Resource Webinar 3

Improving the Work Environment for Seniors’ Services Workers

Goals of the Webinar

  • Create public awareness of seniors’ services workforce issues and research findings, based on learning from  internationally and nationally well-known experts in this area of workforce issues.
  • Hear about concerns from front-line staff.
  • Develop possible strategies to address these issues covering all spectrum of seniors’ services in Alberta. These strategies should include facility-based continuing care, supportive housing, home care and community- based services

Speakers and Speaker Slides

  • Dr. Carole Estabrooks CM, PhD, RN, FRSC, FCAHS, FAAN, FCAN, Professor and Canada Chair in Knowledge Translation, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, “Strategies for Improving the Work Environment for Seniors’ Services Workers”
• Dr. Carole Estabrooks - BIO

Dr. Carole Estabrooks is a health services researcher. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation in the care of older adults in long-term care (LTC) settings & has been Scientific Director of the pan Canadian, longitudinal, applied research program, Translating Research in Elder Care (TREC) since 2007. She received her degree in nursing from the University of New Brunswick, her graduate degrees from the University of Alberta, & completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Toronto.

She has been the recipient of several awards including the Order of Canada & the Betty Havens Prize for Knowledge Translation in Aging. She is a fellow in the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the American Academy of Nurses, & the Canadian Academy of Nurses. She was a panel member on Alberta’s Facility Based Continuing Care Review & is a member of the National Long Term-Care Standards Development Committee & Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Aging.

  • Dr. Pat Armstrong, Ph.D., Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus, York University, Toronto. “Workforce Contribution to Quality of Care”
• Dr. Pat Armstrong - BIO

Dr. Pat Armstrong held a Canada Health Services Research Foundation/Canadian Institute of Health Research Chair in Health Services, is a Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Focusing on the fields of social policy, of women, work and the health and social services, she has published widely, co-authoring & co-editing such books as Wash, Wear and Care: Clothes and Laundry in Nursing Homes; The Privatization of Care: The Case of Nursing Homes; They Deserve Better: the Long-term Care Experience in Canada & Scandinavia; Critical to Care: the Invisible Women in Health Services and Wasting Away; as well as multiple journal articles and book chapters.

Funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, she was Principal Investigator on the 10 year “Reimagining Long-term Residential Care: An International Study of Promising Practices” & the CIHR funded “Healthy Aging in Residential Places” & currently on two SSHRC funded projects.

  • Colleen Torgunrud, BA (Soc/Psych), BSW, MA (Medical Ethics), Clinical Ethicist, Alberta Health Services.  “Addressing the Post-Pandemic Mental Health Needs of Seniors Workers”
• Colleen Torgunrud - BIO

Colleen Torgunrud worked in the provincial health system for over 25 years. She started as a registered social worker. Next, she shifted focus to health care improvement and patient safety. She happily found work in Clinical Ethics Services; a department formed at the same time and as part of Alberta Health Services. She holds undergraduate degrees in Sociology/Psychology and in Social Work. She achieved her Master of Arts degree in Medical Ethics from the University of Keele in the UK. She specializes in Palliative Care and Cancer Care.

Colleen possesses a deep commitment to workplace wellness and occupational psychological safety. She received training from McMaster University in this regard. She holds an advanced certificate in Critical Incident Stress Management and Critical Incident Debriefing techniques.

Discussants speak from their own perspective on different aspects of workforce issues on seniors’ services.

  • Ernsline Akinyode, Former Front-Line LPN in a LTC facility, Current Health Care Aide Program Head of MaKami College. “Workforce Issues from the Perspective of a Front-Line Worker”
• Ernsline Akinyode - BIO

Ernsline Akinyode began her career as an LPN in long term care. She dedicated 11 years as a team leader promoting patient-centered care. She transitioned into a management position at MaKami College five years ago. This change launched her career in the private college sector.

Ernsline possesses a passion for the field of nursing and the education of Health Care Aides. She led and taught the One-Year Pilot Health Care Aide Program in Alberta. Ernsline enthusiastically teaches compassionate and competent care to her students. Currently, Ernsline serves as the Head of the Health Care Aide Program at MaKami College, Bonnie Doon Campus. She oversees and manages three campuses between Edmonton and Calgary. Ernsline prides herself at seeking and maintaining excellent partnership with clinical placement sites.

Ernsline consistently seeks new and exciting initiatives in healthcare. She strives to broaden her understanding and ability to affect change in the industry.

  • Karen McDonald, MBA, Executive Director, Sage, Alberta and Chair of Healthy Aging Alberta Initiative. “Workforce Issues Relating to Community-Based Services Workers”
• Karen McDonald - BIO

Karen McDonald is Executive Director of Sage Seniors Association, Edmonton, and Chair of the Healthy Aging Alberta Initiative. After spending a decade in seniors’ supportive housing she joined Sage, first as a program coordinator and now serves as the executive director. Sage is a community-based seniors serving organization that provides social services, community development, and life enrichment programming.

Karen co-founded MatchWork in 2015 to support older adults facing barriers to employment. This interactive employment training and assessment tool is now used by employment support organizations to guide and support those who face barriers to employment, including older workers and caregivers. Additionally, Karen acts as the chair of Healthy Aging Alberta which is seeking to create a provincial network of organizations that are united by the shared vision; 

“We want Alberta to become one of the best places in the world to grow old.”

  • Daren Farnel, Area Director-Western Canada Team Lead, Bayshore Home Care Solutions “Workforce Issues Relating to Home-Care Workers”
• Daren Farnel - BIO

Daren Farnel is an accomplished and lifelong nurse whose career path has led him through some of the most interesting and important facets of the health care continuum in Canada.

Currently the Area Director for Bayshore HealthCare in Western Canada where he has been leading exciting growth in urban and rural homecare, Daren draws on over 30 years of progressive experience in clinical care and leadership. He is a former board member with the Alberta Continuing Care Association, advocating and lobbying for sectoral equity and sustainability.

Originally from Ontario, he worked for one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies as the senior clinical specialist and educator. He also served on the faculty of the Canadian Institute for Health Information creating tools and policies that shaped the pan-Canadian understanding of the drivers of health care. He cut his teeth in the medical world as a bedside nurse in psychiatry, long term care, neurology and neurosurgery.