Our Care Management Team

Sherman Life Care ManagerLauren Sherman is the President and an Expert Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. Lauren is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in both Illinois and Colorado, Advanced Practice Social Worker in Wisconsin and is one of just a few people in Illinois who holds the National Master Guardian distinction from the Center for Guardianship Certification. She previously served on the education committee for the National Guardianship Association and helped to create education programs for individuals throughout the country that worked in the guardianship field or served as guardian for a loved one. Lauren has published numerous articles related to her research with children and adults as well as her current field of guardianship. She has spoken frequently on guardianship and other clinical matters for hospitals, nursing homes, and other care settings on a local and national level.

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McArdle Licensed Clinical Professional CounselorErin McArdle is the Intake and Education Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Illinois State University, and her Master of Arts in Professional Counseling from Concordia University. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois, with clinical strengths and an expansive knowledge base of disease states, diagnoses and disabilities as related to all ages. Erin’s professional experience has provided her with a clinical base that is strengthened by a knowledge of medical social work, Illinois State entitlements, and successful ways to holistically manage all facets of a client’s care. Erin has successfully managed complex cases and is a versatile, solid member of the team.

 

Cline Certified Life Care PlannerPatricia Cline is a Certified Life Care Planner and Expert Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. Patricia’s extensive professional experience in home care, medical and rehabilitation hospitals, state facilities, and private settings is well reflected in her service to clients. Her experience additionally includes provision of Life Care Planning consultative and expert witness services. Patricia earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from DePaul University and her Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work. As an Illinois Licensed Clinical Social Worker also credentialed in Wisconsin, a Certified Life Care Planner, Certified Case Manager and a National Certified Guardian, Pat shows her professional excellence through her ability to perform thorough, insightful bio-psycho-social assessments that are specifically tailored to meet the presenting need of the clients and referring parties. Patricia is a member of The International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals, The National Association of Social Workers, and The Aging Life Care Association.

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Gazda Life Care ManagerJennifer Gazda is an Expert Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Valparaiso University, her Master of Social Work from the University of St. Francis, and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois. Over the past ten years, Jennifer has developed diverse professional experience working with individuals and families in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and the legal arena. Jennifer’s knowledge of medical, clinical, and family court issues is thorough and extensive. Additionally, Jennifer has specialized training in crisis intervention, with particular areas of specialization in abuse and neglect, and developmental disabilities.

Axelson Certified Life Care PlannerJennifer Axelson is a Certified Life Care Planner and Expert Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Relationships from Illinois State University, her Secondary Education Teaching Certification from Northern Illinois University, and her Master of Social Work from Aurora University. Jennifer is also a Certified Case Manager, a Medicare Set Aside Certified Consultant and a Certified Life Care Planner. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Clinical Manager, Jennifer has diverse work experience, including appropriate vs. abnormal child development, chronic and catastrophic medical complexities, the dynamics of aging and chronic pain management. Additionally, Jennifer has experience in school social work, grant management, mental health, substance abuse, and Illinois state child protective arenas. As a supervisor of clinical staff, Jennifer has taken part in or overseen hundreds of assessments and the implementation of their resulting plans of care.

 

Joan Brncich is a Nurse Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois and is a Registered Nurse and Certified Nurse of the Operating Room. Joan has over 25 years of clinical nursing experience in a variety of healthcare settings. She has substantial expertise working with children and adults with chronic and traumatic orthopedic and spine-related needs. Joan combines extensive qualifications in problem solving, resource planning, and education to provide high-quality and compassionate care to the clients she serves.

 

Aron Life Care ManagerNellie Aron serves as a Senior Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. Nellie earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. As a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Nellie has diverse experience in a variety of professional settings including working with individuals with mental illness and/or developmental disabilities in residential settings and also working in the behavioral health insurance industry. Nellie’s professional experience has provided her a strong base of knowledge in medically complex and behaviorally involved cases as well as resolving crisis situations effectively.

 

Laurusonis Life Care ManagerElisa Laurusonis serves as Life Care Manager in the North Shore area of Chicago, Illinois.  She earned her Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago and is currently a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois.  While Elisa has had a broad range of experience with social issues such as poverty, child abuse, and medical social work, she specializes in working with older adults and people with mental illness.  Elisa strives to incorporate a whole-person methodology into working with clients and their families, and believes that compassion and empathy are the cornerstones of her work with others.


Cho Life Care ManagerPaulina Cho serves as a Lifecare Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a concentration in Cognitive Neuroscience from DePaul University. She then went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Psychology-Clinical Counseling from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. Paulina is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with diverse clinical experience working with adults in residential treatment, substance abuse treatment, and supportive housing facilities. Paulina specializes in working with older adults with mental illness and physical disabilities. Paulina has experience in direct service as well as in program development, focusing on the health and wellness needs of the aging population.

