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Physiotherapy Assistant - Occupational Therapy Assistant

Program Duration: 80 weeks

CDI College's Physiotherapy Assistant - Occupational Therapy Assistant program is designed to prepare and formally train students to work in partnership with, and under the direction of physiotherapists and occupational therapists.

In the program, you'll pick up the knowledge, skills, values and behaviours necessary to work alongside occupational therapists, physical therapists and physiotherapists as their assistant in health care and community settings, while staying current in the areas of occupational therapy and physiotherapy practice, emerging trends in the health system, and advances in theory and technology.

This program is also designed to meet accreditation standards set by Physiotherapy Education Accreditation Canada (PEAC).

Program Courses

SSSO - Student Success Strategies

The purpose of this course is to optimize learning through equipping students with effective study techniques. This course also provides an introduction to personality styles that will be encountered in the workplace and allows students to practise appropriate and productive interaction between the various styles. Emphasis is placed on the types of communication that work best with each style in order to achieve a good working relationship and to manage and resolve conflicts that arise. Students are also introduced to strategies for setting personal goals, managing time, and managing the stress that results from study or work and builds on positive group dynamics and setting expectations for student success

IRH4 - Introduction to Rehabilitation
This course introduces students to the field of rehabilitation. It addresses the diversity of the roles and relationships of health professionals within the field of rehabilitation and within the healthcare system. Students will address issues including professionalism; the roles and responsibilities of the rehabilitation assistant, physiotherapy assistant, and occupational therapy assistant; models of healthcare; and professional ethics. The course will discuss the Canadian Health Care system, professional conduct, professional boundaries, as well as the importance of confidentiality between the client and the practitioners.
ANP4 - Anatomy and Physiology
This component of the program is designed to introduce students to the structures and functions of the human body. Emphasis is placed on the musculoskeletal and neurological systems as well as on surface anatomy. This course will provide the foundation for the study of Human Disorders, the biomechanics of human motion, and therapeutic interventions for disabling conditions.
HUD4 - Human Development
This course traces human development from conception to death. Topics include the interaction of heredity and environment, age group characteristics, physiological, and psychological problems that appear throughout the lifespan. A focus is placed on the appreciation of how human development relates to the disciplines of physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
FMV4 - Functional Movement
Students are provided with an understanding of normal human motion. The course addresses topics that include joint mobility, muscle tone, range of motion, normal gait, and normal posture. Students are also introduced to skills including palpation and observation skills as well as limb and patient handling. This provides an emphasis on both theoretical and practical skills.
HDO4 - Human Disorders
Human Disorders introduces students to a variety of disabling conditions based on broad diagnostic categories. This course addresses both physical and psycho-social conditions specific to the pediatric, adult, and geriatric population. They are addressed within the framework of impairment, disability, and handicap. The course provides a brief review of the body systems and disorders related to each of these systems.
CP14 - Clinical Physiotherapy I - Orthopaedics
The goal of this course is to develop the student's knowledge and skill in therapeutic activities in physical therapy. Topics include therapeutic techniques for orthopedic conditions. An emphasis will be placed on practical skills as well as the indications, contraindications, and precautions for a variety of interventions.
CM14 - Communications I - Client Care
This course equips the student with the skills needed to deal effectively with clients and colleagues in the healthcare setting. It addresses topics including verbal and non-verbal communication, effective listening, and cultural differences in communication. A variety of learning strategies are employed including group discussion, role playing, group exercises and individual assignments.
CP24 - Clinical Physiotherapy II - Therapeutic Exercise
The goal of this course is to develop the student's knowledge and skill in therapeutic activities in physical therapy. Topics include therapeutic exercise techniques for a variety of conditions. An emphasis will be placed on practical skills as well as the indications, contraindications, and precautions for a variety of interventions. As part of this course, students will also gain an overview of the area of therapeutic recreation and the role that the physiotherapy assistant and occupational therapy assistant can occupy in this sector.
CM24 - Communications II - Client Record Management
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the communication and administrative responsibilities of the assistant as it relates to client record management. An emphasis will be placed on medical charting and maintaining clinical records. Students will acquire a basic understanding of medical terminology to allow continuity of care.
