September 26th, 2021

SACPA sessions to deal with long-term care, pandemic resilience, racism

By Jensen, Randy on June 10, 2020.

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

This week, the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs (SACPA) will be discussing if long-term care facilities will finally be receiving appropriate attention to their issues, with guest speaker Dr. Sienna Caspar.

Recently, several Quebec and Ontario long-term care facilities were accused of negligence and appalling conditions for the people living there. The report detailed first-hand accounts of cockroach infestations, patients crying for help, residents being force fed and not receiving a bath for weeks, while COVID-19 patients were allowed to wander freely.

Before the pandemic, it was known that long-term care homes were stretched too thin and in need of some better resources. Staffing ratios and tight schedules often prevent staff from providing the quality of care they would like, as they are often overwhelmed by the volume of tasks facing them.

Caspar will argue that if the COVID-19 pandemic is to bring about improvements to quality of care in long-term care homes, it can only be achieved by simultaneously improving the quality of work life for the people who are providing it, and to make changes, political and public pressure will be needed.

Caspar has worked in long-term care facilities in Canada and the U.S. for over 20 years. As a postdoctoral fellow in a cross appointment at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute/University Health Network and the University of Victoria, she conducted an intervention study aimed at improving leadership and collaborative decision making in long-term care settings. Currently, she is an associate professor at the University of Lethbridge in the Faculty of Health Sciences Therapeutic Recreation program.

SACPA’s presentation with Caspar on if long-term care facilities will finally be receiving the appropriate attention will be broadcasted live today at 11 a.m. on the SACPA YouTube page. In order to ask questions of the speaker, you must have a valid YouTube account. For more information, visit

Today’s session is one of three planned for this week. On Thursday, Dr. Michael Ungar, director Resilience Research Centre, Dalhousie University, will discuss “Resilience During a Pandemic: From Zoom Calls to Dealing with the Economic Crisis, Strategies for Surviving & Thriving” at 10 a.m. on the SACPA YouTube page.

Ungar is a family therapist and professor of social work at Dalhousie University where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience, and is scientific director, Child and Youth Refugee Research Coalition.

On Friday, Desmond Cole will discuss “Tackling Systemic Racism and Police Brutality: What can You Do?” Cole was born in Alberta, grew up in Oshawa and attended Queen’s University. He first emerged on the public stage with his dogged challenges to the practice of police carding in Toronto.

He is a leading Black activist and critic of systemic racial injustices targeting Black communities across the country.

Friday’s session is set for 10 a.m. on the SACPA YouTube page.

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