Specifying Bed Head Units

Bed head units are a great help in hospitals and other healthcare environments because they provide complete convenience to both the patients and the caregiver.

But how do you specify a bed head unit? And what can be included in it?

What is a bed head unit?

A bed head unit is usually a fitted piece of furniture situated at the head-end of a bed. Bed heads vary in size and design, but they typically look like a cupboard or just a regular piece of furniture.

But bed head units are different from traditional pieces of furniture because they are designed to hold certain medical equipment and to provide assistance wherever possible. Bed head units are a necessity in hospitals and hospices where having the right tools at your fingertips is key to providing the best care possible.

What shape bed head unit should you have?

Your bed head unit shape depends almost entirely on your preferences. We supply bed head systems usually in three different layouts.

A full bed head cabinet system sits behind the bed itself and your bed would then be positioned against it. This is a good option if nearby storage space is a necessity.

If you’re wanting to save space in the room and don’t want your bed protruding away from the wall, then a L-shaped bed head might be a better option. When we say L-shaped, we actually mean that the bed head unit is like an upside-down L, so the bed can be situated against the wall with the bed head unit surrounding it.

For multi-bed bays or environments where there’s more than one patient in the room, you might want to take a look at a double L-shape layout (we also call this a goalpost setup). As you can probably picture, this entails two L-shape bed head units installed mirroring each other.

A double bed with a goalpost bed head unit installed around it
Heres a goalpost bed head setup, with the cupboards above the bed having an Integralift hidden hoist installed.

This is also a good setup for people with double beds who want a bed head unit for each person.

Features you can include in a bed head unit

You can design your bed head unit to have as many or as few additional built-in features as you’d like. Whether you’re wanting a bed head system specifically designed for demanding hospital environments, or you’re wanting a luxurious unit to suit your patient’s every need, any decent bed head manufacturer an get it done with ease.

Here’s what you can include.

Nurse call is one of the most common things to include in a bed head unit because it’s used across practically every healthcare environment. By being included in the bed head system, the nurse call can be easily accessed by the patient.

Medical gases are also a popular option – particularly in hospital bed head units. We can build in cupboards and areas custom-made to hold gas tanks that can be changed over by carers and nurses.

Plug sockets can easily be built-into your bed head unit to give nurses and patients straightforward access to electric supply. These can be placed as high or as low as you desire.

Integralift hoists can also be fitted in bed head units! This is a hidden overhead hoist system that folds out of the unit and provides easier and safer transfer to and from the bed.

(These are an exclusive Innova product, so make sure to get in touch with our team if you want to know how we can install these.)

Lighting that’s built-into the bed head can help to make the room feel more homely and well-lit. Mood lighting can also be installed in L-shaped units to give the room a cosy, relaxed atmosphere.

Shelves and storage can also be added to bespoke bed head units to give your patients more room to make themselves at home.

Other items like mini fridges, wardrobes, waste bins, drugs cabinets, and built-in basins can be included in bed head systems.

A full cabinet bed head unit in purple with hidden hoist, plug sockets, nurse call system, and other features
A full bed head unit like this one can also be installed to provide more storage space and room for medical supplies and equipment where necessary.

Other factors to consider

If you’re wanting to make sure your bed head unit is well-designed for infection control, then it can be installed all the way up to the ceiling to reduce any surfaces areas where bacteria can settle and grow. It can also be designed to have a sloping top, which makes it much harder for dust and bacteria cannot settle as easily.

Anti-ligature design can also be used on bed head units for mental health facilities to reduce the risk of patients getting hurt.


Bed head units provide an easy place for patients and nurses to have everything they need at their fingertips. They can be designed in various layouts to suit your environment and can include a range of features to make everything as easy as possible.

Need help designing a bed head unit? Let us know!