What are common issues with floor level profiling beds?

What are common issues with floor level profiling beds?

If you’re considering purchasing floor level beds for your organisation, you may be wondering what potential problems there are with these types of medical furniture.

The types of problems that can occur depend on a few factors:

  • Will they be moved around the hospital, or will they stay on my unit / or in this department?
  • Are all users properly trained?
  • Is there a maintenance contract in place?



The most common problem with an electric floor level bed is damage to the handset, either through stretching, crushing or cutting. When one of the internal cables is damaged, the handset will either fail to operate the bed at all, or some of the functions may not work.

Preventing a handset issue

  • Always hang up the handset in the correct place, for instance on the head or footboard
  • Don’t leave the handset on the floor where hoists and other mobile equipment can run over the trailing cable
  • Avoid stretching the cable – we sometimes see a cable wrapped 1-2 times around a bed

Control box and battery

Although rarer, a control-box can be damaged internally if the device is subject to variations in the power supply. The most common reason for this is using an incompatible power lead to power the bed. It is a misconception that you can use a “kettle lead” to power a hospital bed. We often see a kettle type lead which has no locking mechanism, hanging half out of the socket. This can do two things:

  • As the lead bounces in and out of contact, it can damage the circuits internally.
  • It will not provide the bed battery with charge (where applicable).

Preventing control box and battery issue

  • Always use the correct Linak lead and locking mechanism
  • Ensure that the lead is firmly pushed in and locked
  • Throw away your kettle leads!

Actuator overloads

The actuators (sometimes called motors) that perform the moving functions on floor level profiling beds can be overloaded if either:

  • The safe working load of the bed is exceeded
  • The bed comes into contact with an immovable object like a wall fitting / installation, furniture or gantry

As a safety mechanism, a lot of actuators will have an overload protection device which collapses internally should the equipment meet resistance; this protects the device (and its occupant) from a tipping hazard. Usually, overloads are not repairable and require actuator replacement.

Preventing an overload issue

  • Make sure that the bed is away from obstructions and is not attached or entangled with other equipment
  • Do not exceed the safe working load (all beds should have the safe working load displayed on them) – contact the manufacturer if you are not sure of this
  • Where possible, avoid overcrowding storage areas
  • Do not allow untrained or unauthorised persons to use the equipment
  • Use a service and repair contractor that is correctly equipped to diagnose overloads with a service data tool

Framework Issues

The framework of medical beds is strong and usually constructed of tubular steel. However, everything has a limit! One of the most common areas to get damaged is the elevating backrest - an unusual quirk of floor level beds is that when they are in their lowest position, residents or relatives may take a short cut across a bed, putting their entire body weight through it!

Beds, if used correctly, will usually not present framework issues, especially if made by a reputable manufacturer who is correctly classifying their device.

Preventing framework issues

  • Follow the user instructions and do not allow inappropriate weight loading to parts of the bed that are not designed to be sat on or walked across.
  • When evaluating a floor level bed, pay particular attention to the strength and thickness of the hinges at the backrest and legrest junctions - these are points that come under a lot of strain and should be strong and fit for purpose.
  • Only use manufacturers that correctly classify their beds as Medical Devices and who have registered with MHRA*
  • Where appropriate, do not leave floor level beds in their lowest position when unoccupied to prevent passers-by taking shortcuts over them.

*Some mainstream manufacturers don’t correctly classify their beds as medical devices and are not registered with the MHRA, citing irrelevant “furniture” directives. To find out more about this issue and why it matters, you might find these blog posts useful:

Why you need to be bothered about MedTech compliance

What is an EC Declaration of Conformity?

MHRA Registration

We hope this short guide is helpful in providing you with an insight into common issues that affect floor level profiling beds.

If you have any questions, please call our office on 01926 889677 and we’ll be glad to help.

Remember, we offer servicing and repair, the packages are available here