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HOSPITAL BEDS

CAN YOU SLEEP IN A HOSPITAL BED WITH SOMEONE?

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SonderCare Learning Center

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Dave D.

Health & Medical Writer
Written & Researched

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Kyle S.

Hospital Bed Expert
Editor & Commentary

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Naheed Ali, MD

Physician
Fact Checker

When a loved one is in the hospital, it’s natural to want to be as close to them as possible and provide comfort during a difficult time. You may be wondering, “Can You Sleep In A Hospital Bed With Someone?”. Sharing a bed can provide much-needed physical touch, emotional support, and a sense of normalcy in an unfamiliar environment. However, there are important factors to consider when it comes to sleeping in a hospital bed with someone. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of whether sharing a hospital bed is right for your situation and how to navigate sleeping arrangements with your loved one’s care team.

SonderCare Editorial Policy

All of our articles are written by a professional medical writer and edited for accuracy by a hospital bed expert. SonderCare is a Hospital Bed company with locations across the U.S. and Canada. We distribute, install and service our certified home hospital beds across North America. Our staff is made up of several hospital bed experts that have worked in the medical equipment industry for more than 20 years. Read more about our company here.

Learn About Sharing Medical Beds

Key Takeaways
✅ Hospital policies generally prohibit sharing a hospital bed with a loved one due to safety, space, and infection control concerns.
✅ Hospital beds are designed for single occupancy, and sharing can disrupt the patient’s rest and medical care.
✅ Infection control protocols are strict to protect patients with weakened immune systems from cross-contamination.
✅ Limited space in hospital rooms can make it impractical and unsafe for two people to share a bed.
✅ Alternative ways to provide support include requesting a cot or chair, using technology for virtual connection, and taking turns with family members for visits.

What About Sleeping In A Home Hospital Bed?

Sleeping in a home hospital bed with a loved one offers both emotional and practical benefits as well as certain drawbacks that warrant consideration. On the positive side, sharing the bed provides emotional support, fostering a deeper connection and reducing feelings of isolation during a challenging period.

The close physical presence of a partner can alleviate anxiety, stress, and pain while ensuring immediate physical assistance for the patient’s needs. However, home hospital beds, even luxury models like those from SonderCare, are often narrower than standard beds, making shared space uncomfortable and potentially disruptive. This can lead to interrupted sleep due to the patient’s medical needs, such as repositioning or medication schedules.

There’s also a risk of injury from the bed’s unique features like side rails and adjustable sections. Additionally, infection control concerns arise if the patient has an open wound or a contagious illness. Lastly, there’s the potential for fostering over-dependency, which can impede the patient’s recovery. Given these factors, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the safest and healthiest sleeping arrangement that ensures comfort and rest for both parties involved.

Hospital Policies On Sharing Hospital Beds

Most hospitals have strict policies about who can sleep in a patient’s bed. They usually don’t allow anyone other than the patient to sleep in their hospital bed due to safety, liability, and infection control concerns. Sharing a bed with someone can disrupt the patient’s rest, interfere with medical equipment, and increase the risk of falls or injuries. Hospital beds are designed for single occupancy and may not support the weight of two people safely.

Moreover, allowing visitors to sleep in the patient’s bed can compromise the hospital’s infection control protocols. Visitors may introduce germs or contaminants, putting the patient and others at risk. Hospital staff need easy access to the patient for monitoring, treatments, and emergencies, which can be hindered by someone else in the bed.

While you might wish to comfort your loved one by sleeping next to them, it’s essential to respect the hospital’s policies. These rules are in place for the well-being and safety of all patients. If you’re unsure about the specific policies, it’s best to ask the hospital staff for guidance.

