Bailey Woodhams, business development manager for consulting firm Maxwell Healthcare Associates, has been named a 2022 Future Leader by Hospice News.
Future Leaders are individuals nominated by their peers. Candidates must be high-performing employees who are 40-years-old or younger, passionate workers who know how to put vision into action, and advocates for seniors and the committed professionals who ensure their well-being.
The Future Leaders Awards program is brought to you in partnership with PointClickCare. The program is designed to recognize up-and-coming industry members who are shaping the next decade of senior housing, skilled nursing, home health, and hospice care.
Woodhams recently shared her thoughts with Hospice News about her career in hospice and palliative care, and the biggest forces of change at play in serious illness and end-of-life care.
What drew you to this industry?
Throughout college, I had the amazing job of teaching pre-kindergarten. Kids bring so much light and curiosity to this world. I was able to collect experience in lesson planning, conscious discipline, and working with little minds who have yet to experience all these new emotions and life events as a toddler. I would manage a class of 15 children, and it wasn’t chaotic — most of the time.
When I graduated from college, my director at the preschool knew I would be moving on to something great. She introduced me to the electronic medical record (EMR) company, Homecare Homebase. Six days after graduation, I joined the workforce as an associate implementation consultant with Homecare Homebase. How lucky was I?
I had zero experience in the industry, I didn’t even know what I wanted to be when I “grew up.” I took a chance, knowing I would get to travel and train, fresh out of college, what could be better?
Fast forward to years later, I have found my calling. My heart for post-acute care has grown year after year.
My role was more than just teaching clinicians how to document patient visits. My role was to encourage, comfort, and inspire.
Bringing on a brand new EMR software is a very scary and hard change. Those feelings can easily bleed into patient care. If I can come in and be the calm and comfort for the clinicians, they can go out and be the amazing staff that they are, taking care of their patients, without having this fear and anxiety in the back of their minds.
Two years into my career, I began working with Maxwell Healthcare Associates. Jennifer and Tom Maxwell have been the absolute best mentors I could ever imagine. They are what keep my passion flowing for post-acute care.
In my time with Maxwell, I have taken on a little bit of every role from implementation, design, optimization, education, and most recently business development. When I started, we were a team of 12, now we are a team of 30+ employees and over 100 consultants. I have gotten to see this company grow over the years and was honored to be a part of that growth; developing processes and procedures, as well as connecting with and helping clients.
The Maxwells have always given me the free reign to do my best. They encourage, support, and ensure that I am able to execute. With our amazing team and all of everyone’s hard work, we get to make an impact in the post-acute world, without ever seeing a patient. That to me is what draws and keeps me in hospice. I may never treat a gushy, bloody wound, but I can ensure that documentation and care are spot on.
What’s your biggest lesson learned since starting to work in this industry?
Change is inevitable. What worked today, may not work tomorrow.
It is imperative that we, as industry leaders and providers, possess the ability to evaluate, assess and pivot for the best outcomes. We cannot lose sight of what matters most — our patients, and our teams that make all of these miracles happen on a daily basis.
If you could change one thing with an eye toward the future of hospice, what would it be?
Acknowledging the uncertainty of hospice payment rates, unexpected outbreaks like COVID, and the unpredictable events in this industry, I want to see agencies being the best that they can be, even when the unexpected hits. I want to help them leverage technology to make patient care better. How can we pivot when times get hard so that our patients are not affected?
There is a wide variety of software and systems out there that can optimize an agency far more than a human brain can do.
A system that can predict the end of life for a patient, like Medalogix, can ensure we are providing the best care until the very end so that no one dies alone. Utilizing automation to increase day-to-day efficiencies with Element 5. Tracking and consistently imaging and measuring wounds with Swift Medical. There are so many amazing tools out there to make patient care better, I want to see the industry take advantage of them.
What do you foresee as being different about the hospice industry looking ahead to 2023?
In 2022, we saw the aftermath of the first two-year stint with COVID that continues to linger today. More patients are feeling comfortable with clinicians in their homes. Vaccines are readily available for those who are willing. It blows my mind to see where we were versus where we are.
In 2023, I foresee that the lessons and resources that were developed because of COVID, will continue as the industry moves forward. While COVID is a tragic event in our lives and the suffering is unmeasurable, it pushed us to get creative. We had to pivot more than we have ever had to. We had to figure out how to provide care to a patient without potentially infecting them with a deadly disease. That was a lot for everyone.
Currently, in the industry, we are seeing patients that are not receiving the correct level of care — home health patients that should be palliative and hospice patients that are improving and truly need to graduate to a different care method. We owe it to our patients and their families to provide them with the right care at the right time.
No patient should be left behind. If a patient has been in hospice for years, there has to be something more. Looking to the future, I hope to see an increase in education across all service lines, from the- provider side to the patient/family side.
The more our communities know about their rights to appropriate care, the better we can serve them. It is up to industry leaders from all walks of life to inform, educate, and market the benefits of post-acute care — to help families make those educated decisions, way before they become the hard decisions.
Technology in health care only continues to grow. In the post-acute space and hospice industry, we all have the same goal of putting patient care first while leveraging technology to improve processes and care delivery.
It is amazing to see a camera on a tablet, that we possess the ability to accurately measure a wound, record the data information, and provide quantitative tracking and information for the agency. I really can’t wait to see what new technology emerges in 2023 and on.
In a word, how would you describe the future of Hospice?
If you could give advice to yourself looking back to your first day in the industry, what would it be and why?
As a young woman, fresh out of college, I had no idea that I would get to be surrounded by so much knowledge and wisdom working alongside clinicians, leaders, doctors, etc.
I only wish I began to absorb their knowledge from day one. Everyone has so much to offer and is so willing to help me grow. I make the joke all the time; I am not a nurse, but I play one on TV. It is because of my experience in post-acute care and the education that these clinicians shared with me, that I can be a better servant to others in this industry.