Hannah Kreider-Letterman, OTD, OTR/L
Laura Schmelzer, PhD, OTR/L
Families experiencing homelessness often face poor mental and physical health outcomes. Some scholars and service providers partially attribute family health outcomes to the negative impact of the social determinants of health. The social determinants of health emerge from a variety of factors in the socioecological model, a tiered model outlining the hierarchy of public health systems, making the social determinants difficult to address. To explore occupational therapy’s potential contribution to addressing these poor health outcomes, the authors centered a doctoral capstone around the question of what occupational therapy’s role would be in addressing the needs of families experiencing homelessness. A systematic process was employed that included a comprehensive needs assessment and the use of a matrix method to capture the data and layer in theoretical considerations. Findings revealed that the social determinants of health negatively impact occupational engagement and health outcomes for families experiencing homelessness. To address this health disparity, a proposal was created to incorporate occupational therapy into service provision. The proposal focuses on creating programming, using participatory action research, creating a new assessment tool, identifying community-wide key performance indicators for health and occupational engagement for families experiencing homelessness, and incorporating an occupational therapy perspective throughout the service community.
Kreider-Letterman, H., & Schmelzer, L. (2021). Occupational Therapy and Health Promotion for Families Experiencing Homelessness: A Community-Wide Approach. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 9(2), 1-7. https://doi.org/10.15453/2168-6408.1784