Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


OTHY200 Neuroscience, Neurodevelopment OTHY201 Social Determinants of First Peoples Health and Wellbeing AND OTHY202 Ergonomics and Occupational Health and Safety AND OTHY203 Occupational Therapy Interventions for Physical Conditions AND OTHY204 Occupational Participation and Disability AND OTHY205 Mental Health Recovery in Occupational Therapy 1 AND OTHY206 Upper Limb Orthoses and Rehabilitation AND OTHY207 Vocational Preparation and Rehabilitation

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Occupational therapists play a vital role in working with older people in restoring and maintaining function, roles, participation and health. In this unit students will draw upon their theoretical knowledge and skills in occupational therapy principles, models and practices as applied to older adults. Students will consider the impact of the ageing process on a person’s occupational performance, roles, participation and health and identify and apply evidence based interventions relevant for older adults goal attainment.  Knowledge gained in this unit will culminate in the design of a group program for the older population that demonstrates students’ understanding of how a wellness and enablement approach can be implemented within an occupationally focused context.

The overall aim of this unit is for students to further develop and apply their knowledge and skills of the impact of ageing on occupational performance, roles, participation and health to implement evidence-based intervention. 

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe the life stage of older adults and the social determinants of health for this population; (GA1, GA5, GA8)

LO2 - Analyse the impact of a person’s physical, social, cultural and institutional environments on the health, wellbeing and participation of older adults (GA1, GA4, GA8, GA9)

LO3 - Apply knowledge of the factors associated with ageing to the promotion of ongoing health, well-being and participation. (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9)

LO4 - Select and appraise occupational therapy interventions for older adults and their carers across a range of health care settings using an evidence-based framework in consideration of ethical and medico-legal principles. (GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

Australian occupational therapy competency standards (AOTCS) 2018

Australian occupational therapy competency standards (AOTCS) 2018 developed within this unit are:

Standard/Attributes/CriteriaLearning Outcomes

Standard 1 - Professionalism 

An occupational therapist practises in an ethical, safe, lawful and accountable manner, supporting client health and wellbeing through occupation and consideration of the person and their environment.

An occupational therapist:

1.1 complies with the Occupational Therapy Board of Australia’s standards, guidelines and Code of conduct

1.2 Adheres to legislation relevant to practice

1.3. maintains professional boundaries in all client and professional relationships

1.4. Recognises and manages conflicts of interest in all client and professional relationships

1.6 Incorporates and responds to historical, political, cultural, societal, environmental and economic factors influencing health, wellbeing and occupations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

1.7 collaborates and consults ethically and responsibly for effective client-centred and interprofessional practice

1.9 identifies and manages the influence of her/his values and culture on practice

1.10 practises within limits of her/his own level of competence and expertise

1.11 Maintains professional competence and adapts to change in practice contexts

1.12 identifies and uses relevant professional and operational support and supervision

1.15 Addresses issues of occupational justice in practice

1.17 Recognises and manages any inherent power imbalance in relationships with clients

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Standard 2 - Knowledge and learning 

An occupational therapist’s knowledge, skills and behaviours in practice are informed by relevant and contemporary theory, practice knowledge and evidence, and are maintained and developed by ongoing professional development and learning.

An occupational therapist:

2.1 applies current and evidence-informed knowledge of occupational therapy and other appropriate and relevant theory in practice

2.2 applies theory and frameworks of occupation to professional practice and decision-making

2.6 maintains and improves currency of knowledge, skills and new evidence for practice by adhering  to the requirements for continuing professional development.

2.7 implements a specific learning and development plan when moving to a new area of practice or returning to practice.

2.9 maintains knowledge of relevant resources and technologies 

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4,

Standard 3 - Occupational therapy process and practice 

An occupational therapist’s practice acknowledges the relationship between health, wellbeing and human occupation, and their practice is client-centred for individuals, groups, communities and populations.

An occupational therapist:

3.1 addresses occupational performance and participation of clients, identifying the enablers and barriers to engagement

3.2 performs appropriate information gathering and assessment when identifying a client's status and functioning, strengths, occupational performance and goals

3.3 collaborates with the client and relevant others to determine the priorities and occupational therapy goals  

3.4 develops a plan with the client and relevant others to meet identified occupational therapy goals        

3.5 selects and implements culturally responsive and safe practice strategies to suit the occupational therapy goals and environment of the client

3.6. seeks to understand and incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples· experiences of health, wellbeing and occupations encompassing cultural connections

3.7 reflects on practice to inform and communicate professional reasoning and decision making

3.8 identifies and uses practice guidelines and protocols suitable to the practice setting or work environment 

3.9 implements an effective and accountable process for delegation, referral and handover  

3.10 reviews, evaluates and modifies plans, goals and interventions with the client and relevant others to enhance or achieve client outcomes

3.11 evaluates client and service outcomes to inform future practice

3.12 uses effective collaborative, multidisciplinary and inter-professional approaches for decision-making and planning

3.13 uses appropriate assistive technology, devices and/or environmental modifications to achieve client occupational performance outcomes

3.14 contributes to quality improvement and service development

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Standard 4 - Communication 

Occupational therapists practise with open, responsive and appropriate communication to maximise the occupational performance and engagement of clients and relevant others.

