- Associated Press - Monday, August 23, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A recent federal court ruling could force nursing homes to balance the rights of patients to choose their own care against the civil rights of nursing home employees.

At issue was a policy in some nursing homes that allowed patients to choose the race of their caregivers. Black certified nursing assistant Brenda Chaney sued when the Indiana nursing home where she worked restricted her from providing care for certain white patients.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in Chaney’s favor, saying the policy violated her civil rights.

Nursing home attorney Janet McSharar says nursing homes are caught in the middle because they’ve been taught that patients’ wishes are “paramount” under patients’ rights laws.