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Occupational therapists' perceptions of their role with people who are homeless

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Introduction: The needs of individuals who are homeless are often unmet. This study identifies the potential role of occupational therapy with adults who are homeless.

Method: This was a qualitative study of occupational therapists working in Montreal, Qu├ębec, Canada, consisting of two survey modes: focus group and self-administered questionnaires. A moderate inductive strategy was used in the analysis of the responses.

Findings: Twenty-two occupational therapists participated. The traditional roles of assessing, treating and conducting research were discussed, as well as the emerging role of occupational therapists as case managers, outreach workers and advocates. The challenges to implementing services included health care structures and processes. The potential facilitators included active leadership and advocacy by occupational therapists regarding the needs of those who are homeless.

Implications: There is a clear and pertinent role for occupational therapy services with those who are homeless. The traditional process of service delivery presents challenges that must be addressed. The topic of homelessness and role-emerging practice placements with this population should be included in the occupational therapy curriculum.


Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4276/030802209X12577616538672

Publication date: November 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at http://www.cot.co.uk/british-journal-bjot/british-journal-occupational-therapy

    Submissions can be made at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/bjot

    The 2012 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 1.096.

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