 

Horeth Life Care ManagerAshlyn Scanlan serves as a Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Illinois State University and her Master of Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago.  Ashlyn specialized in school social work and has her Type 73 Certificate; she is also a Licensed Social Worker in Illinois. Ashlyn has gained valuable experience in the areas of mental illness, special needs, juvenile delinquency and Illinois State Entitlement programs such as Medicaid and Social Security Benefits.   Ashlyn excels in her ability to advocate for clients, create individualized plans and in her understanding of therapeutic approaches.

 

George Life Care ManagerAnne George serves as a Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Social Work Degree from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana and her Master of Social Work Degree and Gerontology Graduate Certificate in Aging Care from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. Anne is a Medicare Set Aside Certified Consultant, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a Certified Case Manager and a Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist. Anne enjoys working with older adults but also has the pleasure of assisting individuals with physical health concerns, mental health issues, and the differently-abled. She is passionate about her role as an advocate and strives to help others live fulfilling lives.

 

Berkner Life Care ManagerStephanie Berkner serves as a Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Social Work from Colorado State University, and her Masters in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago with a clinical specialization in Health. Stephanie is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois.  Stephanie holds a Child Welfare Employee License and a Child Endangerment Risk Assessment Protocol License through Illinois DCFS. She has extensive experience working with children and adolescents, the geriatric population, individuals with mental illness, and individuals with terminal illness. Stephanie is passionate about advocating for her clients and hopes to provide each client with the level of care that they deserve.

 

Runyan Life Care ManagerAubrey Runyan serves as a Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Social Work from the University of Iowa and her Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work. Aubrey is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois. Aubrey’s experience ranges from reproductive health to chronic illness with individuals in all ages. Aubrey brings enthusiasm and compassion to her work with the clients she serves in hopes of improving their quality of life.

 

Lombardi Life Care ManagerFrancis Lombardi serves as a Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations Inc.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology at the University of Colorado at Boulder and her Masters in Counseling Psychology with a Clinical Specialization from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, IL.  Francis is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Illinois.  Francis has worked with a number of populations since entering the human services realm including DCFS wards of the state at Streamwood Behavioral Health and inpatient psychiatric adults at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Francis has also worked with the Visiting Nurses Association to bring affordable health insurance to marginalized populations as an In-Person Counselor for the Affordable Care Act.  Francis is dedicated to patient advocacy across all levels of care and possesses a strong passion to serve those in need.

 

Frankel Life Care ManagerMax Frankel serves as a Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. He received his Bachelors from Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) in Philosophy and Psychology with a minor in Cognitive Science. During his junior year, Max studied abroad at Oxford University (United Kingdom) where he took coursework in Philosophy and Experimental Psychology. He received his Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Chicago- School of Social Service Administration. He completed the Older Adult Studies program of study while at the University of Chicago. Mas is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois. Max has an extensive background with older adults, and individuals with physical disabilities/chronic diseases in inpatient hospice, nursing homes, and primary/specialty care. Max volunteers on the weekends with his dog Champ performing Animal Therapy at an inpatient hospice, and hopes to incorporate animal therapy into his position at Lifecare.

 

Karen Berauer serves as a Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from Concordia University Chicago and Masters in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago with a dual specialization in children and families and older adults. Karen is a Licensed Social Worker in Illinois. Karen has worked extensively with older adults, as well as adults across the age spectrum experiencing a terminal diagnosis under hospice care. Karen is passionate about working with clients within their support systems and enhancing their level of support through advocacy.

 

Hagen Life Care ManagerKaty Hoff serves as a Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations. She earned her Bachelor of Science from University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. Katy earned her Masters in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her studies were concentrated on Addictions with a Counseling Specialization. Katy is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Illinois and aspires to become a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in the future. She has experience providing counseling services to survivors of sexual trauma through Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center. Katy also has spent years working with adults with developmental disabilities, identifying goals for achievement and developing plans for success. She is strongly motivated to provide holistic support to her client’s through her positive attitude, empathy, and experience.

 

Otstott Life Care ManagerDiana Otstott serves as an Associate Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Social Work at Aurora University. Additionally, Diana obtained a specialization certificate from Aurora University in medical social work. Diana is experienced in working with adolescents, young adults, and adults with mental illnesses and drug related illnesses. She is currently working towards becoming a licensed social worker and plans to become a licensed clinical social worker. Her goal is to make sure her clients receive the best care possible to improve their quality of life.

