Reviewing the evidence base for successful interventions with people that hoard

Roland Simmons, Darren Awang, Mike Morgan

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    This paper is aimed at a wide range of occupational therapy practitioners/ support workers that provide services across housing, social services, mental health and learning disability teams. This review forms part of a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership project to develop interventions to support people that compulsively hoard.
    It has been identifed that compulsive hoarding is an underresearched phenomenon, with relatively little known about this debilitating condition (Tolin et al. 2008 and Gibson, Rasmussen and Steketee 2010). Frost and Hartl (1996) define compulsive hoarding as:
    • The inability to dispose of items (useful or not)
    • Living space not useable for its intended function.
    They identifed defcits in cognition and behaviour as key factors, which led to the development of the ‘Cognitive Behavioural Model of Compulsive Hoarding’. This condition can also affect individuals’ (and families’):
    • Quality of Life
    • Self Care
    • Social Isolation
    • Risk of falls/death (Turner, Steketee and Nauth 2010).
    Hoarding also impacts adversely on practitioners’ and organisations’ time and resources (Tolin et al. 2008:201) with several visits being required before headway is made.
    Using a range of case studies to highlight key issues, this paper will outline interventions incorporating relevant models or approaches (for example, Cognitive-Behavioural, Bruce and Borg 2002) to evaluate and identify those that have been found to be successful. As a result this paper will be of particular relevance to occupational therapists that encounter people that compulsively
    hoard by increasing knowledge, develop new skills and promote multi-disciplinary working.


    Bruce MAG, Borg B (2002) Psychosocial frames of reference:
    core for occupation-based practice. 3rd ed. Thorofare, NJ: Slack
    Frost RO, Hartl TL (1996) A cognitive-behavioral model of
    compulsive hoarding. Behavioral Research, 34 (4), 341–350.
    Gibson AK, Rasmussen J, Steketee G (2010) Ethical
    considerations in the treatment of compulsive hoarding.
    Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 17, 426–438.
    Tolin DF, Frost RO, Steketee G, Gray K D, Fitch KE (2008) The
    economic and social burden of compulsive hoarding. Psychiatry
    Research, 160, 200–211.
    Turner K, Steketee G, Nauth L (2010) Treating elders with
    compulsive hoarding: A pilot program. Cognitive and Behavioral
    Practice, 17, 449–457.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2012
    EventCollege of Occupational Therapists Annual Conference - Glasgow, United Kingdom
    Duration: 11 Jun 201214 Jun 2012


    ConferenceCollege of Occupational Therapists Annual Conference
    Abbreviated titleCOT Annual Conference
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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