Dolan at Les Maisons, St. Louis, MO
Deborah Schweiss, RN – Nurse Manager
Joined team in 2016
Dolan Memory Care Homes at Lourdes
I received my RN in 1991. From the very start, I knew I would be working in geriatrics. I have worked in several nursing homes, along with home health care, throughout the years and also spent six years on the ACE unit (acute care for the elderly) at Des Peres Hospital.
I love working with the Alzheimer/dementia population and was so excited when I heard about Dolan Memory Care. The atmosphere in the houses is one of “being at home with family” instead of being in a facility. The Residents are active, happy, and enjoy so many opportunities that a facility could not provide. Each Resident is so special and is allowed the freedom to explore their home, sit on the back porch, and take a walk in the yard with no restrictions. I can’t imagine a better place for someone going through the process of finding their loved one a special place where they will be cared for and happy along with being as independent as possible for as long as possible.
Ritah Njeri, RN – Nurse Manager
Joined team in 2017
Dolan Memory Care Homes at Clermont
Ritah joined Dolan in 2017 as a floating nurse, rotating to other homes offering additional support. In 2020, she settled her roots at the Villa household. Ritah feels, “Dolan is a good place to work.” She appreciates the small house-setting and loves the friendly work environment. Ritah is not afraid to help out whether it is transporting a resident to an outing or providing one-on-one companionship. Ritah was previously employed at another long term care facility for 6 years. Ritah is originally from Kenya, Africa and moved to St. Louis for nursing school. She has two children, a son and daughter. In her free time, she loves going out with friends, spending time with family and traveling.
Ellen Kaelin, BSN, RN – Nurse Manager
Joined team in 2018
Dolan Memory Care Homes at Calais
Ellen was born and raised in Belleville, Illinois. She is the 7th of 8 children. She is married and has 3 children and 4 grandchildren. Ellen also has 2 dogs and 1 cat.
Nursing is in Ellen’s family. Her Mother was an OB nurse. She was drawn to nursing after helping to care for her parents throughout their illness for 5 years. “I watched my father pass away a little bit every day to Alzheimer’s. I was not happy with the options that were available at the time to loved ones affected from this cruel disease and end of life care.”
Ellen obtained her BSN from Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College, with emphasis on end of life/elder care. “From a very young age I gravitated toward elderly people. I enjoyed the rich history, the stories they were so willing to tell and the love they are always willing to give.”
Ellen heard about Dolan Memory Care Homes when her daughter did a clinical rotation through her nursing program at Chamberlain. She stated, “Mom, this is the place you have always wanted to have for grandma and grandpa. I think you would love working at Dolan.”
When ask about being a Nurse Manager at Dolan, Ellen expressed, “Dolan is by far the best place I have ever seen. It allows a person with dementia to feel at home. We are one big family at Dolan. We allow our Residents to enjoy a home environment and be loved until the end of their life.”
Cassandra Solomon, LPN – Nurse Manager
Joined team in 2017
Dolan Memory Care Homes at Lyon
I graduated from Festus Senior High in 2001 and have lived in DeSoto, MO, for over 10 years. Growing up I always lived in the country with lots of animals. Most of our time was occupied with traveling and showing horses competitively. Throughout high school I always planned on being a veterinarian, but soon found that my calling was the nursing of people, not animals. I am the proud mother of two beautiful daughters, Lily (9) and Emma (4). I seemed to have passed on the love of horses to my children, as we are the current owner of two four-legged family members.
At the age of 14 my grandmother, who I was very close with, was diagnosed with dementia. Not long after being diagnosed my mother moved her into our home. She was not with us long before hallucinations and aggression (related to fear) occurred and she had to be placed in a facility. It was a nice place, but I’ll never forget how much it hurt seeing her there as just another “one of the patients,” even though she was so much more to my family and me.
I started working in the medical field at the young age of 17 as a medical assistant for a doctor. Not long into it I found my true path and started applying to nursing school. My first nursing job was at the skilled facility my grandmother lived at. After several years there I decided it was important I become a well-rounded nurse and accepted a position in a hospital. It didn’t take long to realize that my love in nursing was with geriatrics and being able to build a relationship/connection with Residents and their families. My nursing career choices always brought me back to long-term care whether it was as a charge nurse, nursing supervisor, or nurse manager.
I will never forget when I first received the call from Dolan. Once I spoke with Dolan I quickly started researching them online. I was amazed and found myself further researching patient-centered care. It is such an amazing concept that I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of. I started working for Dolan Memory Care Homes in February of 2017 and I fell in love. I felt like I had made a complete circle with my nursing career. I started out with my grandmother and her dementia and now I am a manager of a memory care home. I wish every patient with a memory impairment I have taken care of in my more than 15 years of nursing could have had the life that Dolan Residents have, especially my grandmother. Every day I wake up for work I think to myself, “Thank God for Tim Dolan and his vision.”