Preparing for community development practice: A Delphi study of Canadian occupational therapists

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Abstract

Background.

Increasingly, community development is recognized as an important process for occupational therapy practice. However, occupational therapists working in community development report feeling unprepared.

Purpose.

This study aimed to identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences that occupational therapists need for practice in community development.

Method.

Using the Delphi technique, the researchers developed statements from the Round 1 (n = 8) responses of occupational therapists involved in community development practice or scholarship. Rounds 2 (n = 14) and 3 (n = 12) sought to establish consensus among the occupational therapists on the areas of focus.

Findings.

Participants rated the importance of 64 statements grouped into 11 domains. After three rounds, researchers eliminated six statements by analyzing the median, interquartile range, and percentage of agreement. Participants reached consensus on 58 statements.

Implications.

Many of the competencies identified were relevant to all areas of practice, while others were specific to community development, suggesting a need for specialized education and training in this area. The results provide information that can be used to enhance the preparation of occupational therapists for practice in community development.

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