Meet Our 2018 Sojourns® Scholars – Rebecca Wright, PhD

This blog post and video is part of a series featuring the 2018 recipients of the Cambia Health Foundation Sojourns® Scholar Leadership Program.

By Ashley Alder
Meet Our 2018 Sojourns® Scholars – Rebecca Wright, PhD
Follow along with this series on the Cambia Health Foundation’s blog and learn how some of these emerging palliative care leaders, from across the interdisciplinary team, are working to advance palliative care and transform the experience of people and families facing serious illness.

Sojourn Scholar: Rebecca Wright, PhD
  • Nurse and Assistant Professor, John Hopkins University School of Nursing
  • Project: The Emergency Department (ED)- A safety net model for palliative care

Today’s hospital emergency departments are seeing a significant influx of patients requiring palliative care services.  Often these patients, suffering from serious and life-threatening illnesses, come to the emergency room seeking relief from pain and other burdensome symptoms.  While some problems can be solved by a simple issuance of pain medicine or review of an advance directive, others require more complex palliative care skills, such as a lengthy goals of care discussion when the patient and family members disagree or are in denial. Emergency medicine was developed as a specialty to provide life-sustaining and disease-directed treatments.  Unfortunately, the traditional life-prolonging treatments offered by emergency providers may not be concordant with a patients' goals and wishes. 

For 2018 Sojourns Scholar, Rebecca Wright, the ability to identify the delivery preferences and needs of patients, family caregivers and providers within the Emergency Department setting is an opportunity for palliative medicine and the overall health care system to change the existing paradigm of palliative care services.  

“The future of palliative care must have the patient-family voice embedded within program and service development. ED-palliative care must go beyond understanding experiences or encouraging palliative care referrals, to implementing systems-wide change focused on patient-centered models.” – Rebecca Wright, PhD

Using a participatory co-design methodology 'Experience-based Co-design' (EBCD), Rebecca’s project will capture information that better defines the needs of serious and chronically ill patients.  Using a patient-centered approach, she hopes the resulting data will inform the future development, evaluation, and system-wide rollout of a person-focused Emergency Department Palliative Care toolkit. 

To learn more about Rebecca Wright and her project with the Sojourns Scholar Leadership Program, watch this video.

Meet more 2018 Sojourns Scholars: