REHACARE 2016: Full exhibition halls and satisfied exhibitors

A total of 49,300 industry professionals and people affected by disabilities visited the market for opportunities for self-determined living

A wealth of innovations and subjects that are burning issues for people with disabilities and care requirements resulted in full exhibition halls and satisfied exhibitors at the four days of the REHACARE 2016 trade fair, which came to an end on Saturday, 1 October. A total of 49,300 industry professionals and people affected by disabilities attended Europe's leading trade fair for rehabilitation and care. New information and aids designed to help people with disabilities and care requirements or to support the elderly in leading a largely self-determined life were presented by 916 exhibitors from 36 countries. The REHACARE trade fair recorded its best result in its 39-year history with 32,000 square metres of rented exhibition space.

“The REHACARE trade fair benefits from its role as an international market for opportunities that provides a comprehensive overview of all aids that help make life easier to those living with disabilities, their relatives and an international trade audience. The presentations ranged from little helpers for everyday life through standard products to high-tech mobility aids and assistive systems,” says Joachim Schäfer, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf, taking stock of the event. “At the same time, our trade fair is an essential platform for everyone needing information and advice and wishing to share their experiences with people facing similar challenges. The information about the provision of home care to those requiring it, the congress for developing quarters as well as the discussions and presentations relating to many political subjects that concern people with disabilities were right at the top of the agenda this year.”

The cabinet bill for the German Federal Participation Act that is intended to consolidate the rights of people with disabilities, for instance, was a central topic at the stand run by the German Federal Association SELBSTHILFE (Self-Help). “From the point of view of the associations representing people with disabilities, there is a need for considerable improvement – particularly in regard to nationally uniform procedures for providing assistance and benefits associated with integration support,” says Dr Martin Danner, National Executive Director of the SELBSTHILFE Association. “But the future provision of assistive products on the basis of the new Legislation for Remedies and Aids was also cause for much discussion at our stand. People with disabilities who are covered by statutory insurance must be able to benefit properly from the wealth of innovative aids that are available – including those presented by the international market here at the REHACARE trade fair. It is therefore encouraging that the German manufacturers of assistive products have committed themselves to ensuring high-quality provision on the basis of the catalogue of medical aids that is maintained by the statutory health insurance companies.”

Exhibitors award top marks to REHACARE 2016. A representative poll shows that far in excess of 90% are satisfied with the course of the event, 83% say that the fair has already been a business success as well. The survey also shows that 88% are expecting good follow-up business after the fair.

The export-oriented industry for medical aids is also pleased that so many people from other countries attended the event.  Around 8,000 trade visitors from sales, import and cost bearers travelled to the exhibition halls in Düsseldorf. The international visitors – who travelled from 47 countries – are also vital to the medical-aid industry in Germany. According to estimates by the industry association SPECTARIS, the representative body in the areas of medical technology, optical technologies and analytical, biological, laboratory, and ophthalmic devices, most of the around 300 German businesses in the sector experienced growth in 2015 particularly in other countries.  With an export rate of now 55%, the market for medical aids has closed the gap on the export figures for the entire medical-technology industry, which most recently ranged at 64%.  The industry for medical aids in Germany generated total sales of 3.6 billion euros in 2015, a good 3% more than in the previous year.

Significantly more visitors from the field of care provision are now coming to the REHACARE trade fair. Particularly young people intending to enter into one of the care professions took advantage of the fair to find out more about the various professions and training opportunities.

Visitors again focused their interest on the traditionally strongest segment of the exhibited range: Mobility and walking aids. More than half of them wanted to discover more about innovations in this field, which was followed by the segment of everyday aids. Almost every third person at the fair was interested in orthopaedic and care aids.

The training and information programme at the Forum Leben (Life Forum) with Pflege@home (Care@home) attracted twice as many participants as last time. Around 400 care professionals and care-providing relatives attended the seminars on the provision of home care that the Pflegeakademie Niederrhein (Care Academy for the lower Rhine region) in Willich had organised in conjunction with care experts from a range of different disciplines. “The theme day that was specifically aimed at wound experts was a complete success with 250 people attending and has established itself as a firm fixture within the event,” says Managing Director, Heike Senge. The talks and information presented about accompanying people with dementia attracted great attention from care-providing relatives.     

The interest in the ‘Wir fürs Quartier’ (‘We for Quarters’) REHACARE Congress, which accompanied the trade fair on 29 September, exceeded the Messe Düsseldorf's expectations by far. A total of 120 representatives from municipalities, social and residential housing and organised citizenry took part in an interdisciplinary exchange of experiences that dealt with all aspects of developing quarters for the elderly. The event had been organised under the auspices of the Kuratorium Deutsche Altershilfe (Curatorship German Care for the Elderly).

The highlight for all sports enthusiasts visiting the REHACARE trade fair was – as always – the REHACARE Sports Center. Every fifth person accepted the invitation by the Behinderten- und Rehabilitationssportverband NRW, which is a sports association for the disabled and rehabilitation in North Rhine-Westphalia, to actively join in the sports activities or to find out more about the types of sport that are available to people with disabilities.

The next REHACARE will take place in Düsseldorf from 4 to 7 October 2017.

Düsseldorf, 1 October 2016