Rujuta Kulkarni: Dedicated to person-centred care for a healthier community

Rujuta Kulkarni’s first foray into healthcare was practicing as a dentist for four years before she moved from India to Canada where she enrolled in the Masters of Health Administration (MHA) at the University of Ottawa.

“I knew that I always had an inkling toward management rather than working as a clinician,” explained Rujuta, Project Manager, Grove Redevelopment. “I enjoy working in a team, leading projects and seeing

       Rujuta Kulkarni, Project Manager, Grove                 Redevelopment

changes happen.”

Since her MHA residency at the St. Patrick’s Home of Ottawa, Rujuta has embraced a project management career that has allowed just that.

An introduction to person-centred care

When Rujuta was deciding on her MHA residency, she knew she wanted to be part of the healthcare system and found an unexpected, but good fit implementing a person-centred care model in long-term care.

“At St. Pat’s, I got to learn a lot about what person-centred care means,” said Rujuta, who joined the Grove team in January 2020. “I conducted many literature reviews, attended family council meetings and was part of management discussions about what can change and what can be done to make residents feel more at home.”

Rujuta’s residency experience primed her to take on the Grove role project managing the construction and the new person-centred care approach.

Helping guide culture change to enhance the residents’ experience

When Rujuta was tasked with leading the Grove’s person-centred care journey, one of the first initiatives she implemented was forming a new Home Advisory Team – an interdisciplinary group consisting of a family member, resident, managers and staff – to help ensure the residents are at the centre of making decisions related to their care and services in their home.

“We meet every two weeks and go over issues, concerns, and ideas about the day-to-day operations that help strengthen a person-centered environment,” said Rujuta. “For example,  our focus this quarter  was refining the move-in plan or admission process to be more resident and family centered. It provides a place for families and residents’ opinions to be heard, which can lead to very good strategies. That’s how we’re trying to strengthen person-centred care across our home right now.”

This new initiative builds on and strengthens the Grove’s existing culture in which the team is dedicated to each resident’s emotional and physical needs.

“I think the Home Advisory Team has given us an opportunity to actively and directly involve residents and their family members in decisions related to their own care and activities that are meaningful to them,” said Rujuta. “We can now design care based on residents’ values, preferences, belief systems, priorities and physical and emotional needs.”

Rujuta looks forward to the year ahead – the chance to see the new Grove open its doors to residents and the fruitful work of progressing along the person-centred care journey.

“I was really excited about being part of a team leading culture change— and, I get to work with an excellent team at ARH,” reflected Rujuta.