Importance: Sleep is a foundational occupation in the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process (2nd ed.), yet little is known about how occupational therapists assess and address sleep in practice.
Objective: To survey practicing occupational therapists’ comfort with their level of knowledge about sleep, how they are assessing and addressing sleep in clinical practice, and the amount of sleep-related education they have received.
Design: Cross-sectional survey study.
Setting: Electronic survey.
Participants: Practicing occupational therapists were invited to participate in November 2020. Survey invitations were sent via email targeting occupational therapists serving as clinical instructors.
Outcomes and Measures: The survey consisted of 41 items assessing comfort with sleep knowledge, occupation of sleep, and sleep education received. This survey was modified from a previous survey and tailored to the occupational therapy profession.
Results: A total of 169 occupational therapists completed the survey. Most (87%) agreed that sleep was an occupation, but only 44% evaluated their clients’ sleep, and 30% established treatment goals pertaining to sleep. In addition, 66% reported not receiving education about sleep in their entry-level occupational therapy program, and 78% reported receiving no continuing education about sleep in the past 2 yr. Most (92%) reported that occupational therapists should be better prepared to evaluate and treat sleep after graduation.
Conclusions and Relevance: Most occupational therapists identified sleep as an area of occupation but had limited knowledge of how to assess and address sleep in practice. Entry-level occupational therapy education programs must enhance sleep-related curricula, and continuing education programs tailored to sleep issues within occupational therapists’ practice are needed.
What This Article Adds: The results of this study indicate gaps in occupational therapists’ knowledge regarding how best to assess and treat sleep problems. We offer next steps to improve the profession’s capacity to address the occupation of sleep.