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Legend finds joy in improving nutrition for residents, patients at The Legacy

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  • Written By: Felicia Messimer
Legend finds joy in improving nutrition for residents, patients at The Legacy

Elaine Brunson has worked for CCH for more than 30 years—starting in June 1987 in the Nutrition Services department, she is now a Nutrition Tech at The Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center.

Legend Lisa Miller, Manager of Nutrition Services at CCH, has known Elaine for more than 20 years, and completed a Legend nomination form for Elaine in late 2017 to make sure her friend and colleague was recognized for the excellence she brings to work every day.

“I’d say that Elaine is the extreme example of a dedicated employee—working any and all hours to provide the best possible care to our patients and residents,” Lisa says. “She works relentlessly to better residents’ nutritional intake, and thus their overall nutritional status.”

For those who don't know, CCH defines a Legend as, "those people who have left an indelible impression on our minds because of their deeds and actions. Ongoing demonstration of hard work, compassion, and a reputation for greatness make someone a legend."

Originally from Sundance, Wyoming, Elaine joined Campbell County Health because there was a job opening that caught her eye in the Nutrition Department. The Nutrition Services team provides progressive nutritional care to Campbell County Memorial Hospital patients and residents at The Legacy, as well as:

She earned her Certified Dietary Manager Certificate and her Certified Food Protection Professional (CFPP), and as a Nutrition Tech she works closely with the dietitians to develop nutritional screens and meal plans for all of the residents and Short Term Rehabilitation patients at The Legacy.

Elaine’s colleagues describe her as compassionate, as well as passionate about her position. Many said that Elaine spends hours improving residents meals as well as learning all she can do to better understand nutrition. In her nomination form, CCH Legend Karen Polson, RD, LD, wrote that Elaine often reviews the follow ups by dietitians to help her learn more about improving her own screening and assessing of residents. Her colleagues also described Elaine as “relentless in following policy and procedure,” and expects nothing less from her fellow colleagues.

There are several residents who have very poor appetites and multiple medical complications and/or food intolerances with weight loss and compromised nutritional status. Elaine has made it her mission to find a way and means to improve this.

Suzanne Struebing, CDM, CFPP, has known Elaine for nearly five years. As the current Nutrition Services Supervisor at The Legacy, Suzanne has seen first-hand how Elaine interacts with co-workers and residents.

“Elaine visits with our residents regularly to discuss their menus, and offers different options for residents with special diets and weight loss issues to ensure our residents are receiving proper nourishment throughout each day,” says Suzanne. “For our residents who are struggling to maintain weight, Elaine prepares special Snack Baskets for them to keep in their room and encourage residents to munch on throughout the day.”

Lisa also commented that there are two residents who are quite fond of Elaine—with her they are willing try new supplements and foods, where they will not for other staff.

Elaine has also been instrumental in a new meal service project that Nutrition Services is working on at The Legacy: tray cards. According to Lisa, Elaine has taken the lead in this project. “She works hard to have accurate tray cards and pictures of each resident—addressing food allergies, special preferences, and special needs such as adaptive devices. She developed a color code to address their therapeutic needs while maintaining confidentiality,” says Lisa.

Susanne calls Elaine “an excellent source of information, guidance and mentorship to our staff. Elaine lives excellence every day with her peers and how she communicates interdepartmentally throughout our organization. Elaine is an excellent team player, willing to lend a hand wherever is necessary.”

When asked why she works so hard for patients and residents at The Legacy, Elaine says: “I like the people I work with. I like taking care of the residents and patients, seeing them smile and enjoying their meals. I take great pride in getting a resident to eat better.”

Outside of work, Elaine enjoys spending time with her husband of 27 years, and her two children, who are now in college. As a family, they enjoy the great outdoors—especially hiking in the mountains and hills, and anywhere in between. Elaine also enjoys kicking up her feet and relaxing, reading, putting puzzles together, crocheting and embroidery.

Thank you, Elaine, for going the extra mile to take care of residents and patients at The Legacy. We all see how dedicated you are to your job, and appreciate the energy you bring to Nutrition Services. Congratulations.

  • Category: Employee Recognition, Nutrition, The Legacy Living and Rehabilitation Center, Legend Award