OCC5111 - Advanced hand therapy theory, principles, and practice - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Department of Occupational Therapy


Dr Lisa O'Brien

Not offered in 2017


This unit will take a problem solving/ clinical reasoning approach to the management of upper limb injuries encompassing the acute and recovery phases as well as chronic conditions. It will build on existing knowledge of human structure and function and introduce concepts of tissue injury and repair to enable students to identify appropriate therapeutic strategies, depending on the person's stage in recovery from injury. Students should be able to identify the anatomical structures of the upper limb, and describe their specific functions. These will include bones, articular surfaces, joints, muscles, and nerves. Students will have the opportunity to develop skills in therapeutic assessment and intervention, including the fabrication of thermoplastic orthoses appropriate to complex clinical scenarios including tendon repair, arthritis, peripheral nerve trauma/repair, tenosynovitis, and fractures. Students will also attend an acute hand therapy clinic on 2 occasions to observe a client's recovery post surgery.


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

  1. Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of human hand structure and function, and describe the pathology and healing process in common upper limb injuries/conditions;
  2. Develop and describe intervention strategies (which may include an orthotic device/splint) for clients with specific upper limb injuries, supported with sound clinical reasoning;
  3. Demonstrate skill at the standard required for an advanced practitioner in the manufacture, fit and evaluation of specific orthotic devices for a variety of conditions which affect the occupational performance of specific clients;
  4. Demonstrate competence in searching, describing, summarising, and presenting (verbally and in writing) the evidence from scientific literature on a specific topic related to hand therapy.


  • Attendance at 100% of lectures/practicums, unless a medical certificate is provided
  • Attendance at an acute hand therapy clinic on two separate occasions (total 4 hours)
  • Presentation at a student seminar (20 minutes)
  • Submission and critique of all orthoses made
  • 1 x 1,000 word and 1 x 3,000 word essays


  • Students must gain at least 50% of available summative assessment task marks and complete all formative assessment in order to pass the unit.

Workload requirements

40 hours lecture/practicums in block mode;

4 hours attendance at a hand therapy clinic;

16 hours attendance at seminar where students complete a 20 minute presentation;

60 hours of private study (including pre-reading for class times, research into and preparation of seminar presentation, preparation of assignments).

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


Completion of an undergraduate degree or equivalent in occupational therapy or physiotherapy.