Here are some questions and tips to help you when buying an overbed or hospital table. Every situation is different, so please consider these questions before making a decision.
How mobile is the person that will use the table?
If the table is for an able-bodied person who can easily reach, maneuver, and adjust the table then a table with all the bells and whistles is the way to go. This includes the split-top tables with tilt capability. However, if the person is fairly immobile and unable to sit up in bed easily or use their arms to adjust the table, then you may want to get a table that can be fixed in a way that fits with the person’s most frequent position or
just a regular hospital table that is only height adjustable.
Is the person using the table in an adjustable bed?
When the bed is adjustable, this can mean that the table does not need to be quite as adjustable for optimal positioning. In this case a basic flat table may do the trick because the bed can be moved while the over bed table remains in a fixed position. If the bed is not adjustable you may want a height and tilt adjustable table to make it easier to achieve comfortable positioning.
Is there enough clearance under the bed for the table base to maneuver?
Sometimes there may not be enough clearance under the person’s bed (i.e. it’s a platform bed or very low profile bed). In this case you may want to consider a bed tray table instead of a regular overbed table on rollers.
Other things to consider:
If the bed is higher off the ground, does the table raise high enough to clear the mattress AND the legs/trunk of the person in the bed?
An overbed table, especially one on wheels, should not be used as a supportive device for assisting with standing. Even if the wheels lock, it is never 100% safe to use a regular table for support. Heavy duty bed tables can be of assistance here but still should not be relied on for support.
Sometimes it helps to have more than one table in the house. Despite the fact that most overbed tables have rollers on them, it can be tedious to move and reposition a table for use outside the bedroom. Having two tables means each can remain in its most optimal position and be ready for immediate use.