Authorities in Kentucky are investigating reports that a healthcare employee may have abused residents at a nursing home where he worked. The individual, Richard T. Coleman, is a 41 year old man from Georgetown, Ind. He was previously arrested in August by Louisville Metro Police after a warrant was issued by Oldham County.
The initial charges filed against him were for sexual abuse of a co-worker. Coleman was indicted on Nov. 10 on four counts of sexual abuse by a Grand Jury. At the time of the second arrest Coleman was working at a different facility called Forest Springs Health Campus in Eastern Jefferson County.
The current charges filed against Coleman involve the same victim. However, authorities on the case say that new claims involving Friendship Manor residents and other employees are also being investigated. The alleged incidents occurred between Dec. 1, 2017 and May 24, 2018 during the period when Coleman was working at what was then the Friendship Manor Nursing Home. The name of the facility was later changed and is currently called Friendship Health and Rehab.
This latest incident exemplifies the concerning issue of elder abuse that is becoming increasingly more prevalent in nursing homes and facilities across the country. In the United States, over 500,000 cases of abuse in which the elderly become victims of abuse, neglect or other crimes are reported to authorities, while many more cases go unreported. Nursing home residents who are particularly vulnerable include elderly adults with chronic illnesses, disabilities, memory and mobility problems. Women are targeted more often than men although men are still at risk.
While there are federal and state laws designed to keep nursing home residents safe, many facilities are still far from satisfactory. Data from a Congressional inquiry reveals that over twenty percent of nursing home residents on Medicare have suffered nursing home neglect or abuse resulting in significant harm, while over ten percent of Medicare residents have experienced temporary harm during the duration of their stays.
According to the Law Office of Matthew L. Sharp, common forms of elder abuse including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, and healthcare fraud. Perpetrators can be nursing home caregivers or staff members, or family members or friends who are taking care of an elderly person at home.