What Is a Hospital Swing Bed?

Jan 16, 2024 | Services | 0 comments

Healthcare can often be a complex journey, and sometimes patients require different levels of care as they recover from illness or surgery. That’s where hospital swing beds can play an important role in a person’s uninterrupted medical care. 

If you’re unfamiliar with this term, we’re here to explain. We’ll take a look at the function, purpose, and benefits of hospital swing beds, shedding light on how they can make a significant difference throughout the recovery process.

What Is a Hospital Swing Bed? Understanding the Basics

A hospital swing bed — more commonly referred to as “transitional care” — is part of a specialized program offered by some hospitals and medical facilities to care for patients who are transitioning out of acute care but still require skilled nursing and rehabilitation services before they can safely return home. These beds “swing” between acute care and skilled nursing care, allowing patients to receive the care they need without transferring to a different facility.

Hospital Swing Beds: Function and Purpose

To fully understand the answer to the question, “What is a hospital swing bed?”, it’s helpful to understand the purpose it serves.

Continuity of Care

When a patient’s condition stabilizes but still requires medical attention, they can be transferred to a hospital swing bed within the same hospital. This seamless transition maintains consistency with the patient’s care team, ensuring uninterrupted communication and personalized attention throughout every step of the process.

Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation

Hospital swing beds are staffed with skilled nurses and rehabilitation specialists who tailor their care for each patient. This can include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other services that move the patient toward recovery and independence while maintaining their well-being.

Short-Term Stay

Hospital swing beds are not intended for long-term care. Patients typically stay for a short period, allowing them to regain strength and abilities before returning home. The goal is to equip patients with the skills and confidence they need to manage their health — either independently or alongside home-based care providers.

Benefits of Hospital Swing Beds

Hospitals — particularly facilities located in rural communities and small towns — take advantage of transitional care for several significant reasons:

Closer to Home

One of the most significant benefits of hospital swing beds is that patients can receive specialized care close to home. It’s more convenient for loved ones to visit and keeps the patient more connected to their community of support.

Personalized Care

With an interdisciplinary care team on hand at all times, transitional care allows care providers to treat each patient’s unique needs, which enhances their chances of a successful recovery.

Faster Recovery

A swing bed facility like East Adams Rural Healthcare also provides on-site rehabilitation services and skilled nursing care, so patients can experience a faster recovery compared to those who might be transferred to a distant facility or require a longer stay in the acute care setting.


Hospital swing beds are typically a more cost-effective option than transferring a patient to a separate skilled nursing or rehabilitation facility, which can help alleviate some of the financial burden that often comes with extended medical care.

Trust Your Transitional Care to East Adams Rural Healthcare

At East Adams Rural Healthcare, our compassionate and professional staff members are dedicated to helping patients throughout their journey to recovery. If you have questions, need more information, or would like to discuss your specific needs, we’re here to assist you every step of the way.
Contact us today to learn more about hospital swing beds and transitional care and how we can help you get — and stay — healthy. Your well-being is our top priority.