Competencies for occupational therapy practice in homelessness: A Delphi study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • 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.


  • Marshall, Carrie Anne
  • Cooke, Abrial
  • Gewurtz, Rebecca
  • Barbic, Skye
  • Roy, Laurence
  • Lysaght, Rosemary
  • Kirsh, Bonnie

publication date

  • October 3, 2023