GER4 - Introduction to Gerontology
The purpose of this course is to provide the student with a biopsychosocial perspective on aging. Individual and group treatments focusing on medications, mobility, fall prevention, vision impairments, and communications impairments. The course will focus on working with elders who have conditions and diseases of the aged and aging, dysphasia, cerebrovascular accidents, osteoporosis, Parkinson's disease, orthopaedic conditions, cardiovascular conditions, pulmonary conditions, oncological conditions, and cognitive impairment/dementia and related conditions.
CP34 - Clinical Physiotherapy III - Neurological
The goal of this course is to develop the student's knowledge and skill in therapeutic activities in physical therapy. Topics include therapeutic techniques for neurological conditions. An emphasis will be placed on practical skills as well as the indications, contraindications, and precautions for a variety of interventions.
PHY4 - Physical Agents
Students are exposed to the theory and application of therapeutic modalities used in physiotherapy. An emphasis is placed on indications, contraindications, and special safety considerations in the application of a variety of modalities. In addition, students will be provided with the practical skills required to safely and effectively apply these modalities to a patient.
RBP4 - Rehabilitation Processes/CPR and First Aid
Students are provided with the knowledge and practical skills required for basic patient care management. This course provides an overview of patient positioning and draping, wheelchairs, lifts and transfers. The knowledge from the previous Anatomy and Physiology, Human Development, and Human Disorders courses is applied to assist in the determination of the purpose, benefit, functional sequence and safety precautions of movement and positioning procedures. Students are also provided with insight into accessibility issues for our patient population. First Aid – CPR training is normally scheduled during this module as well.
CCS4 - Clinical Case Studies
The purpose of this course is to provide the student with the opportunity to integrate and consolidate the theory and practice of managing complex patient situations. The student will use critical thinking skills to appropriately implement components of a treatment plan as prescribed by and under the supervision of a physiotherapist. An understanding of the roles of other health care professionals in a patient’s care and their interaction with these services will be explored. The course will focus on the more complex patients who require physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and other disciplines of the healthcare team. This course will be a combination of small group tutorials and problem solving sessions along with a self-directed study component. The students will have the opportunity to practice their problem solving skills in complex patient situations.
OT14 - OTA Therapeutic Techniques - Physical Disabilities
This course introduces students to the philosophy and principles of the practice of occupational therapy and provides the opportunity to learn about the scope of service of the OT and OTA. A variety of physical disabilities will be explored and students will be familiarized with intervention strategies and therapeutic activities.
OT24 - OTA Therapeutic Techniques - Psychiatry
The objective of this course is to introduce students to the field of occupational therapy in psychiatry, familiarizing them with the theory and therapeutic techniques applied by the occupational therapist working in psychiatry.
OT34 - OTA Therapeutic Techniques - Pediatrics
This course will cover the fundamentals of pediatrics that an occupational therapy assistant needs to be familiar with. Pediatric health conditions, the occupational therapy process, pediatric assistive devices, and the scope of practice will be covered.
RHPE - Clinical Placement
This mandatory Clinical Placement provides students with an opportunity to develop and practice basic competency level skills in observation and treatment techniques under the supervision of either physiotherapist or occupational therapist. Based on the student’s area of interest, the clinical placement can be completed in any of these speciality settings. The practicum is also an opportunity for learning new skills specific to the chosen setting.
CESO - Career and Employment Strategies

In addition to learning career-oriented skills, students learn how to get a job in their chosen profession. Our Employment Services department will assist the graduate in resume writing, as well as preparing for job interviews. Our staff is sensitive to current job market trends and the needs of employers in each local market. Our graduates receive guidance and training to use career tools that help job seekers build a better resume and cover letter, manage an online portfolio, hone interviewing skills, and develop a personal brand online. Students will have the use of a computer lab which has unlimited Internet access, as well as job search resources. Facilitators will also be made available to advise on job finding resources, interview skills and techniques and to carry out mock interviews. This course also looks at the planning, preparation, execution, and follow-up stages of an interview: How people find jobs; Employer expectations; Presenting an enthusiastic attitude; Focusing on the right job and the hidden job market; Transferrable skills; Thank you letters; Effective telemarketing; Handling objections, self-confidence, and self-esteem; Individual counselling and coaching.

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