 

Budziak Life Care ManagerJamie Budziak serves as an Associate Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology from St. Ambrose University in Iowa and her Masters in Social Work from Aurora University with a healthcare specialization. In the past, Jamie has worked in a children’s therapeutic day school as an instructional teaching assistant and in a CILA home with adults with disabilities. Her most recent experience comes from an internship as a foster care case worker and through Linden Oaks Outpatient facility where she served as a clinical therapist intern. Jamie is currently working towards becoming a licensed social worker with hopes to help her clients reach their full potential and improve their overall life quality.

 

Bauer Life Care ManagerMelanie Bauer serves as an Associate Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Counseling from Moody Bible Institute and her Master of Social Work, with a specialization in Advanced Clinical Social Work, from Aurora University. Lanie’s previous experience includes working with homeless young women through a transitional housing program at Wheaton Youth Outreach, where she also provided clinical counseling. In addition Lanie has also served as a case management intern at Evangelical Child and Family Agency, where she provided support and advocacy to families involved with DCFS. Lanie is currently working towards becoming a Licensed Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Social Worker.  Her hope is to enhance the well-being of her clients through dedicated and compassionate care management.

 

Bosh Life Care ManagerKimberly Bosh serves as an Associate Lifecare Manager for Lifecare Innovations. Kimberly earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Delaware, and her Master’s degree in Social Work from Aurora University, dual specializing in Healthcare and Advanced Clinical Social Work. Kimberly has extensive experience working with infants, children, adolescents, and families in various settings. Most recently, Kimberly completed an internship at Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children in their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where she provided case management and therapeutic support to families of her patients. Kimberly is excited for the opportunity to grow as a professional with the aging population. She is currently working towards becoming a licensed social worker and plans to obtain her clinical licensure. Kimberly hopes to enhance the health and well being of her clients through mindful and compassionate care. 

Riff Life Care ManagerAmber Riff serves as an Associate Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in social work from Lewis University and her Master’s degree in Social Work from Governor’s State University. Her studies were concentrated in family and children. Amber’s previous experience includes becoming 40-hour trained in working with victims who are experiencing domestic violence. In addition, Amber has experience as an individual behavioral therapist working with children and adolescents with mental illness. Amber is motivated towards becoming a licensed social worker and plans to become a licensed clinical social worker. Her goal is to enhance the well-being of her client’s while also providing comfort and support.

 

Gruber Life Care ManagerEllen Gruber serves as an Associate Life Care Manager for Lifecare Innovations. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Missouri State University in Child and Family Development with an emphasis in Child Life. She received her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Saint Louis University. She has experience working with both children and adults in the foster care system as well as hospital and school settings. She was a preschool teacher at Washington University in Saint Louis for 4 years where she worked with children aged 6 weeks-6 years. She is currently working towards becoming a licensed social worker and plans to become a licensed clinical social worker. Her goal is to make sure all client’s receive an exceptional level of care and attention to improve their quality of life in all aspects.

 

Tamra Benge serves as an Associate Lifecare Manager for Lifecare Innovations. She earned her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Social Work at Southern Illinois University. During her time at SIUC, she completed an internship at Centerstone and the Marion VA Medical Center. While interning at Centerstone, she worked with individuals who were transitioning back into society after being in the prison system. While interning at the Marion VA Medical Center, she worked in the Transition and Care Management Program helping Veterans transition back into the community when returning home from deployment. Tamra is motivated towards becoming a Licensed Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Her goal is to make sure her client’s receive the best possible care to improve their quality of life.

Manager, Caregiver Services

Anselmo Home SolutionsThomas Anselmo is the Lifecare Home Solutions Manager. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics from Benedictine University, where he also played baseball.  Thomas’s expertise in Home Services has delivered successful growth to the LHS department during his tenure.  Outside of his work at Lifecare, Thomas is highly involved with DuPage P.A.D.S., serving as Captain on breakfast and dinner shifts for the local homeless community. He also spends time with the Chicago Italian American Charitable Organization and DuPage Habitat for Humanity.

Marketing Team

Timothy Harnew is a Business Development Specialist for Lifecare Innovations and manages the company’s digital marketing efforts. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Arts, Entertainment and Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and is a member of the Association of Senior Service Providers, Senior Citizens Services Coordinating Council as well as five separate chapters of the Illinois Continuity of Care Association. Tim’s background includes professional services in the television and magazine industry, where he developed marketing and advertising campaigns for businesses of all sizes. In addition to his sales and marketing experience, Tim is Google Analytics Certified and proficient in website design, search engine optimization (SEO) and CRM software administration.

 

Kathleen Smith is Regional Business Development Specialist for our North Shore and Milwaukee offices.  She brings to the role a rich history in both the pharmaceutical and insurance industries where she worked with medical professionals and families to bring about favorable outcomes for seniors and younger individuals with disabling conditions.  Kathy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Northeastern Illinois University and has worked in various spheres of the business world for most of her career.