An occupational therapist:

4.1 communicates openly, respectfully and effectively

4.2 adapts written, verbal and non-verbal communication appropriate to the client and practice context

4.4 uses culturally responsive, safe and relevant communication tools and strategies

4.5 complies with legal and procedural requirements for the responsible and accurate documentation, sharing and storage of professional information and records of practice.

4.6 maintains contemporaneous, accurate and complete records of practice.      

4.7 obtains informed consent for practice and information-sharing from the client or legal guardian

4.8 maintains collaborative professional relationships with clients, health professionals and relevant others

4.9 uses effective communication skill s to initiate and end relationships with clients and relevant others

4.10 seeks and responds to feedback, modifying communication and/or practice accordingly,

4.11 identifies and articulates the rationale for practice to clients and relevant others

LO1, LO2, LO4


Topics will include:


  • Theories of ageing
  • Pathophysiological & psychosocial aspects of ageing
  • Healthy ageing, wellbeing and participation of older adults
  • Cultural perspectives of ageing
  • First People’s perspectives of ageing
  • Ethical and medico-legal considerations
  • Consumer experiences and impact of ageing


Service delivery models

  • Australian Context and Policy
  • Health Promotion, Participation and Wellbeing in Older Age
  • Advance Care Planning and End of Life Care


Occupational therapy and ageing

  • Mental Health & Cognition: Dementia, Delirium & Depression
  • Falls: Prevention & management
  • Home Modifications & enabling environments
  • Assistive technologies
  • Driving, Transportation and Community Access
  • Caregiving Responsibilities and Caring for Older Adults
  • Sexuality, intimacy & relationships in older age
  • Ageing in the Workforce & Transition to Retirement 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit utilises blended land case-based learning. Lectures will be used to provide essential knowledge that will be applied in tutorials. Self-directed online learning will complement these approaches. Adopting a blended learning strategy, supports students to meet the learning requirements, including completion of assessment tasks, in this intensive block taught unit.

Tutorials are guided by case-based learning which focuses on presenting students with different case scenarios an occupational therapist may experience with an older person. In resolving the scenarios students need to draw on their professional reasoning skills to identify relevant information from the case to identify core occupational performance and participation issues and interventions to address the clients goals. Students also engage in five (5) hours of professional practice in relation to assignment three. This professional practice experience involves students interviewing an older person about their experience of ageing, providing a person-centred understanding of ageing in Australian society. Learning and Teaching approaches included in this unit were developed in collaboration with First Peoples’ Cultural Advisors.

Assessment strategy and rationale

OTHY400 has three assessment tasks, these being: an online quiz, group oral presentation and individual written assignment. The first assessment task, online quiz, focuses on assessing student’s knowledge in relation to older adults within society, such as population ageing, and the ethical and medico-legal principles of practice. Assessing student’s knowledge provides a foundation from which the students can then apply occupational therapy principles of practice to older people. Assignment 2 and 3 draw on a case scenario and interview with an older person respectively. These assessments both draw on authentic, real world, tasks that might be undertaken by occupational therapists working with older adults in practice. Being able to work both collaboratively and individually is essential to future practice as occupational therapists.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assignment 1: Online Quiz

As the first assessment piece in OTHY400, the online quiz focuses on assessing students’ knowledge in relation to older adults within society, such as population ageing, and the ethical and medico-legal principles of practice.


 LO1, LO4,

GA3, GA4, GA5

Assignment 2: Group Oral Presentation

Assignment 2 focuses on students working collaboratively to develop a group program for older adults across different health and community care settings. This assignment draws on a range of case studies, with each group of students developing a separate program. The development of a group program for older adults reflects real-world tasks undertaken by occupational therapists in practice.


LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assignment 3: Individual Written Assignment

Assignment 3, an individual written assignment, enables students to an interview with an older person about their experience of ageing. The information gathered from the interview is used to provide a brief overview of the older person. Students then use this information to consider older adults more generally and the contributions they make to the society in which they live. The environmental barriers and enablers for older adults participation in society and the role of occupational therapists to support older adults continued participation in society will be examined.


LO2 LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assignment 2: Group Contract

Hurdle requirements

LO3, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assignment 2: Outline of group meetings & group statement of contribution

Hurdle requirements

LO3, LO4,

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9

Assignment 3: Signed Information Statement & Consent Form

Hurdle requirements

LO1, LO3, LO4,

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Assignment 3: Interview Peer Review & Fieldwork Timesheet - signed

Hurdle requirements

LO1, LO3, LO4,

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Atwal, A. & McIntyre, A. (2013). Occupational therapy and older people (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell.

Bonder, B., & Bello-Haas, V. (2018). Functional performance in older adults (4th ed.).F.A. Davis Company.

Clemson, L., & Laver, K. (2014). Active ageing and occupational therapy align. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 61(3), 204-207.

Freegard, H., Isted, L., Russell, M., Buchanan, A., Hird, K., Cooper, I., Fielding, A., Godwin, S., Mortley, E., and Migliorino, P. (2012). Ethical practice for health professionals. engage Learning Australia. 

Leland, N., Elliott, S. & Johnson, K. (2012). Occupational therapy practice guidelines for productive aging for community-dwelling older adults. Bethesda, Maryland: American Occupational Therapy Association.

Pozzi, C., Lanzoni, A., Graff, M.J.L., Morandi, A. (Eds.) (2020). Occupational therapy for older people. Springer International Publishing

World Health Organisation (WHO) (2015). World Report on Ageing and Health. Retrieved from:

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