Competencies for occupational therapy practice in homelessness: A Delphi study

Scand J Occup Ther. 2021 Nov 16:1-15. doi: 10.1080/11038128.2021.2002404. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Homelessness is growing internationally, and resources to guide occupational therapy practice in this area are needed.

OBJECTIVES: To identify competencies needed for occupational therapists to support individuals during and following homelessness.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: We conducted a three-round Delphi study with occupational therapy practitioners and researchers with expertise in homelessness.

RESULTS: Of 35 potential participants, n = 16 participated in Round I, n = 20 participated in Round II, and n = 18 participated in Round III. Participants included occupational therapists and researchers in Canada, United States, Brazil, UK, Ireland and New Zealand. Consensus was achieved on a total of 93 competencies in 10 categories after 15 were eliminated in Rounds II and III. The categories with the greatest number of competencies included occupational knowledge (n = 18), followed by psychosocial competencies (n = 16).

CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: This study represents the first to identify the competencies needed for occupational therapists working in the area of homelessness. Practitioners and educators are encouraged to view the identified competencies as a guide for the professional development of occupational therapists in this context. Stakeholders consulted for this study were able to communicate in English and situated in middle to high-income countries. As such, the competencies identified in this study only apply to these sociocultural contexts.

PMID:34784259 | DOI:10.1080/11038128.2021.2002404

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