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OTHY210 Physical Rehabilitation 1 OR OTHY203 Occupational Therapy Interventions for Physical Conditions

Unit rationale, description and aim

Occupational therapists working with adults in physical rehabilitation enable occupational performance and participation. Building upon prior learning of physical conditions and the Canadian Practice Process Framework, students will use professional reasoning to develop evidence-based intervention plans. Students will extend their professional skills in verbal and written communication. Specific knowledge and skills related to musculoskeletal upper limb assessment, intervention and orthotics fabrication will be developed that can be applied to address a range of occupational performance issues.

The aim of this unit is to develop students’ knowledge and skills in occupational therapy physical rehabilitation to address occupational performance and participation

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 - Demonstrate effective and professional written, verbal and non-verbal communication in the delivery of occupational therapy physical rehabilitation assessment and intervention (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO2 - Evaluate, select and competently demonstrate skills in the provision of physical rehabilitation assessment and intervention for adults (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO3 - Apply professional reasoning to assess, design, implement and evaluate evidence-based intervention plans for adults experiencing physical conditions that impact occupational performance and participation (GA4, GA5, GA9)

LO4 - Apply professional reasoning to select appropriate orthoses to enhance function of the upper limb, following physical trauma or disease; and develop competence in the design, fabrication and evaluation of upper limb orthosis (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10)

LO5 - Critique, select, administer and interpret standardised and non-standardised functional assessments for hand and upper limb use and apply to intervention planning (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

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

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

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.

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:

1.8 adheres to all work health and safety, and quality requirements for 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

1.13 manages resources, time and workload accountably and effectively

1.14 recognises and manages her/his own physical and mental health for safe, professional practice


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

2.4 understands and responds to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health philosophies, leadership, research and practices

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

2.8 reflects on practice to inform current and future reasoning and decision-making and the integration of theory and evidence into practice

2.9 maintains knowledge of relevant resources and technologies


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

3.7 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 1,2,3,4,5 reviews, evaluates and modifies plans, goals and interventions with the client and relevant others to enhance or achieve client outcomes

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:

4.1 communicates openly, respectfully and effectively

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

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

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

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

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



Topics will include:

Advanced application of occupational therapy practice in physical rehabilitation

  • Canadian Practice Process Framework (CPPF)
  • Canadian Model of Occupational Performance and Engagement (CMOP-E)
  • Assessment and enhancement of occupational performance and participation
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme & National Injury Insurance Scheme
  • My Aged Care
  • Intervention and discharge planning
  • Verbal, non-verbal and written communication skills

Advanced application of physical rehabilitation assessments and interventions to address:

  • Range of motion
  • Muscle strength
  • Manual muscle testing
  • Pain
  • Sensation
  • Oedema
  • Fatigue


  • Participation Upper limb musculoskeletal and traumatic injury management including:
  • Biomechanical and kinesiological principles
  • Occupational therapy specialisation in diseases and injuries of the upper limb
  • Application of reasoning in upper limb rehabilitation
  • Impact of injury and disability on occupational performance
  • Orthotic design, fabrication and evaluati

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Teaching and learning approaches for this unit will include lectures, tutorials, practical sessions, case studies and self-directed learning.

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

Lectures will deliver expert content on the application of occupational therapy practice within physical rehabilitation to inform learning in tutorials and practicals. Tutorials enable students to gather and apply knowledge on adult physical rehabilitation assessment and intervention to case studies and clinical scenarios. Practicals are focused on experiential learning, demonstration, practice and the development of skills in occupational therapy practice. A part of the unit will focus on upper limb musculoskeletal and traumatic injury management including orthotic design, fabrication and management.

These approaches to learning and teaching combine to develop students’ capacity to apply professional reasoning and develop well designed, practical and authentic occupational therapy intervention plans for application in physical rehabilitation

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate theirachievement of each learning outcome. Unit assessment tasks are constructively aligned to the unit learning objectives and graduate attributes and include a written intervention plan, written exam and a practical assessment of physical rehabilitation assessment and intervention techniques. These assessments are designed in accordance with university assessment requirements and focus on evaluating the development of students knowledge and skills in physical rehabilitation assessment and intervention. This includes both the practical application of assessment and intervention and the students’ ability to apply professional reasoning to develop occupational therapy intervention plans for application in physical rehabilitation. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Practical examination of physical rehabilitation assessment and intervention techniques This practical examination requires students to demonstrate competence in selected assessment and intervention techniques commonly utilised in physical rehabilitation in clinical practice. Students must use professional reasoning and relate learning to a relevant clinical scenario. 


LO1, LO2, LO4

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 2: Written Case Study Assignment Students analyse and interpret information from a selected physical rehabilitation case scenario and apply professional reasoning to develop an evidence-based occupational therapy intervention plan.


LO1, LO3, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment Task 3: Written Two Hour Exam The exam requires students to utilise and apply their professional reasoning, knowledge and understanding of occupational therapy practice in physical rehabilitation. 


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10

Representative texts and references

Boyt Schell, B.A., & Gillen, G. (Eds.). (2018). Willard and Spackman’s occupational therapy (13th ed.). Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Cooper, C. (2020). Fundamentals of hand therapy: Clinical reasoning and treatment guidelines for common diagnosis of upper extremity. (3rd ed.).

C.V. Mosby & Co. Moore, K. L., & Dalley A. F. (2010). Clinically oriented anatomy (6th ed.).Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Prosser, R., & Conolly, W. B. (2003). Rehabilitation of the hand and upper limb. Elsevier Limited.

Sames, K. (2015). Documenting occupational therapy practice (3rd ed.). Pearson Education.

Skirven, T.M., Ostermanm L.A., Fedorczyk, J., & Amadio, P.C. (2011). Rehabilitation of the hand and upper extremity (6th ed.). Mosby, Inc.

Trombly, C.A., & Radomski, M.V. (Eds). (2014). Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (7th ed.). Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.

Townsend, E., & Polatajko H.J. (2013). Enabling occupation 11: Advancing an occupational therapy vision for health, well-being and justice through occupation (2nd ed.). Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists ACE.

Wilton, J. (Ed.). (2014). Hand splinting principles of design and fabrication (3rd ed.). Saunders.

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