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Caitlin E. Synovec, OTD, OTR/L, BCMH; M. Beth Merryman, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA; Joshua Brusca, LCSW


Background: Current health care policy supports occupational therapy services with individuals experiencing homelessness in primary care settings. Research on the impact of interventions is needed to support this emerging practice area.

Method: A retrospective, descriptive study was completed following the initiation of full-time occupational therapy services in an integrated primary setting and Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) for clients experiencing homelessness. This study evaluated: (a) percentage of referred clients who engaged in ongoing intervention; (b) diagnostic demographics of those referred; (c) functional goal types and frequency; (d) a comparison of preintervention Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) scores with postintervention scores.

Results: Analysis of data revealed clients referred for occupational therapy services present with complex co-morbidities. t tests for matched pairs (p < .05) revealed that participants had a statistically significant improvement in COPM performance scores (69%) and in COPM satisfaction scores (73%) between baseline and postintervention. Diagnostic subgroups had a similar rate of improvement. Analysis of client identified COPM goals revealed a high rate of instrumental activity of daily living focused goals.

Conclusion: Integration of full-time occupational therapy services into FQHC settings increases client access to functional-based rehabilitation services that address physical and behavioral health. Individuals experiencing homelessness demonstrate improvement toward functional goals using client-centered goal setting processes and interventions.


The authors report no potential conflicts of interest.