Psychosomatic Inpatient Rehabilitation: The German Model

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Abstract

The term ‘psychosomatic’ has many connotations, be it in the sense of a general biopsychosocial concept in medicine as outlined in the ICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health) of the World Health Organization, a holistic and person-centered view of the patient beyond the illness, the treatment of somatoform or somatic disorders, or special psychotherapeutic approaches. In Germany, there are also about 25,000 inpatient beds in ‘psychosomatic rehabilitation hospitals’, which treat approximately 5/1,000 inhabitants in the working age population per year. These institutions give an example of how to translate the theoretical concepts of psychosomatic medicine and of the ICF into clinical practice. ‘Psychosomatic rehabilitation’ aims at the prevention, treatment and compensation of chronic illness by a biopsychosocial approach. This includes a multilevel psychosomatic assessment and a multidimensional treatment focus including the reduction of symptoms, the training of capacities, the coping with chronic illness and impairment, the restoration of well-being and normal life, and the occupational reintegration including the search for a workplace, which allows work in spite of impairment. Scientific studies have shown that the psychological status, the motivation to work, the number of days on sickness leave and occupational reintegration can be improved, and that the system pays for the patients themselves, but also pension and health insurance companies.

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