The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


Advanced clinical knowledge and skills are needed for physiotherapy evaluation and management of complex neurological disorders. The course includes advanced studies in symptomatology; assessment procedures to define impairments and limitations in activity and participation; relevant clinical reasoning processes; and management skills and techniques.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Apply biomedical and behavioural scientific knowledge to the physiotherapy evaluation and management of more complex neurological disorders;

2. Describe the aetiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis and clinical presentation of selected common complex neurological disorders, with particular emphasis on degenerative and traumatic neurological conditions;

3. Conduct an appropriate advanced examination of the neurological system in adults, including history and physical examination;

4. Apply advanced clinical reasoning skills and an evidence-based approach to decision making in neurological physiotherapy practice;

5. Describe the medical and team management of selected common complex neurological disorders;

6. Appropriately select, modify as necessary, and correctly demonstrate advanced physiotherapeutic treatment procedures commonly used in the management of neurological dysfunction;

7. Apply advanced treatment evaluation and intervention outcome processes appropriate for neurological physiotherapy practice;

8. Discuss relevant gender, cultural, legal and ethical considerations in managing patients with complex neurological disorders;

9. Appreciate the role of the client, carers and other health care professionals in a holistic management of neurological patients within various models of service delivery;

10. Deliver information to the patient and family in such a way that it is understandable, encourages discussion and promotes patient participation in decision-making;

11. Recognise the role of the physiotherapist in advocating for the neurological patient, promoting health and preventing secondary dysfunction/disability;

12. Recognise the importance of record keeping in patient management, communication and service delivery.


  1. Classification of neurological disorders across the lifespan and their pathogenesis, including case study examples
  2. Manifestations of peripheral nerve/lower motor neurone lesions
  3. Neuroanatomical localisation of cerebral, brainstem and peripheral lesions; symptomatology following brain and spinal cord damage resulting from traumatic and degenerative processes of the nervous system
  4. Advanced information gathering/history taking and physical examination procedures for patients presenting with complex neurological disorders
  5. Advanced clinical reasoning in neurological physiotherapy practice in relation to the total management of specific patient cases
  6. Further outcome measures for neurological disorders, including those used for evaluating impairment, functional limitation and quality of life
  7. Aetiology, pathology and symptomatology of selected neurological conditions; medical and surgical management, including radiological investigations
  8. Principles of neurological rehabilitation practice related to selected neurological conditions; biological basis and empirical evidence for physiotherapy interventions
  9. Advanced physiotherapeutic management of patients with selected neurological conditions, including motor, sensory, perceptual and behavioural/cognitive deficits
  10. Traumatic brain injury: assessment, acute management and rehabilitation
  11. Management of ataxia and in coordination
  12. Assessment and management of vestibular disorders
  13. Spinal cord injury: functional levels, acute management and rehabilitation
  14. The adjunct role of Pharmacology in the management of neurological conditions
  15. Parkinsonism and other basal ganglia disorders, including medical management
  16. Physiotherapy management of akinesia, bradykinesia and associated movement problems
  17. Pathophysiology and management of Multiple Sclerosis.
  18. Assessment and management of falls risk in the elderly
  19. Other degenerative neurological disorders, including muscular dystrophies, spinal atrophy and motor neurone disease
  20. Physiotherapy assessment and management of patients with dementia
  21. Roles of other health professionals in team management of complex neurological disorders, including team decision making and service delivery options
  22. Advocating for the neurological patient: promoting health and preventing secondary dysfunction/disability
  23. Ethical, lifespan, gender, culteral and legal issues relevant to the mangement of neurological disorders


This course is only available to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Physiotherapy (Honours) program 12337. Students must have successfully completed PHTY2030 and HUBS2505.

Assumed knowledge

All year 1 and 2 Courses in the B PHTY (Hons)

Assessment items

Formal Examination: Formal Exam

In Term Test: Prac Viva examinations *

Online Learning Activity: Contribution to online discussions

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

Course Assessment Requirements:

  • In Term Test: Pass Requirement - Students must pass this assessment item to pass the course.

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 4 hour(s) per Week for Full Term

5 of the 24 tutorials are online discussions