does it have the ideal 4-way stretch cover and 3-dimensional sculpted envelopment layer, or a lesser 2-way stretch?

Next, it’s important to understand the possible functional features a mattress may have.

Here are some examples in the form of questions:

  • If a mattress has self-adjusting air cells, how many does it have, and does it have dedicated ones for the foot/heel section?
    • Or, does it have some other type of extra protection in the foot area, like extra padding or a sloped descent?
  • Is it powered or non-powered? What are the differences in capabilities?
  • Does it have a control unit provides micro-climate management and alternating pressure?
    • If it has, can it adjust therapy cycle times and comfort control settings?
    • Can the control unit lock out unauthorized people?
  • If it comes with a control unit, does the control unit have a quiet mode for when the patient sleeps?
  • Can it alternate pressure and self-adjust without a control unit?
  • What is the maximum weight capacity?
  • Do you require that the airflow design directs micro-climate airflow at the level of the patient’s skin?
  • Does the mattress come with a CPR button? Is it one-touch?
  • Will the mattress automatically adjust pressure levels in the seat section when the head of bed is raised above 30 degrees, providing additional support for the sacral area?
  • Does it have a max inflate mode?
  • How thick is it?
  • Does it have a constant low-pressure (CLP) feature where pressure at the selected level automatically maintains and adjusts, helping provide optimal pressure redistribution when a patient moves or is repositioned on the mattress?
  • Does it allow functionality control via a touchscreen or control panel? If so, how many are available and where are they located?
  • How does the design of the mattress affect cleaning and disinfecting?
  • Does it have a bed exit system (if not on the bed frame)?
  • Is there an option for an integrated x-ray cassette to facilitate portable x-ray procedures?
  • Does the mattress include a backup for emergency power outage situations?
  • Is the mattress one solid piece, or does it have breaks or articulation cuts to relieve pressure when the head part of the bed is elevated?
  • Does it integrate with the beds controls.

MedSurg Hospital Bed Accessories

As with most products, the more you accessorize, the more it’s going to cost you. However, this is where you need to do your due diligence.

Some manufacturers could offer you a simple bed where you have to accessorize everything, whereas other manufacturers may offer those accessories as a standard feature.

Here is a list of some MedSurg bed accessories:

  • Various types of mattresses
  • Scale
  • Defibrillator Tray
  • Bed Exit Alarm
  • IV Poles
  • O2 Bottle Holder
  • Hand Control
  • Bed Extender with Pad
  • Pump Holder
  • CPR Board & Bracket

The Cost of a MedSurg Bed with Mattress

This is a two-part answer.

First, you have to consider the price of the bed frame.

On average, and again depending on functional range, a typical basic Med Surg bed frame will usually cost between $4,500 and $7,000.

For more specialized MedSurg bed frames, expect to see upwards of $15,000.

While mattresses for MedSurg beds are also dependent on functional range, perhaps the more important factor is composition.

A standard foam mattress will start around the $400 to $1,000 range.

When you start getting into integrated gel, air and other advanced composition designs, the cost of the Med Surg mattress would be around the $1,200 to $4,000 range.

The Cost of Not Having the Right Med Surg Bed

As a Med Surg bed’s functionality can indirectly affect other costs, it’s important to consider as a factor.

Scenario 1

For example, let’s say you have to choose between Bed A and Bed B, where Bed A is $500 cheaper than Bed B. Since you’re buying 50 beds, the cost adds up pretty quickly (a $25,000 difference).

From a first glance financial point of view, a lot of people might look at that and say great – they’re going to save their facility $25K to be used elsewhere. But what hasn’t been factored in is the cost of not having the right fit.

Bed A is fine and dandy. It holds the patient in place, articulates, has powered drive, etc.

However, what it doesn’t have is a feature where the bed allows the patients to go from a sitting position to a standing position without any nurse assistance.

Studies have shown that patient satisfaction and recovery are both intertwined with the ability to get out of bed and walk around. Faster recovery equals less time a patient is holding up a bed for someone else.

Scenario 2

So, you just saved $25,000 by going with 50 Bed A’s. Awesome.

For argument’s sake, a patient gets out of bed twice per day. At 50 beds, twice per day, over the course of a bed’s 10-year lifetime (3,650 days), your nurses will have helped patients out of bed 365,000 times.

Out of those 365,000 times, let’s say that just two of those times results in a back injury to a nurse (Statistics tell us there are a lot more nursing related injuries than that, but that’s another topic that could consume several articles!).

This is going to cost more than the average back injury, both directly and indirectly.

 A few possible direct costs

A few possible indirect costs

Worker’s compensation premiums Lost/decreased productivity
Case Management Time to go to medical appointments
Medical costs for surgery, medicine and rehabilitation Administrative costs
Damage to equipment/property Additional overtime pay required
DME or ancillary aids Time to replacement hire
Interviewing and training new employee
Higher Worker’s Comp premiums
Reputation loss
Managerial costs due to the accident including inspections, investigations,meetings and administration
Loss of employee time associated with assisting with the accident
Loss of employee morale
Slowed work pace due to other employees fear of injury
Attorney fees

Market information tells us that the average nursing related injury costs between $10,000 and $15,000. So, if an injury is claimed only two times out of 365,000 times, the initial savings of $25,000 is gone.


When looking at buying new Med Surg hospital beds, it’s always a good idea to look at the whole picture, both short term and long term.

Are there bed frames that do the work of the mattress, therefore allowing you to save money on mattresses?

Is the difference in price going to be so great that it negates potential costs down the road?

If anything, we hope that this article allows you to make a more inclusive decision when looking to purchase MedSurg beds.

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