REHA 4015 Physiotherapy for Chronic Illness and Disease

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 401107

Coordinator Genevieve Dwyer Opens in new window

Description This subject focuses on the role of physiotherapy in chronic disease management. A case-based learning approach will be undertaken to provide students with the theory, research and practice which underpins the assessment and treatment of people with chronic disease. The role of lifestyle factors in the development of chronic disease will be explored, along with health promotion and preventative strategies. The importance of client-centred care, which respects culture and diversity, and the multidisciplinary team approach will also be investigated in the context of frequently occurring chronic conditions.

School Health Sciences

Discipline Physiotherapy

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 2 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 4 subject

Pre-requisite(s) REHA 3018 AND
HLTH 3005 OR
HLTH 4002

Co-requisite(s) REHA 4001 OR
REHA 4002 OR
REHA 4003 OR
REHA 3004

Incompatible Subjects REHA 7018 - Physiotherapy for Chronic Illness and Disease


Students must be enrolled in 4706 Bachelor of Physiotherapy or 4733 Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) or 4707 Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Synthesise evidence to explain how lifestyle and/or psychosocial factors can influence the development and continuation of chronic illness or disease.
  2. Justify the role of physiotherapy in the prevention and/or management of chronic illness or disease.
  3. Critically reflect on the contributions of a multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary team in the management of individuals with chronic illness or disease.
  4. Solve relevant complex clinical problems accessing appropriate resources and using a process of sound clinical reasoning.
  5. Research and determine a client-centred approach in the design of a physiotherapy management plan for the management of chronic illness or disease.

Subject Content

1. Prevalence of chronic illness and disease in Australia and internationally and relevance to physiotherapy
2. Role of physical activity in promoting healthy lifestyles and quality of life across the lifespan for those living with chronic disease, illness or disability
3. Living with chronic illness or disease from the perspective of the patient
4. Goal setting and optimising compliance to effect positive behavioural change and/or maximise quality of life
5. Opportunities for physiotherapists to assist in the prevention and management of chronic disease
6. Role of community physiotherapy within a multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary team approach to management of chronic disease
7. Palliative care: supporting patients in the last phase of life
8. Students will cover some key chronic disease areas via seminar topics. The theme of the seminar topics is promoting healthy lifestyles to optimise quality of life throughout the lifespan

Special Requirements

Legislative pre-requisites

Special Requirements - NSW Health Legislative Prerequisites Pre-requisites

Student Compliance Information for all Health-Related Placements

Prior to enrolling in this subject, students must have submitted a Student Undertaking Form and undertake to apply for a National Police Check, which is required to be submitted before placement, and a Working with Children Check Student Declaration. Use the link to the Special Requirements webpage below for more information.

To be eligible to enrol in this subject and complete any required health-related placements or experiences, students must meet Western Sydney University program requirements as well as any special, legislated, or policy-mandated requirements.

Western Program Requirements

Visit the Special Requirements webpage for details about your program.

Special Requirements

Mandatory NSW Health student placement policy requirements

To be able to undertake placement in any NSW Health facility you must be assessed as compliant with NSW Health student placement policy in the first year of your program, regardless of when you expect to go on your first placement. Access and read the NSW Student Compliance Information Booklet.

NSW Student Compliance Information Booklet

Please ensure that you

  1.  Find your existing National Police Check or apply for one
  2.  Gather documentary evidence of your vaccination history
  3.  Print and compete all relevant NSW Health forms relevant to the campus you are enrolled at or online enrolment requirements
  4.  Follow booklet instructions on how to have your compliance documents assessed by NSW health staff.

International students have additional requirements; the link to the booklet will inform you of these requirements.

School Requirements

Contact your School for further details regarding your School’s requirements, if any, such as

  • If you live outside of NSW or Australia and need to meet your state, territory or country’s compliance requirements
  • If you need to meet different state, territory or country compliance requirements.
  • NSW Working with Children Check (WWCC) or other state equivalent, valid for your entire program.
  • Current approved first aid certificate valid for your entire program - approved program providers can be found at the Government Training website
  • Other non-health related requirements.

Student Compliance Resources are also available on the Placements Hub web page (NSW students only)


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Presentation 20 minutes 30 N Group
Report 1,500 words 30 N Individual
Report 1,800 words 40 N Individual

Teaching Periods

1st Half (2024)



Subject Contact Genevieve Dwyer Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window