Graduate Capstones

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    Toward Better Policy: A Study of Healthcare Aides' Well-being and Working Conditions in Alberta's Long-Term Care Sector
    (2023-05-29) Wong Yi Nei, Elaine; Kwok, Siu Ming
    In the backdrop of Alberta's Long-Term Care (LTC) sector, Health Care Aides (HCAs) play a pivotal role, often facing multifaceted challenges. This research provided a comprehensive understanding of these challenges by reviewing a combination of academic journals and grey literature. The methodology integrates qualitative and quantitative findings to provide a holistic view. Two dominant categories of challenges emerged: work environment challenges and relational processes. Regarding the work environment, HCAs grapple with staffing shortages, substantial workloads, financial strains, and compensation disparities. Meanwhile, relational processes reveal issues in resident-staff interactions and underscore systemic inequities and workplace discrimination. These challenges are further magnified by occupational marginalization and the intricate dynamics of workplace relationships. Drawing from these insights, this research proposed policy recommendations. For structural challenges, the research suggested standardizing care parameters and enhancing workers' rights to improve job security and working conditions. To address relational issues, recommendations include implementing strategies to improve resident-staff interactions and promoting diversity and inclusion using data-driven decision-making. In conclusion, the study underscores the importance of recognizing and integrating the perspectives of HCAs to address structural and relational challenges, intending to optimize the LTC sector in Alberta.
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    Open Access
    Dollars Lost, Skills Wasted: Measuring the Economic Consequences of Foreign Credential Non-Recognition in Alberta's Healthcare Sector
    (2023-05-29) Zinovieva, Alissa; Kneebone, Ronald
    The Government of Alberta is seeking to attract internationally trained doctors to fill capacity shortages in Alberta's healthcare sector. Upon arrival, immigrants face barriers in having their foreign credentials recognized to be able to practice medicine which results in unemployment and underemployment of internationally trained doctors. They encounter high costs and long waits for re-accreditation resulting in lost wages, significant out-of-pocket costs, and sometimes abandonment of their credentials altogether. My analysis seeks to quantify the private and social cost of re-accrediting an internationally trained doctor as compared to accrediting a domestically trained doctor through medical school. Further, I calculate the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) to Alberta of resources allocated to accrediting internationally trained doctors as compared to domestically trained doctors. My results show that conservatively, at the minimum, Alberta receives between a 6% to 8% return on investment for internationally trained doctors. Conversely, on the high end, Alberta sees a 5% to 6% return on investment for domestically trained doctors. Through recommended government initiatives to minimize the costs and barriers faced by internationally trained doctors, Albertans stand to receive an even higher social benefit by supporting the re-accreditation of internationally trained doctors.
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    Open Access
    Advancing Inclusive Policies for Children and Youth with Disabilities in Alberta
    (2023-05-29) Vashist, Neha; Zwicker, Jennifer
    The COVID-19 pandemic revealed significant gaps in disability-inclusive policy. Children and youth with disabilities encountered heightened difficulties due to barriers already in place at the onset of the pandemic. While policy responses to public health crises tend to offer "universal" measures, individuals with disabilities face intersecting vulnerabilities that require targeted attention. Policies in place before and during the pandemic failed to provide the necessary supports to navigate these challenges effectively. The pandemic revealed an urgent need for comprehensive and targeted disability policies that consider intersectional vulnerabilities, diverse healthcare needs, and barriers to access. This study aimed to explore how lessons learned from the pandemic can guide the creation of equitable policies that support children and youth with disabilities in Alberta. A virtual focus group was conducted using the Nominal Group Technique. Participants included youth with disabilities, families of children and youth with disabilities, and non-profit stakeholders. The goal of the focus group was to better understand the challenges and barriers that disabled children, youth, and their families faced during the pandemic to inform future inclusive disability-policy recommendations. Data gathered from the focus group was transcribed to text so that participant responses to policy recommendations could be effectively analyzed. Based on the focus group findings and current literature, the following policy recommendations are offered to policymakers in Alberta: 1. Recognize disability services as essential services to ensure continuous access. 2. Design fair and sustainable economic supports for parents/caregivers of children & youth with disabilities. 3. Co-design policy with relevant stakeholders, including children & youth with disabilities, their families, service providers, and community organizations. 4. Implement a flexible design for disability programs and healthcare services, prioritizing a patient-centric approach. 5. Reduce reliance on the education system to provide all types of services.
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    Public Policy Analysis: Social Prescribing and Improving Older Adults' Access to Healthy Food
    (2023-05-29) Toth, Aidan; Beall, Reed
    While federal and provincial social security programs exist that provide general economic assistance, and social and welfare services exist for addressing emergent need for food, healthy food access remains suboptimal, affecting the physical and mental health of affected populations, and older adults are especially vulnerable. This policy analysis used a modified version of Patton's Rational Problem-Solving Process: problem identification, determining evaluation criteria, identifying and assessing policy options, selecting the preferred policy, and implementing, monitoring. The policy problem used is: Too many older adults cannot afford enough healthy food to follow the nutritional advice of their healthcare providers. Six policy options were identified in a previously conducted environmental scan that systematically scanned and identified literature on programs to reduce the cost of, and improve access to, healthy foods. These policy options were evaluated using decision criteria adapted from the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy, effectiveness, unintended effects, equity, cost, feasibility, and acceptability. Stakeholders with expertise in health service and delivery, food insecurity and social prescribing were consulted. The top policy options identified were voucher prescriptions and income support with reimbursement. Following a fulsome analysis and stakeholder feedback, the highest scoring and recommended option was income support with reimbursement.
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    Open Access
    Corporate Social Responsibility and Conflict Areas: SodaStream a Case Study
    (2023-05-29) Suchotzky, Sarah; Fellows, Kent
    The purpose of this paper is to review and compare international Corporate Social Responsibility standards through the case study of SodaStream. There are three main international organizations that are compared; the United Nations' "Guiding Principles on business and Human Rights"; the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development "Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct" and World Trade Organization's regional trade agreements. The main critique for these guidelines is that they are voluntary for both states and their corporations that operate outside their jurisdiction. I examine the case study of SodaStream because the Israeli company operated in West Bank, in internationally recognized illegal Israeli settlements. The company claimed that it was operating out of West Bank as a means to economic cooperation of the region and provide well paid employment to Palestinians. However, the company faced backlash from the international community due to claims that SodaStream was not treating employees fairly and that the company was detrimental to the establishment of a two-state solution. International standards and reporting of corporate social responsibility could play an important role in examining the impact that the behaviour of SodaStream had on the region. This paper lists four recommendations to for the international community to consider: 1. Increase publicly available research on the impact of corporations and corporate social responsibility in conflict regions 2. Develop more specific and standardized corporate social responsibility indicators 3. Establish Funding requirements returned to the community 4. Create more legally binding corporate social responsibility provision through trade agreements.