The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act restricts a resident’s either medical or personal information from being released to anyone that is not in need of the information to help that resident.
HIPAA, however, doesn't restrict the use of a resident’s name on the outside of their room, as this is used by caregivers to ensure proper identification. The law calls these postings “incidental disclosures.”
Resident directories are discouraged but we do see them in independent living as long as the resident has approved of their name being included. Many independent living homes have actually stopped posting resident names in such directories in the effort to increase safety and protection.
The question of using a resident’s name outside of their room remains the decision of the operator of the community. It would be interesting to survey both residents and their families to see what they think on this issue.