Competencies for occupational therapy practice in homelessness: A Delphi study Academic Article uri icon

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  • Background

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


    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.


    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

  • November 16, 2021