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OTHY102 Musculoskeletal Structure and Function for Occupational Therapy AND OTHY108 Evidence-Based Practice and Health Conditions


OTHY203 Occupational Therapy Interventions for Physical Conditions

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focussed learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit introduces students to the impact of physical conditions on a person’s occupational performance and participation. The important role occupational therapists have in enabling individuals to restore function and achieve their occupational goals is explored. Students will build on their knowledge from the foundational first-year units to develop knowledge and application of evidence-based assessment and intervention for people with musculoskeletal, general medical and orthopaedic conditions. The Canadian Practice Process Framework will be used to plan, implement and evaluate intervention to achieve the person’s goals. The Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement (CMOP-E) is used to consider barriers and enablers to the person’s participation. This unit includes practical components focusing on assistive technology and manual handling. 

This unit contains a learning outcome from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework (HCF, 2014) specifically addressing the HCF cultural capability of Safety and Quality. 

The overall aim of this unit is to develop the knowledge and skills to address the occupational performance and participation needs commonly experienced 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 - Identify the impact of common musculoskeletal, general medical and orthopaedic conditions on occupational performance and participation (GA5, GA9)

LO2 - Evaluate, select, administer and interpret physical and functional assessments and accurately document findings (GA1, GA4, GA9)

LO3 - Evaluate, select, design and implement appropriate evidence-based interventions to facilitate the recovery and address occupational performance goals of individuals with physical conditions with consideration of the person, environment and occupation (GA1, GA4, GA5)

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

LO5 - HCF 9.1 Identify issues in diagnosing, treating and preventing disease and illness in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients (GA1, GA4, GA5)

Graduate attributes

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

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 

AOTCS 2018

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[.2. Adheres to legislation relevant to practice

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

1.6 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 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

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

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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


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


Topics will include:

Physical Rehabilitation

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

Occupational therapy frameworks and approaches to physical rehabilitation

  • Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement (CMOP-E)
  • Establish or restore a skill/ability
  • Adapt or modify
  • Health promotion
  • Prevention of disability
  • Maintenance of occupational performance and participation 

Occupational therapy processes and skills 

  • Assessment and intervention planning for adults with physical conditions 
  • Occupational performance analysis 
  • Client centred goal setting for intervention
  • Selection and provision of assistive technology
  • Discharge planning
  • Client transfers mobility and manual handling
  • Home assessment and intervention


  • 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. Assessment approaches in this unit were developed in collaboration with First Peoples’ Cultural Advisors.

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

Assessment Task 1: Written individual assignment:

The assignment enables students to demonstrate their 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, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA9

Assessment Task 2: 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, LO5

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA9

Assessment Task 3: Practical examination

This practical examination requires students to demonstrate competence in a range of practical skills including manual handling commonly utilised in clinical practice. Students work in groups to demonstrate these practical skills related to commonly encountered clinical scenarios.

Students who fail the practical examination will be granted a re-sit only if they achieve ≥50% for their total mark for the unit.

Graded Hurdle


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA9

Representative texts and references

Atchison, & Dirette, D. P. (2023). Conditions in occupational therapy : effect on occupational performance (Atchison & D. P. Dirette, Eds.; Sixth edition.). Wolters Kluwer.

Ainsworth, & De Jonge, D. (2019). An occupational therapist’s guide to home modification practice (Second edition.). SLACK Incorporated.

Curtin, Egan, M., & Adams, J. (2017). Occupational therapy for people experiencing illness, injury or impairment : promoting occupation and participation (Curtin, M. Egan, & J. Adams, Eds.; Seventh edition). Elsevier.

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

Pendleton, & Schultz-Krohn, W. (2018). Pedretti’s occupational therapy : practice skills for physical dysfunction (Eighth edition.). Elsevier.

Sames. (2015). Documenting occupational therapy practice (Third edition.). Pearson Education.

Townsend, Polatajko, H. J., & Polatajko, H. J. (2013). Enabling occupation II : advancing an occupational therapy vision for health, well-being, & justice through occupation (Second edition.). CAOT.

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