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Motorised height adjustable beds

A motorised height adjustable bed, sometimes called a profiling bed, enables a person with a spinal cord injury (SCI) to:

  • reposition and to change the height of the bed so that their transfers in and out of bed are level or downhill
  • preserve shoulder function by eliminating the use of equipment that brings the arms above shoulder height, such as monkey bars.

Motorisation of the bed also assists support workers who provide services to a person with an SCI.

Individual characteristics that impact on selection of bedroom equipment

  • Height and weight
  • Bed mobility: Can the person change position independently?
  • Method of transferring into bed: Can the person transfer independently or is a hoist required?
  • Upper limb function: ability to operate controls
  • Flexibility: presence of internal fixation hardware (e.g. screws, plates etc.) in a person’s spine may restrict movement
  • Sleeping alone or with partner.

Other considerations


  • Where will the bed be located?
  • How will the bed be installed in the room? (Can the bed be dismantled to fit through doorways and corridors?)

Compatibility with other equipment

  • Mattress (length and width) and hoist (mobile floor hoist: consider under bed clearance and lifting range; powered ceiling hoist: consider location of ceiling track).

Geographic location

  • What are the options for repairs and maintenance?
  • What support is available in rural areas?

Care requirements

  • Does the person require hoisting or assistance with turns or personal care activities?

Features to consider

Hi-lo function

  • Assists a person to achieve safe functional transfers between the bed and wheelchair or commode.
  • Enables the bed to be adjusted to a safe working height for carers.

Elevating head raise

  • Enables independent adjustment of position.

Knee break

  • Helps prevent a person from sliding down the bed and possibly shearing their skin, especially if the foot of the bed is raised so that the knees are bent prior to elevating the head raise.

Vascular leg raise (electric or mechanical)

  • Enables a person with oedema to elevate their legs fully, rather than just bending at the knees.

Under bed clearance

  • Must be sufficient to enable a mobile floor hoist access for transfers.

Castor size

  • Affects manoeuvrability of the bed. A bed moves more easily with larger castors.

Central locking brakes

  • Make it easier to unlock the brakes if the bed needs to be moved frequently.

Width of the bed

  • Can influence the ease of completion of personal care tasks and bed mobility.
  • Some electric beds are available in king single, double, queen and king sizes.
  • Queen and king size beds usually have the option of a central split that would enable independent operation of the elevating head raise on each side.
  • Larger stature people who need extra width to turn are usually prescribed king single beds.
  • Consider space and carer requirements if scripting a wider bed. A second bed that sits alongside the other bed is an alternative to a wider bed.

Bed sections vary in length

  • May influence the comfort of the person.
  • Review their anthropometrics, pain and flexibility.

Bed extensions

  • Available with some beds and are either fitted in the middle or at the foot end of the bed.
  • Review person anthropometrics, pain and flexibility when considering either option for bed extensions.

Attachment sites

  • Consider if a person requires an overnight drinking system, night call system, environmental control system or side rails.

Bed controls

  • Can be customised so that they can be operated with any switch, and in some cases through an environmental control system.
  • Switches that can interface with a scanning bed controller include sip and puff, joystick, rocker and toggle.

Side rails

  • Full length, or clamp on, assist with bed mobility and safety.

Further information

Clinical guidelines and information

Clinical practice tool

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