There were some interesting products on show at Rehacare held in Dusseldorf, Germany last month. Catching our attention was the Independence Bed Table, claimed to be the only bed rail on the market that combines the safety of a bed rail with the convenience of a bedside tray. Another was heated socks from Alpenheat with a heating element integrated into the sock above the toe. The sock is operated with a small battery attached to the calf or shoe and the sock delivers 8-16 hours of comfortable warmth.

For people needing extra assistance from crutches, the SmartCrutch was another innovation. Designed to provide six times more surface area for support, these claim to distribute pressure more efficiently than conventional crutches. Reduction in pressure on the hands and forearms eliminates callouses and reduces wrist strain as well as pressure under the arms.

Hugo was the name given to a new bathtub handle that consisted of two handrails that are easy to assemble and fit on the edge of the bath. Made from coated stainless steel, plastic and non-skid rubber the handrail can be installed on the left or right of the bathtub handle.

Tony Mason from Dejay Rehab who visits the show every year told Freedom2live the event is an opportunity to have a “face-to-face” with suppliers as well as checking out new products.

“There were not a lot of new products this year but we can expect to see more in 2014 when the bigger companies’ exhibit,” he said.  “There is always a bit of competition between Europe and America as to who has the biggest exhibition.  Most Australians visit the US because their style of rehab is similar to ours. It is also cheaper to buy in the US.  Quality and engineering is high in Germany but you pay a premium for it.”

Mason did notice a move away from titanium in wheelchair manufacture, to lightweight, high strength steel models. He said Dejay Rehab would be adding three new walkers to its range in the New Year. Developed for young children aged from 18 months to four years, the walkers will come in attractive designs and be adjustable as the child grows.