In 2010, Northwest Community Hospital and Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter formed a relationship in order to provide inpatient palliative care services to patients with a range of life-altering illnesses and conditions, including cancer, heart disease and lung disease.
Led by Medical Director Alan Smookler, MD, the NCH Palliative Care Program is a multidisciplinary team of specialists who work closely with a patient's physician and NCH clinicians to deliver support services and specialized care that improves comfort and quality of life.
Alan Smookler, MD, FACP
Alan Smookler, MD, FACP, is the Medical Director of Palliative Care Services for Northwest Community Hospital. Dr. Smookler joined Midwest CareCenter as assistant medical director after he retired from his 22-year private practice in Geriatric and Internal Medicine, had been the part-time assistant medical director with the organization since 1992.
Dedicated to advancing the philosophy and practice of hospice and palliative medicine, Dr. Smookler is a member of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and the American Geriatric Society and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. He has been quoted in numerous articles and lectured locally on pain management and end-of-life care.
Dr. Smookler is board certified in hospice and palliative medicine, geriatrics and internal medicine. He is an attending physician with the hospitals of the Northwest Community Hospital, NorthShore University HealthSystem (Evanston, Glenbrook, Highland Park, Skokie), Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital as well as at several assisted-living and long-term care facilities. A graduate of the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (1983), Dr. Smookler completed his residency at Northwestern University, where he now serves as an instructor of clinical medicine.
Martha L. Twaddle, MD, FACP, FAAHPM
A nationally recognized expert in hospice and palliative care, Martha Twaddle, MD, is a member of the NCH Palliative Care Program and chief medical officer of Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter.
She created and helped establish a collaborative fellowship program that trains physicians pursuing a medical career in palliative care. Now known as the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Integrated Fellowship, she guided the program to formal recognition and accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in 2009.
Dr. Twaddle is active in research, speaks regularly to local and national groups, and has been published extensively in peer-reviewed articles and other publications on the importance and benefits of hospice and palliative medicine.
After graduating summa cum laude from Purdue University, Dr. Twaddle received her medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, and completed a residency in internal medicine through Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine at Evanston Hospital, where she was also chief resident. She is board-certified in hospice and palliative medicine, as well as internal medicine.
Jennifer Dumrauf, APN, C-CNS, ACHPN
An advanced practice nurse (APN) in palliative care with Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter since 2003, Jennifer Dumrauf functions in a multidisciplinary collaborative role in the care of palliative care patients at NCH.
Jennifer's clinical experience includes hospice and palliative care services, cardiology, pulmonary services, and intensive care, as well as hospital-wide consulting on complex patient care needs. She also has had extensive experience in developing educational series and lecturing on a wide variety of healthcare-related topics—in particular about hospice and palliative care—for nurses, skilled nursing facilities and community groups.
Jennifer is a lead advanced practice nurse for the NCH Palliative Care program, serving patients in the inpatient setting and following up with them in their homes. She also helped to launch a palliative care program at ManorCare of Highland Park.
A graduate of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, Jennifer is an advanced practice nurse, licensed as a clinical nurse specialist in adult health, and holds board certification as an advanced certified hospice and palliative Nurse.
Janet E. Frystak, M.Div., BCC
The Rev. Janet E. Frystak, an ordained Lutheran minister, is the staff chaplain for Oncology and Palliative Care at Northwest Community Hospital. As a board certified Chaplain, the Rev. Frystak has extensive experience in addressing the spiritual, psychosocial and emotional needs of critically ill patients and their families.
Chaplaincy education has prepared the Rev. Frystak to meet the needs of people of all faiths and walks of life, whether they identify themselves as religious or not. She believes that the fundamental connection that people experience is a shared humanity and the understanding that each individual deserves to be accompanied as they travel life's often challenging and unforeseen paths.
Prior to joining NCH in 2009, the Rev. Frystak worked for several years at Northwestern Memorial Hospital's Palliative Care & Home Hospice program. She also previously served as a parish pastor in the greater Chicago area for many years. The Rev. Frystak received a Bachelor of Arts from Roosevelt University and a Master of Divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
Catherine Holmquist, MSW, LCSW
Catherine Holmquist has been a social worker with Midwest CareCenter since 2007. She works in a collaborative role with the multidisciplinary team that provides palliative care to patients at Northwest Community Hospital.
Previously as a social worker with a hospice team, Catherine conducted psychosocial assessments to identify where patients and families are emotionally, and then worked with them in a supportive role to address their concerns, whether financial, emotional or ethical. She also has served as liaison to local hospitals, introducing hospice and palliative care to patients and their families.
Catherine's social work internship experience includes providing therapeutic counseling for patients at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and helping them deal with the practical issues of treatment. At Misericordia Heart of Mercy, she also provided counseling, both individual and group, for developmentally disabled adults.
Before becoming a social worker, Catherine had worked for more than 30 years in the commercial property and casualty insurance industry. She received her bachelor's degree from Fairfield University in Connecticut, and master's degree from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration.
Daya (Delia) LaCavera, APN BC-CNS, WCC
Delia LaCavera is an advanced practice nurse with the Palliative Care Service program of Midwest CareCenter, and she works in a collaborative role with the multidisciplinary team that provides palliative care to patients at Northwest Community Hospital.
Delia has more than 20 years of nursing experience in such areas as palliative care, home health, home infusion and quality and patient safety. She has also worked in private practice as an advanced practice nurse in infectious disease.
Delia has spoken nationally on the benefits of home care telemonitoring and has been published in the Nursing Spectrum on the importance of telemonitoring and disease management. She received both her bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from St. Xavier University in Chicago.
If you think palliative care might be right for you or your loved one, please discuss with your doctor. Or call Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter at 847.467.7423 to schedule a consultation.
Kari Schneider, APN, NP-C, ACHPN
Kari Schneider is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners as an adult nurse practitioner and has received board certification as an advanced hospice and palliative care nurse. Employed by Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter as a palliative care nurse since 2007, Kari has provided assessment and follow-up care for patients and their families in the community.
In her role as an advanced practice nurse for the NCH Palliative Care Program, Kari provides direct patient care at the hospital. Her responsibilities also include ongoing education about palliative care to staff, physicians and the surrounding community.
Kari has 15 years of nursing experience that includes management roles within the inpatient oncology environment. Just prior to joining Midwest CareCenter, she worked for a Chicago-based hospice delivering palliative care services to patients within the hospital, home and nursing home environments.
Kari received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in nursing from Northern Illinois University.