TREFFPUNKT REHACARE 2022: Highlight topics from the expert forum
TREFFPUNKT REHACARE 2022: Highlight topics from the expert forum
TREFFPUNKT REHACARE is your central platform for lectures, panel discussions, and the exchange of information and experience. On all days of REHACARE 2022, Hall 6 served as the hub for knowledge exchange and discussions. Topics included the digitization of the workplace and recreational environment, technical assistance and vocational rehabilitation with a focus on exoskeletons, job coaching, and rehabilitation for people living with long or post-COVID conditions.
Parallel to the trade fair, the TREFFPUNKT REHACARE specialist forum in Hall 6, Stand E25, featured a program of lectures with a variety of exciting highlights.
The digital transformation in the workplace affects everyone. That’s the reason behind the development of the "Experience transformation – Shape digitization to fit" pilot project, which was presented by Michael Rosellen, Head of Department AWO Lower Rhine District Association (AWO Niederrhein), project assistant Kimberly Bauer, and project manager Elena Fronk at this year’s REHACARE trade fair. The "learning by gaming" gamification approach by talent::digital is designed to prepare nearly 1,000 employees for the digital transformation in the workplace. The project follows a phasing schedule, which takes participants from fascination to competency assessment, needs analysis, mindset transformation, and performance review.
Social participation thanks to digital media
Digitization also plays a major role in the social participation of people with disabilities. The project model "#ROOKIE – Be digital!" aims to improve and assess the digital communications options for social participation by boosting media literacy in the residential facilities and outpatient services of Lebenshilfe Brakel. Jerome Major, Managing Director of Lebenshilfe Brakel, Christina Ising, Head of Housing & Project Management, and Kilian Krämer, Pixcel Laboratory and disability inclusion lecturer, presented the project in the expert forum:
The basic equipment includes tablets, smart TVs, laptops, and customized apps. The ROOKIE basic course tests the willingness to try out digital media and overcome fear and anxiety. Those who are interested in delving deeper into the subject can also take additional courses. The goal is to facilitate digital participation for everyone – including employees. However, several challenges must still be overcome and include integration into everyday care processes, hardware integration into IT management or the fact that digital media are not recognized as assistive technology. The eagerness to learn, higher social media self-efficacy and increased participation through person-centered support, learning and experience environments are just some examples that speak in favor of promoting digital media as a tool in this setting.
Assistive technology for vocational rehabilitation
Another major topic at TREFFPUNKT REHACARE was occupational rehabilitation and technical assistance. An analysis by the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automationrevealed that 60 percent of employees admitted to having or to having had musculoskeletal pain in the past. These injuries are the reason for most – a quarter to be exact – sick days. Urban Daub encouraged companies to take preventive measures at an early stage and pointed to back-support exoskeletons that companies could use to offer assistance.
At REHACARE 2022, everyone was invited to try out whether or how exoskeletons bring relief at the workplace in practice.
ASTM International F48 also showcased the potential of occupational exoskeletons in rehabilitation. As Wiliam Billotte explained, a survey by ASTM International F48 revealed that U.S. employees still know little about occupational exoskeletons and their application in the workplace. However, respondents actually felt the use of exoskeletons to be an effective solution that offers lots of potential for improved quality of life. To promote the adoption, effective use, and acceptance of exoskeletons in the workplace, ASTM International F48 develops standards and certifications for exoskeleton manufacturing.
Another presentation that featured industrial exoskeletons and emphasized secondary prevention came from Laevo. Boudewijn Wisse explained that if the condition is detected early, exoskeletons can help reduce pain and stop the progression. Exoskeletons can also be beneficial in other occupational fields including the healthcare and outdoor construction sectors. "We offer a wide array of solutions for those who have problems and those who want to prevent them," says Wisse.
Not every problem can be solved with an exoskeleton. The LWL Inclusion Office for Work highlighted the benefits of job coaching in its respective lecture. If work performance decreases because of disability or illness, when job requirements have changed or problems arise that the company and its employees cannot solve despite making several attempts, it makes sense to enlist job coaching. According to the lecture, "this usually involves a person who needs extra help and support in the workplace." Over several months, the job coach and the stakeholder will assess the problem to jointly develop a structural solution.
In the TREFFPUNKT REHACARE expert forum, a lot of personal exchange of information and experience took place during the days of the trade fair.
Long and post-COVID: Therapeutic concepts to treat symptoms
The morning of the third trade fair day at TREFFPUNKT REHACARE is entirely dedicated to the pressing and complex topic of long and post-COVID conditions. Barbara Steffens, Head of the TK Regional Office NRW, started the day off by explaining that patients with long-COVID symptoms pose a major challenge for the rehabilitation sector as this requires the development of new therapeutic concepts to treat the physical and psychological symptoms of the disease, which vary from person to person.
Dr. Pantea Pape from the NTC Neurological Therapy Center Cologne discussed the outpatient therapy program of the NTC: A multidisciplinary therapeutic team comprising experts in physiotherapy, ergotherapy, sports therapy, speech therapy, neuropsychology, nursing care, nutritional and social counseling, and medicine develops a treatment that is tailored to the individual problems and needs of the patient. The close collaboration among the respective fields is necessary to restore full participation pertaining to all areas of life.
At the expert forum, Dr. Mario Siebler, Medical Director, and Head Physician of the Specialist Clinic for Neurology at MEDICLIN Fachklinik Rhein/Ruhr, revealed how post-COVID symptoms can be treated with classical rehabilitation approaches. Since there is no established pharmacotherapy at this juncture, he pointed to a specialized rehabilitation program as the best way to treat symptoms.
Once again, this year’s TREFFPUNKT REHACARE lived up to its stellar reputation as the social, societal, and health politics center of the trade fair – as evidenced by the many lively dialogs and conversations in the expert forum. The highlighted topics are and will remain relevant as vocational rehabilitation and participation will continue to affect people from an analog and digital perspective given increasing digitization. It will be exciting to discover the new treatment options for long and post-COVID symptoms in a year from now.
Click here for a program overview of all TREFFPUNKT REHACARE expert forum lectures.
Lena Schmidt (übersetzt von Elena O'Meara) REHACARE.de