Racial preference ruling disseminated to state's nursing homes

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All nursing homes in Indiana will be notified of a recent court ruling that declared that nursing home residents cannot specify treatment from a particular caregiver based on race, state health officials said recently.

The ruling stems from the recent case of Brenda Chaney, a black nursing assistant who was prohibited by her facility from treating a patient who preferred only white caregivers. (McKnight's, 7/26/10) Nursing homes in nearly all states have dealt with caregiving issues involving race, and the Chaney decision could serve as a national model, according to an Associated Press report.

Many states, including Indiana, have broad, non-specific laws governing patients' choice of caregiver. While both federal and many states' laws require nursing homes to account for residents' “individual needs and preferences,” the recent court ruling specifies that a patient's racial preference does not supersede the caregiver's civil rights, the AP reports.

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