After a two-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, REHACARE, the world’s largest trade fair for rehabilitation and care, demonstrated the latest innovations for self-determined living. A total of 35,000 visitors gathered information at the fairgrounds in Düsseldorf, Germany, about the latest everyday aids and solutions for every disability and every area of life. The focus of REHACARE 2022 included technical aids for children.

From September 14 to 17, 2022, around 35,000 visitors informed themselves about the latest everyday aids and solutions for almost every disability and every area of life. The focus of REHACARE 2022 included aids for children, disability-friendly conversion options for cars and other mobility aids, and, for the first time, exoskeletons for professional reintegration in the “People and Work” theme park. The highlights of the supporting program accompanying the trade fair included current topics such as Long COVID and digitalization / participation 4.0.

Experiencing inclusion, networking, testing everyday aids – the REHACARE community has been waiting for this for three years. The affected target group is large: According to the German Federal Statistical Office, there were around 7.8 million severely disabled people in Germany at the end of 2021. More than 4.1 million people were in need of nursing care at the end of 2019 according to nursing statistics, with about  3.3 million cared for at home. The 691 exhibiting companies from 38 countries, associations, self-help groups and Messe Düsseldorf were pleased with the enormous interest at the exhibition stands and expert forums. 

“With outstanding innovations presented by exhibitors, a packed line-up of products and exciting lectures directly from the industry, the world’s largest trade fair for rehabilitation and care celebrated its comeback as a leading showcase,” stated Erhard Wienkamp, managing director at Messe Düsseldorf. “Activities centered above all on personal conversations and the active exchange among people with and without disabilities, both when experiencing the exhibits and at the Sport Center. REHACARE is close to people. The core of the trade fair is the live experience and its lived principles of inclusion,”  

Despite the difficult economic environment, top brands such as Dietz, Kadomo, Meyra, Ottobock, Sunrise, and thyssenkrupp were represented at REHACARE 2022 alongside many medium-sized companies. In terms of internationality, REHACARE also scored with an increased share of foreign visitors; trade fair visitors came from over 80 countries.  

High demand for counseling among affected persons and relatives 

The need for counseling was high among many affected persons and their relatives. Self-help groups and social associations were on hand to offer advice and support during the four days of the trade fair. In addition to the use of exo-skeletons in rehabilitation, the topic of Participation 4.0 and how to make digitalization in the working world barrier-free were much discussed topics. Dr. Martin Danner, managing director of the Federal Association for Self-Help (BAG SELBSTHILFE), was pleased about the many discussions at the stand: “This was a successful new start for REHACARE. The self-help groups, in particular, were very happy about the exchange opportunities that the trade fair offers as an information and dialogue platform. Despite digital formats, the counseling options during the pandemic were severely limited for many. I was very impressed by the innovations presented at REHACARE. The fact that these can now overcome almost all barriers is once again decisively changing the discussion about accessibility.”

Excellent mood in the exhibition halls

Exhibitors were also pleased with their REHCARE participation. 

“REHACARE had a special significance for Ottobock this year,” said Philipp Hoefer, managing director sales & marketing DACH of Ottobock HealthCare Deutschland GmbH. “We presented our NeuroMobility concept here for the first time. The holistic care of patients with neurological conditions is the topic of the future for the industry. There was huge interest in the associated assistive devices, and our new Exopulse Mollii Suit was particularly popular. The personal exchange with visitors at the booth is always inspiring for me and our team – finally this was possible again at REHACARE.”

Udo Späker, marketing and distribution, Mobilitätsmanufaktur KADOMO GmbH, said, “We are pleased that REHACARE is back so successfully. For us at KADOMO, I can already say that participation was a complete success.”

“We were extremely happy to be here. Our stand was almost overrun after such a long time. It was definitely the right decision to register so early,” said Stefan Schäfer, managing director/managing director sales & marketing DACH of MEYRA.

Meeting point for children, community, and celebrities

Prominent guests also paid a visit to the REHACARE exhibitors. North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Karl-Josef Laumann, took a tour of the trade fair to see for himself the innovative strength of the companies and, together with Claudia Middendorf, the State Commissioner for the Disabled and Patients, welcomed the guests at the “NRW Treff” at North-Rhine Westphalia’s stand in Hall 6. At this NRW stand, visitors were able to get information  about topics such as barrier-free and addiction-free living, self-determined living and inclusive working. In addition, experts were available to answer questions about the spa services for caregiving relatives and the compatibility of work and care. Another guest at REHACARE was Dr. Rolf Schmachtenberg, Permanent State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

Multiple Olympic champion and exceptional athlete Kristina Vogel was at the stand of trivida P+L Innovations and was also impressed by the trade fair: “In Germany, around 1/10 of the population has a disability. The world out there is far from barrier-free and therefore people with a disability or with a need for care require appropriate aids. At a trade fair like REHACARE, people can get information and, above all, try out products. That’s why it’s so important as a platform and makes a decisive contribution to participation and inclusion.”

The lecture program at the PRODUCTS & NEWS @ REHACARE forum was enhanced by the inclusion activist Raúl Krauthausen with his lecture “It all depends on the encounter” explaining why encounters are more important than education.

Diverse program promotes know-how and exchange of ideas 

The TREFFPUNKT REHACARE in Hall 6 was the center of the event as a central platform for information, meetings, and exchange of experiences. Trend topics included long COVID, digitalization, participation in working life and technical assistance. The PRODUCTS & NEWS @ REHACARE forum, which brought innovations from the stands onto the stage, was also very successful. Many visitors took advantage of the program to deepen the impressions and information gained during their tour of the trade fair.

A lot of action at the Sport Center

“Participate and try out” was the motto at the Sport Center in Hall 7a. Over the four trade fair days people with and without disabilities experienced the many possibilities of inclusive sports. Lars Wiesel-Bauer, general manager of the Disability and Rehabilitation Sports Association North Rhine-Westphalia (BRSNW e.V.), commented, “After the break due to the COVID pandemic, it is really a great feeling to finally be at REHACARE again. Almost like a family get-together. The enthusiasm and joy visitors felt when seeing that you can practice the most popular sports despite a disability, has really overwhelmed us. Also, the new, open sports field concept has truly proven its worth.” 

The 46th REHACARE will be held in Düsseldorf, Germany from September 13 – 16, 2023. For further information on visiting or exhibiting at  REHACARE 2023, contact Messe Düsseldorf North America.