Dons the Don

Dons the Don

His face in the lower right picture kills me.

Oh man, if any of my family is ever put into one of those places, I vow never to abandon them.

As a fellow care worker, all I could think about was how much shit I'd get into if I tweeted pictures of my service users along with posting details of their condition. Bit naughty, that. Cute though.

It's sad but my grandma has pretty bad dementia and it's pretty much like the lights are on but nobody's home. I used to think it's cruel to put a person in a home but I realize now that a person with bad dementia is, frankly, not the same human being you used to know. My mom takes care of her but it's like babysitting 24/7.

Looks like my grandmother, a lost/blankness in their eyes. She has had dementia for 7 years, I live with her to help take care. Cries nonstop. Crying right now. But saying “Merry Christmas” and “I love you” puts a smile on her face. I’ll play Christmas music in May if I have to.

My grandpa literally couldn't be trusted alone for even a minute. He'd wander, fall over, take random pills, try to drive or just wander into the road. My grandma was killing herself to take care of him. When we finally convinced her to put him in a care center, she cried with relief. She was able to spend his last few months spending time with him, not worrying about him constantly. As much as my grandma tried, she couldn't give him the level of care he needed. It was the right decision for us and he his last few months were more peaceful than the previous year.

Is no one concerned about HIPAA?

So... there's actually a lot of controversy about this tweet. The patient, like every other American, has a legal right to keep his medical information private under HIPAA. Basically, the patient has to consent to the release of heath information or the releaser and the facility can get into a ton of trouble. This right here is an exact example of what every HIPAA training tells you is illegal - an employee took a picture of a patient who cannot legally give consent and posted it online with a description of his diagnosis. So unless she has something in writing from whoever is handling his life decisions to authorize this tweet in advance - which, let's be realistic, is pretty unlikely - she's going to get into trouble.

Edit: for those thinking I'm BSing, here's a Propublica report of HIPAA violations. Some are more ridiculous scenarios, but others are basically this - nursing home employee posted picture of a resident and said he/she had dementia, and that's it. Fines and firings all around.

Yeah I work a very similar job to her and I’d be in endless amounts of trouble for this. Not only is she putting personal photographs out there with the resident she’s also attaching his medical information out there for the world to see..

Super shitty but also super fucking cute lol!

Exactly what I was thinking. Would think HIPAA laws would come into play.

I lost my grandmother to dementia this year. One of my favorite memories of my entire life was my brother, dad, and I doing animal impressions and dancing like goofballs to old music to make her laugh. We also played with a balloon in a circle. It was silly, childish behavior, so unlike the deep conversations or intense card games we used to have. But she was smiling. We were all smiling. I’ll keep it in my heart forever.

You can still find the joy, even if it’s hard. I’m sending love to you both and I hope you can have some fun in between the tears this year. ❤️

Honestly, nurses, in every field, are some of the most amazing people.

I’m a med student and I’m fortunate enough to study at the largest hospital of the country. And even here the nurses are understaffed, under equipped, and underpaid. But still they work insanely hard. I had a 2 week internship following them around and I’ve never been more tired.

I swear, they get by on the “thank you”s they get from their patients, because the pay isn’t what keeps them going. (Seriously those were the most genuine thank yous I’ve ever gotten in my life. From the bottom of a persons hard. It was quite the experience.)


And I'm pretty sure a client with dementia can't even legally give consent, I know mine can't.

I just had a guy with dementia move out who couldn't stop peeing in the yard, let alone understand government documents.

I know some of it is that the families simply cannot afford them.

and the one on the left restores my faith in humanity

They absolutely do ^ . But who is there to assert his rights? His family "wasn't able" to see him on Christmas, so unless they see this post and realize there's a sweet settlement check possible (instead of feeling the shame of leaving Don on the holidays), there will be no enforcement of HIPAA protections.

^ By "absolutely" I mean "possibly"... HIPAA applies to covered parties, and I'm not enough of an expert to tell you if this residential facility is covered. That said, it's certainly state-law invasion of privacy, even if not a federal HIPAA violation, and thus is ill-advised. But when there are karma points at stake, sometimes you gotta take risks!

That’s because you’re a decent human being

As sweet as this is, she gave out alot of personal information. Also I dont get why she had to post this in the first place. If you want to do something nice, just do it and leave it at that. You dont have to tell the whole world about what you did.

That was my reply to her, and she immediately blocked me. I don't see how a care worker can put their resident's name, picture, and diagnosis online and that not be a HIPAA violation, no matter how good her intentions were.

The sad thing is these aid workers only make what - maybe $10 an hour, while the institutions themselves charge families or the government thousands of dollars every month.

We really have to push for an increase in wages for these caretakers because it will absolutely impact the level and quality of care for our elderly and disabled.

It's sad that no one visited him on Christmas but that doesn't mean he was abandoned. We really don't have any idea what the circumstances surrounding this are.

