Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


All first year units

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Occupational therapists are required to understand how physical conditions can impact an individual's ability to participate in their occupations as well as be able to provide interventions to address these occupational performance issues. Students apply their knowledge of biology and physiology to enhance occupational performance through assessment and treatment for people with musculoskeletal, general medical and orthopaedic conditions. The framework of the Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement (CMOP-E) is used to consider barriers and enablers to client participation in self-care, work and leisure activities. This unit includes a practical component focussing on assistive technology and manual handling. The overall aim of this unit is to develop the foundational knowledge and skills to address the occupational performance issues commonly encountered by individuals with physical conditions.

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 - Assess the impact of common musculoskeletal, general medical and orthopaedic conditions on occupational performance; (GA5, GA9)

LO2 - Select, administer, interpret and analyse physical and functional assessments and accurately document findings; (GA4, GA9)

LO3 - Design, implement and evaluate appropriate interventions within physical rehabilitation considering the person, environment and occupation; (GA4, GA5)

LO4 - Select, implement and communicate correct manual handling techniques to assist client transfers and mobility, enabling optimal performance in daily activities. (GA5)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

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 

1.3 Maintains professional boundaries in all client and professional relationships

1.5 Practices in a culturally responsive and culturally safe manner, with particular respect to culturally diverse client groups

1.7 Collaborates and consults ethically and responsibly for effective client-centred and inter-professional practice

1.8 Adheres to all work health and safety, and quality requirements for practice

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

1, 2, 3, 4

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.

2.3 Identifies and applies best available evidence in professional practice and decision making

1, 2, 3, 4

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

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

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

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

1, 2, 3, 4

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: 

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

2, 4


Physical Rehabilitation

  • Overview
  • Musculoskeletal conditions
  • General medical conditions
  • Orthopaedic conditions
  • Spinal injuries
  • Amputations 
  • Arthritis and pain
  • Cardiac and pulmonary conditions
  • Visual impairment

Application of occupational therapy interventions

  • Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement (CMOP-E)
  • Assessment and enhancement of occupational performance
  • Adaptive equipment
  • Home visiting
  • Discharge planning
  • Community based occupational therapy for physical rehabilitation

Practical skill development

  • Assess and treat a range of musculoskeletal, general medical and orthopaedic conditions
  • Client transfers mobility and manual handling
  • Wheelchair prescription
  • Seating and pressure care
  • Prescription and modification of Activities of Daily Living equipment
  • Assistive technology
  • Universal design
  • Client centred goal setting for intervention
  • Funding
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme & National Injury Insurance Scheme
  • My Aged Care

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Teaching and learning strategies for this unit will include lectures, practical sessions, case studies and self-directed learning. Consistent with adult learning principles, the teaching and learning strategies used within these modes of delivery will aid students in constructing knowledge and will apply real life-situations of occupational therapy practice. The lectures will provide a framework for the content of this unit, and situate it within an occupational therapy practice context. The tutorials and practicums will provide opportunity for experiential learning to further develop an understanding of the impact of physical conditions on occupational performance and to develop skills in assessment and intervention approaches for clients with physical conditions. 

Also, as part of this unit, students will participate in an interactive equipment practicum in which they will have the opportunity to trial a range of more advanced assistive technologies and complete an online learning package.

Students should be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group and practical activities, demonstrating respect for the individual as an independent learner.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.   Such procedures include:   individual written assignment, manual handling practical examination and written examination.

This breadth of assessment provides opportunity to evaluate both students’ knowledge and skills in relation to the assessment and management of individuals with physical conditions. Specifically, the practical examination is primarily focused on students demonstrating acquired manual handling skills and the written assignment and exam involve the application of knowledge to clinical scenarios.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written individual assignment:

The assignment enables students to demonstrate their clinical reasoning skills as applied to a physical rehabilitation clinical scenario. Students are required to analyse and interpret initial assessment findings for a provided case study and then design an evidence-based intervention plan. 


LO1, LO2, L03

GA4, GA5, GA9

Written examination

The exam enables students to communicate their knowledge and understanding of core learning related to assessment and the application of occupational therapy interventions within physical rehabilitation practice.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5

Hurdle Manual handling practical examination

This practical examination requires students to demonstrate competence in a range of manual handling techniques commonly utilised in clinical practice.  Students work in groups of three and provide a 10 minute demonstration of manual handling skills related to a commonly encountered clinical scenarios. 

Students who fail Manual Handling Practical Examination will be granted a supplementary only if they achieve ≥50% for their total mark for the unit.


LO1, LO2, LO3,LO4

GA4, GA5, GA9

Representative texts and references

Atchison, B & Dirette, D. (2017). Conditions in occupational therapy: effect on occupational performance (5th ed.). Philadelphia; Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Ainsworth, E., & De Jonge, D. (2019). An occupational therapist's guide to home modification practice (2nd ed.).

Curtin, M, Egan, M. & Adams, J (Eds). (2017). Occupational therapy for people experiencing illness, injury or impairment. Promoting occupation and participation (7th ed). Elsevier

M. V., & Latham, C. A. T. (2021). Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (Eighth edition.). Wolters Kluwer.

Pendleton, H., & Schultz-Krohn, W. (2018). Pedretti's occupational therapy: Practice skills for physical dysfunction (8th ed.).      

Dirette, D. P., Gutman, S. A., Radomski, M. V., & Latham, C. A. T. (2021). Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (Eighth edition.). Wolters Kluwer.

Sames, K. (2015). Documenting occupational therapy practice (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Townsend, E. A., & Polatajko, E.A. (2013). Enabling occupation 11: Advancing an occupational therapy vision for health, well-being and justice through occupation (2nd ed.). Ottawa: CAOT Publications ACE.  

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