Karen's Story 

Karen Narvarre smiles after inpatient rehabilitation.

Karen Navarre could not have been busier. Life as a pharmacy tech at Sam's, an active church member and a loving family matriarch kept her on the go.

All that changed one night when a stroke left her without the ability to speak, walk or perform daily tasks.

It all started when Karen was lying in bed. Her grandson came in to give her a hug, and she noticed that she couldn’t feel her right side. She immediately began to get dressed to go to the hospital, noticing as she did that she couldn’t move her body correctly.

Her husband hurriedly drove her to Slidell Memorial Hospital, where it was confirmed that Karen had suffered a stroke. Her speech and mobility were severely affected. Once she was medically stable, her physicians recommended an intensive inpatient rehabilitation program to help her regain mobility and independence.

Karen's medical professional friends and family recommended Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital.

Karen immediately set communication and mobility goals with her Northshore care team—she was anxious get back to her busy lifestyle. Her rehabilitation journey would involve a physician-led interdisciplinary approach, with speech, physical, and occupational therapies working in tandem to address her complex needs.

Karen’s physical therapy began with modest steps, initially walking 30 feet with assistance. Her customized therapy program included balance and strength exercises, such as using therabands and a stair stepper, and the fitting of a brace to correct toe dragging. This dedicated approach was successful — when she was ready to return home after 23 days of rehabilitation, Karen was walking 200 feet with just a cane and supervision.

Occupational therapy focused on refining her fine motor skills, helping her regain the use of her right arm and teaching her new ways to manage self-care tasks with specialized tools. The moment Karen lifted her right arm marked a turning point, symbolizing her regained independence.

 Speech therapy introduced Karen to strategies for overcoming her communication barriers, such as describing words and utilizing relaxation techniques.

Throughout her rehabilitation journey, Karen credited her family's support through daily visits and involvement in her care as pivotal to her recovery.

Reflecting on her experience, Karen offered this advice to future patients: "Let God take the lead and trust that you are in good hands with the staff at Northshore." Her faith and the team at Northshore Rehabilitation Hospital not only restored her health but also reinforced her belief in the power of community and compassionate care.