AUGUSTA, Ga. – Laurie Cordaro, director of Occupational Therapy at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home, was named Occupational Therapist of the Year by the Georgia Occupational Therapy Association at its fall conference in Atlanta in October.
Cordaro, who also serves as the East District chair for GOTA, joined Georgia War in 2012, where she evaluates and treats geriatric veterans at the 192-bed skilled nursing facility. Cordaro has been an occupational therapy professional in the Augusta area for more than 30 years, including positions at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Pediatric Occupational Therapy, Inc., and CSRA Therapy Services.
“Laurie’s diverse academic and professional background makes her the perfect recipient of this award,” said Executive Director Charles Esposito. “She is always seeking out new opportunities to add value to the lives of the veterans here at Georgia War. Whether it’s providing routine treatment or seeking out new and advanced therapies, she always goes above and beyond. We are fortunate to have her here.”
Cordaro’s certifications in the National Parkinson’s Foundation Allied Team Training and in Physical Agent Modalities help her better care for her older patient population. She encourages independence and works to discover the hobbies and interests of each veteran in order to create motivational avenues for therapy. For instance, Cordaro has incorporated watercolor painting into some of the veterans’ activities, and she organized the first public art exhibit for the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home at Sacred Heart Cultural Center last fall that featured more than 40 pieces of original artwork, most of it created by veterans.
For nearly 50 years the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home has served the veteran community with a strong emphasis on the individual needs of each veteran. The facility, which is owned by the Georgia Department of Veterans Service, is operated by Augusta University and its health system and is considered a leader in the area of geriatric care training.
Cordaro provides some of this training as a fieldwork educator for OT and OTA students at Augusta University and Augusta Technical College, and one of her students – Jillian Johnson – was also recognized by GOTA at the annual conference as the OT Student of the Year.
Pinnacle Quality Insight ranked Georgia War in the nation’s top 15 percent of senior health care providers for patient satisfaction for the second year in a row this year.