How to Troubleshoot a Hospital Bed

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Troubleshoot a hospital bed before calling a service technician.
Troubleshoot a hospital bed before calling a service technician. (Image: empty exam room image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com)

As more people pursue home health care options, more hospital beds are being used in the home. Even for a nonconvalescent, an electric bed makes it easier to get in to and out of bed. The adjustable head and feet can help alleviate a variety of aches and pains. While an electric hospital bed usually operates without problems, it may from time to time need service. Before you call a service technician, there are a number of steps you can take to troubleshoot your hospital bed.

Push the bed’s electrical plug firmly into an electrical outlet. If the outlet has a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), make sure it is in the “on” position. Check that the circuit is on in the breaker box.

Remove any objects that may be blocking the operation of the hospital bed. Move the bed away from the wall as well as any furniture it may be touching. Check between the mattress and springs for obstructions.

Add a drop of lubricating oil to a sticking bedrail locking pin. If the bedrail falls down repeatedly, replace the bedrail’s worn-out locking pin.

Push the button to operate the bed in the opposite direction if the bed can’t move up or down. The bed may have reached its maximum extension in that direction.

Look under the bed for pinched electrical cables that affect the functioning of the head and foot of the bed. Cable problems also can restrict the bed's ability to rise and lower horizontally. Unplug the hospital bed before untangling the cables.

Check for depressed buttons on the control box if the bed keeps moving. Unstick the buttons by wiping the controls with a clean, soft cloth. Make sure each button does its assigned task.

Connect the gears to the proper driveshaft if the bed goes in the opposite direction from the control box. With the electrical supply unplugged, reconnect the driveshaft cables to the correct gears.

Lock the four casters in place if the hospital bed moves when you need to to stay in position. Check the casters periodically because they may inadvertently become unlocked.

Check the pull tube if the head’s raise/lower function is not working properly. Examine the drive rod connection if the bed is experiencing high/low issues. Lock the “T” shafts firmly into position.

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