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Successful rehab thanks to social networks

Successful rehab thanks to social networks

The success of rehabilitation largely depends on the social networks of the patients.

Rehabilitation treatments work better with the help of friends and family. Support from their own social network, especially from family members, has a significant impact on the success of rehab treatment, according to a recent study by the Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.

The scientists around the director of the institute, Professor Dr. As part of their current study, Wilfried Mau from the University of Halle-Wittenberg found that well-functioning social networks significantly influence the success of rehab treatment. The investigations have shown that "the size of the family network also increases the physical quality of life of the rehabilitated person as well as his sporting activities and the return to work is strengthened," reports the Halle-Wittenberg University Hospital.

As part of the study, the researchers examined possible connections between the success of rehabilitation and the social network on the basis of approximately 300 patients with muscular and skeletal disorders. The subjects were 46 years old on average and 45 percent were female. At the beginning and end of the rehab after three months, the study participants filled out "questionnaires on the social network and social support as well as health-related behaviors," according to the Halle-Wittenberg University Hospital.

The evaluation of the data showed that the rehabilitation patients above all define their children, spouses and life partners, friends, parents, siblings and other relatives as well as work colleagues as part of their personal social network. The most important caregiver was the spouse or life partner for 75 percent of the respondents. The current study shows that the size of the family network also increases the physical quality of life of the person undergoing rehabilitation, as well as his sporting activities and the return to work is strengthened, reports the Halle-Wittenberg University Hospital.

Family and friends have a significant influence on eating and exercise behavior. If the caregivers predominantly eat healthy, this is easier for the patients. However, changes in movement behavior often require practical support from relatives and friends - even if this may only be a matter of taking on domestic tasks so that patients have time for their sports group. The head of the study recommends Professor Dr. Mau involve the social network of the patients more intensively than before in the rehabilitation process and inform the related persons about the rehab in a targeted way. According to the expert, "doctors and therapists must make their important role clear to relatives, partners and friends" in order to improve the chances of success for rehabilitation. (fp)

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