At 32, Cassandra Krege was working in a clerical position at the local emergency room and raising an infant with her husband. A stroke was the last thing she expected.
However, when Cassandra started having sudden weakness, a facial droop and slurred speech, she knew something serious was going on. She was diagnosed with a stroke that affected her left side, her speech and swallowing. On Aug. 16, she came to The Heritage Center in Morristown, Tennessee, for rehabilitation.
Physical, occupational and speech therapists all worked with Cassandra to help her reach her goal of being independent enough to go home to her family. She started out needing maximum assistance with all her self-care tasks, such as bathing, dressing and hygiene, as well as mobility such as walking, standing, sitting balance and even bed mobility. She had some difficulties speaking and swallowing and was on a diet of modified textures.
“Cassie was very motivated to achieve her personal and therapy goals,” said Karen Harrell, director of rehab services.
Cassandra used a variety of interventions and tools to recover her strength, balance and function in her left side. Neurodevelopmental treatment helped address her neuro-motor skills, while gentle electrical stimulation assisted with preparing her body for movement. She used weights to strengthen her muscles and exercise equipment such as the OmniCycle®, NuStep and LiteGait to work on coordination, gait and endurance.
In speech therapy, Cassandra learned exercises and strategies for swallowing, as well as cognition and communication. The speech therapist did several trials as she progressed in her swallowing ability to see what textures she could safely manage, and by the end of her therapy, she was eating and drinking normally again.
Cassandra returned home on Oct. 29, able to complete all her self-care tasks with minimum to moderate assistance. She is independent in her bed mobility and sitting balance and at a supervision level for standing balance. She has home health and plans to be a stay-at-home mom.
“Therapy helped me to walk again using a cane,” Cassandra said. “My experience was really good. Everyone was nice. I made new friends with other residents and with staff. I would like to be able to volunteer here in the future.”