Other Factors and Considerations

  • Sharing a hospital bed is typically not officially allowed due to concerns about impeding patient care, privacy, and safety. However, some nurses may allow it on a case-by-case basis if they feel it is in the best interest of the patient. [1] [4]
  • Hospitals aim to provide single-gender rooms whenever possible for privacy and comfort. Mixed-gender rooms are only assigned when unavoidable, with considerations like mental competency, ability to summon help, vulnerability (e.g. not placing female patients with multiple males), and cultural/religious preferences. [4]
  • Room assignments are reviewed daily based on changing patient needs and to ensure dignity, privacy, and safety. Factors like clinical needs (e.g. palliative care, enhanced supervision), fall risk, cognitive functioning, and potential for inappropriate behavior are considered. [4]
  • Ultimately, the decision often comes down to the professional judgment of staff nurses and care coordinators on each unit, balancing patient preferences with care needs and available resources. [1] [4]

Patient’s Condition Is A Factor For Sharing Hospital Beds

The patient’s medical condition and care needs should be the primary consideration when deciding if it’s appropriate for someone to sleep in their hospital bed. You’ll want to assess factors like their mobility, risk of falls, presence of medical equipment, and need for frequent monitoring or interventions. If the patient is stable, alert, and able to safely share the bed without compromising their care, it may be acceptable.

However, if the patient is critically ill, immobile, connected to numerous devices, or requires unimpeded access for the medical team, it’s best for loved ones to sleep elsewhere. You should also consider the patient’s comfort level and preferences. Some may find the presence of a loved one comforting and conducive to rest and healing, while others may feel cramped, uncomfortable, or have their sleep disrupted.

Ultimately, you’ll need to weigh the potential benefits of emotional support and companionship against any risks to the patient’s medical condition, safety, or quality of care. Consult with the patient’s healthcare team to determine the best approach for their individual circumstances.

A patient’s condition is an important factor in determining if it is appropriate for them to share a hospital bed with a visitor. Patients in critical condition or with open wounds/sources of infection should generally not have visitors in their bed, as this could impede care or increase infection risk.

Other Factors and Considerations

  • The patient’s wishes and consent for the visitor to be in the bed
  • The patient’s clinical status and whether their condition contraindicates bed sharing
  • Ensuring bed sharing does not interfere with care or put the patient at risk
  • Maintaining appropriate behavior from the visitor in the bed. [1]
  • Bed height is also a crucial safety consideration, as standard bed heights may be too high for some patients to enter/exit safely. [2] Individualized bed height based on patient ability can reduce falls and improve mobility. [2]

Space Constraints Limit Sharing Beds

Another key consideration is the limited space in a typical hospital room. You’ll likely find that the room is already quite cramped, with medical equipment, furniture, and your loved one’s belongings taking up much of the available space. The hospital bed itself is usually narrow, designed to accommodate a single patient comfortably. Attempting to share this bed with another person can be a tight squeeze, making it difficult for both of you to find a comfortable position and get a good night’s rest.

Moreover, the lack of space can pose vital concerns. If you’re sharing the bed, there’s a risk of accidentally disturbing medical equipment, such as IV lines or monitoring devices, which could potentially harm the patient or trigger alarms.

Additionally, if the patient needs to get up quickly or requires immediate medical attention, the presence of another person in the bed can hinder the staff’s ability to provide prompt care. It’s important to prioritize the patient’s well-being and make sure that the limited space in the hospital room is used efficiently to support their recovery.

Infection Control Issues With Sharing Beds

Hospitals maintain strict infection control protocols, which sharing a bed can inadvertently compromise. When you’re hospitalized, you’re more vulnerable to infections due to a weakened immune system and open wounds. Hospital beds are designed for single occupancy to minimize the spread of germs between patients.

If you share a bed with someone, you risk exposing them to your illness or contracting theirs. This cross-contamination can lead to serious complications, prolonging your recovery and potentially harming your bedmate. Hospital linens and surfaces are regularly disinfected to maintain a sterile environment, but adding another person disrupts this careful balance.

Furthermore, healthcare workers need unobstructed access to the patient for monitoring, treatments, and emergency interventions. Having someone else in the bed hinders their ability to provide best care efficiently.

