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Should resident names be used on room signage?

February 10, 2011
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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.

Lisa Cini

President and CEO

Cini is president and CEO of Mosaic...



rather... the question of using a resident's name outside of their room Should be the decision of the resident or their representative.

Occasionally I will still see a homeowners name on the exterior of the home or on the mailbox but not that often anymore, and it is the homeowner's decision alone to do so.

Again we come back to what are the customer's wishes?

Tony sexton

We at Vetter Health Services not only include the resident's name at their room entrance, but we typically encourage our residents to include personal items in their "memory box" at their door. We believe that it is all about celebrating the person...their live and their legacy. We definitely respond to the resident's wishes, but we help them to understand what we are wanting to achieve with the room signage and the memory box. Without names, is there a chance that we will revert back to "the hip in 204"....I hope not!