Skip to main content
Unit of study_

OCCP5250: OT in Hand and Upper Limb Rehabilitation

Semester 1, 2022 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Students will develop the knowledge and skills required to provide intervention for people whose impaired hand and upper limb capacity impacts on their ability to carry out needed or desired daily tasks and routines. Causes of impairments include disease, disorders and conditions that affect the peripheral and central nervous system, bones and joints, and connective tissues. Skills developed will include orthotic prescription and fabrication, task-embedded joint mobility and muscle strengthening methods and use of oedema and scar management techniques. Students will learn to clearly articulate the theoretical and evidence-based rationale for interventions selected.

Unit details and rules

Unit code OCCP5250
Academic unit Participation Sciences
Credit points 6
(BIOS1168 or BIOS5090) and OCCP5207 and OCCP5208 and OCCP5217
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Susan Shaw,
Lecturer(s) Susan Shaw,
Caitlin Rawstron,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment hurdle task Case analyses with report and supporting evidence
Written task
50% Multiple weeks 4050 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Skills-based evaluation hurdle task Orthotic competencies portfolio
50% Week 13 550 words
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5 LO4
hurdle task = hurdle task ?

Assessment summary

  • Case analyses with report & supporting evidence: 5 case reports. Each report must address specific criteria for the case. Each case report must be accompanied by a 1 paragraph synthesis of the evidence used to formulate the students’ response for that case. Key references will be provided for each case, with the case questions. Further peer reviewed references are expected. Important note: This is a Barrier Task. Minimum requirement to pass is: Must pass all 3 out of the 3 final cases and achieve an overall mark of >50% (25/50) overall for this assessment piece to pass the unit.
  • Orthotic competencies portfolio: Fabrication of orthoses will be marked at the end of class each week. The final portfolio will consist of recorded competency grades from individual splints made in class, an experiential report and a clinical reasoning report. IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a Barrier Task. Minimum requirement to pass is minimum mark of 16/20 (80%) for orthoses plus both reports must be submitted to pass the unit.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.


Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an exceptional standard.


75 - 84

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a very high standard.


65 - 74

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at a good standard.


50 - 64

Awarded when you demonstrate the learning outcomes for the unit at an acceptable standard.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see


For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction to UoS; 2. Anatomy 1; 3. Anatomy 2 Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 02 1. Anatomy 3; 2. Anatomy 4; 3. Orthotics system & wrist splint fabrication Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 03 1. Assessment of the upper limb; 2. Anatomy 5; 3. Wrist cock up splint fabrication Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 04 1. Anatomy 6 PBL; 2. eLink & assessment practical; 3. eLink & assessment practical (goni, etc) Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 05 1. Cumulative trauma affecting the wrist and hand; 2. Fabrication: resting splint & thumb spica splint Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 06 1. Fractures of the forearm, wrist & hand; 2. Fabrication: hand based UGS Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 07 1. Tendon & nerve lacerations affecting the upper limb; 2. Fabrication: DBS, mallet, finger gutter & anti claw splints Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 08 1. Management of spasticity, hypertonicity and contracture in the upper limb; 2. Fabrication: neuro casting. Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 09 1. Wrapping, strapping, taping, soft splinting, casting; 2. Application: T.A.P. splint, TFCC taping & dynamic taping. Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 10 1. Tetraplegia - Guest presenter; 2. Fabrication. WHO & HO Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 11 1. Burns – with an emphasis on face, arms and hands; 2. Fabrication: burn POSI splint Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 12 1. Splinting babies & children; 2. Fabrication: paeds thumb, paeds opponens, softcast Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  
Week 13 1. Scar management techniques; 2. Modalities incl. FES, TENS, Bioness H200, SAEBO Lecture and tutorial (3 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: Direct teaching session and tutorial attendance is recorded. Attendance at all classes is mandatory. Students are expected to attend and participate in classes, to be prepared and on time for classes, to complete expected work throughout the semester both in and out of class, and to respect the learning styles of their peers. 


Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Reading List, available on Canvas.


Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. list anatomical structures, describe the pathological processes and discuss the mechanisms of healing and recovery that influence outcomes for disorders and impairments commonly seen by occupational therapists working in upper limb and hand rehabilitation programs
  • LO2. outline principles of assessment and administer selected assessments used by occupational therapists working in upper limb and hand rehabilitation programs, including the E-Link system
  • LO3. develop knowledge and skills in a range of upper limb interventions, including orthotic fabrication, taping techniques, scar management, exercise & rest regimes, oedema management, pain reduction methods, TENS, FES, sling supports, physical guidance techniques and upper limb retraining methods
  • LO4. investigate and summarise the available evidence about the effectiveness of the upper limb interventions presented
  • LO5. design client-centered, occupation-embedded intervention plans for people whose occupational performance has been compromised as a result of disorders affecting the upper limb.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

In response to student feedback, extensive changes were made to this unit in 2019. Due to extensive changes in content delivery in 2020 & 2021, those changes are still being evaluated. Using student feedback again (verbal and through USS feedback), ongoing improvements are being implemented, to support students' learning in a challenging elective.

Teacher consultation guidelines: Sue and Caitlin are only at the university on Monday mornings. They both work full time elsewhere. Sue has a little flexibility on Mondays, Caitlin may not. Although you may email us at any time, due to our other work commitments, our replies to you will usually be delayed.

More information related to this unit will be provided in class and on Canvas.


Work, health and safety

PPE requirements are being constantly reviewed to ensure this unit is delivered in a safe manner.  Currently, goggles & masks are required for all classes.



The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.