What drew Miriam Frucht to the dietetics profession was a love of providing nutrition education to people who genuinely want to improve their lives. After completing her internship, she was most interested in building a career in long-term care. “I felt that was an area of nutrition where I would have the most impact,” Frucht says.
Now, Frucht is the chief clinical dietitian at Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in the New York City borough of Queens, working primarily with older adults who are long-term residents of the facility. “Residents are admitted with multiple comorbidities, and it is my job to choose their medical nutrition therapy and provide education for them to better control their health,” Frucht says.
The facility and Frucht have the privilege of caring for Holocaust survivors. “Survivors are uniquely attuned to the food they eat because of the severe deprivation and starvation they suffered, as well as fond food memories from before their suffering began,” Frucht says.
Taking into account each resident’s customs, rituals, background and taste preferences, Frucht tailors meal plans to create a sense of familiarity and enjoyment. “I feel this enhances the patient’s life, as well as providing nutritious sustenance,” she says.
With a keen attention to detail and care for every individual, Frucht succeeds at making a great impact on the facility’s long-term residents, as well as short-term rehab residents and hospice patients she oversees. “I constantly see the same residents when I come to work, and there is an acknowledgement and admiration for one another,” Frucht says. “To know that I can make a difference in their care is truly rewarding.”