While the desire for closeness and comfort is understandable, prioritizing infection control is important in a hospital setting. To protect yourself and others, it’s best to follow the hospital’s guidelines and sleep separately. Remember, these policies are in place to guarantee the safety and well-being of all patients during their recovery process.

Other Factors and Considerations

  • Whenever possible, single-patient room use is preferred to prevent cross-contamination from shared beds. [4]
  • For multi-patient rooms, spatial separation of at least 3 feet between beds is advised to reduce sharing of items and surfaces. [4]
  • Infection preventionists should be consulted on bed management strategies and risk mitigation for patients under isolation precautions like contact precautions for C. diff. [3] [4]

Alternatives and Solutions For Sharing A Hospital Bed With Your Loved One

Despite the challenges, you still have options to feel connected with your loved one during a hospital stay. Consider alternative ways to maintain physical and emotional closeness without compromising the patient’s care or hospital policies.

You can request a cot or reclining chair to be placed in the room, allowing you to sleep nearby without sharing the hospital bed. This arrangement ensures you’re close at hand while respecting infection control protocols.

Additionally, you can use technology to your advantage. Video calls, messaging apps, and social media can help you stay connected when you can’t be there in person.

Another solution is to take turns with other family members or friends in visiting and providing support. This not only allows the patient to feel loved and cared for but also gives you a chance to rest and recharge.

Remember, your well-being is important in supporting your loved one’s recovery.

Ultimately, open communication with the hospital staff is key. They can guide you in finding the best ways to balance your desire for closeness with the necessary medical care and safety measures.

The challenges of sleeping in a hospital bed with someone are well-documented. Bates (2012)1 notes that the stress of caring for a sick relative can lead to sleep disturbances, while Marcus (2006)2 and Staveley-Wadham (2013)3 both highlight the difficulty of getting a good night’s sleep in a hospital setting. These factors can be exacerbated when sharing a bed with someone, as the presence of another person can further disrupt sleep. Therefore, while it is technically possible to sleep in a hospital bed with someone, the quality of sleep may be compromised.


1 Bates (2012)

2 Marcus (2006)

3 Staveley-Wadham (2013)

Frequently Asked Questions About Sharing Hospital Beds

Generally, hospital policies prohibit sharing a hospital bed due to safety, space, and infection control concerns. Hospital beds are designed for single occupancy to ensure the patient’s rest and proper medical care.

Hospital beds are meant to support one person safely. Sharing a bed can interfere with medical equipment, disrupt the patient’s rest, and increase the risk of falls or injuries. It also hinders hospital staff from providing necessary care.

Sharing a hospital bed can compromise infection control protocols. Patients in hospitals are more vulnerable to infections due to weakened immune systems. Adding another person to the bed increases the risk of cross-contamination and infection.

Yes, there are alternatives. You can request a cot or reclining chair to be placed in the room, allowing you to stay nearby without sharing the bed. Additionally, using technology like video calls and messaging apps can help you stay connected.

Besides requesting a cot or chair, you can take turns with family members and friends to visit and provide support. Open communication with hospital staff can also help you find the best ways to be close to your loved one while adhering to hospital policies.

While it’s important to understand and respect hospital policies, you can always discuss your concerns and needs with the hospital staff. They may offer alternative solutions or accommodations to help you support your loved one within the guidelines

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From Our Experience...
"In my two decades of experience, choosing a hospital bed for home use comes down to several key factors: patient needs, adjustability, safety features, and ease of use. Consider the patient's medical condition and what features will provide the most comfort and support, such as head and foot adjustments or built-in massage functions. Safety features like side rails are crucial, especially for those at risk of falls. User-friendly controls allow for easy adjustments, promoting independence for the patient. It's not just about buying a bed; it's about investing in comfort and quality of life."

Dr. uses SonderCare to provide home hospital beds.
Dr dr dr SonderCare home hospital beds.

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