She shouldn’t have posted this, she should’ve just spent Christmas with him without posting it on social media.

You mean the guy with dementia who legally can't consent to anything?

And has the means.

edit: A heck of a lot of people can't afford to take care of their parents in their older years. It's tragic.

The worst part is nurses are severely underpaid.

I'm not sure about the rest of the world's but in Canada teachers and nurses are severely underpaid and understaff. It's crazy the most important parts of our community (education and medical) are like this really.

Her boss might have something to say about it.

This is the real answer.

Thank you ❤️ I’m sorry for your loss. It really is a horrible disease. She alternates between crying and angry “sound effects”, as we call it, but she’ll always laugh until her belly hurts to the Family Guy clip of Bruce Jenner dancing! I’m happy you have found memories even during the sickness, to remember her fondly in her best and her worst. Hope you have a happy holidays.

Yeah, it’s sweet, but she’s going to get fired for Christmas. Poor judgement, however well intentioned.

Well, I can't stress enough how basic this is. It's literally an example in every HIPAA course I've ever taken. If I still had my old job I would find it and screenshot it, because it's basically "I went for a walk with Richard in my Alzheimer's unit!" There's no way she hasn't been told she can't do this.

Seriously. I have a friend who works in a similar place and will talk about people me and my friends know who get admitted there. Wether it be for drugs, mental illness or something else it’s pretty fucked up. I work in the mental health field as well and have told him he can’t do that and he just doesn’t seem to get it/care at all. Really rubs me the wrong way because people’s drug addiction/mental illness isn’t our business or something to be laughing about

Yeah, it's important that she said his family wasn't able to see him, not that they refused to see him or something.

It is definitely illegal.

It's Christmas, we have to be happy

You should understand that that's the very reason people feel so shitty around the holidays



not the same human being you used to know

My dad just moved into a home after living with us for years. It's sad, and I feel bad about it, but as his Alzheimer's progressed over the last year, it slowly began to rule my life and my family's. Everything started revolving around and being constrained by my dad and his symptoms. We couldn't leave him alone, because he'd have panic attacks, or he'd start doing something unwanted in the house, or worse, something dangerous to himself or us. He has constant delusions, and has grown generally uncooperative and combative unless you can play along and pretend like those delusions are real (because to him, they are). He's simply not the same person; you get brief glimpses of who he used to be, but mostly he's a scared and completely helpless husk of a human that needs constant supervision and direction to function day to day.

I started this year wanting him to eventually die in our house when it was time, because I know that that's what he really wanted. But as things progressed, it became clear I had to choose between my wife and kids, and my dad, because I simply couldn't support both.

This is a worldwide phenomenon. Only about 1-10% of teachers and nurses get adequate or above adequate pay and that's mostly because they work with private companies that charge out the butt.

The rest are underpaid, understaffed and severely overworked. And if we truly cared about our young and old (or citizens in general), these would be some of the most respected and best paid (not millions a year, but certainly enough to keep them away from working 20+ hours overtime a week).

Nurses and teachers don't get enough respect, because they do "dirty" jobs. But we should have an incentive to make sure our best students become teachers. Not just someone that is good enough.

It is tiring to see that the ones who do the most are the ones we tend to respect and admire the least. But kids know. They admire and respect the policeman, the garbage man, the nurse, even the teacher. But as we get older, that tends to change as it's hammered into us that these people don't make enough. That people are only valued by their salaries and net worth.

It's saddening... I hope we can change that someday. So we will not have starving farmers, nurses that can't afford medical care, cops that have to live in crime stricken areas or teachers that can't afford proper education for their kids.

Pretty sure this is a HIPAA violation of some sort...

Fuck you, you can't know what its like to care for a loved one who no longer even recognizes you. Disgusting to judge someone in that situation.

There is nothing more painful in life than that situation, trying to deal with the guilt of thinking about how much easier it would be for everyone if they died.

Social media attention disorder

I certainly am concerned about HIPAA, as well as his dignity, did she need to include that he was crying? It just seems like a beautiful moment for them to share with one another, not the whole of the internet.

Went to massage therapy school. Can confirm this is basically day one of ethics. You can’t do this. It’s sweet, I’m glad she cares, but she finna lose her job.

immediately blocked me

Yep. She doesn’t like facts.

This is actually a good point. I wonder if her facility has sufficient HIPAA training?

I once walked out of a psychiatrist appointment two to hear two psychs openly and LOUDLY laughing and mocking one of their patients in the parking lot. (Not me, but still, wtf?)

People are disgusting. Last time I went to that shit-hole.

Right. For instance, where I am, it snowed 35cm (13 inches) yesterday. No way my little Kia is getting through that until the plows come through. I barely made to my aunt's place a couple blocks away, and a neighbour had to push my car so I could get out of my driveway.

I wasn't able to make it to my dad's, which is about a 40 minute drive. Still sucks, but I'm sure my dad would rather have me safe with other family than stranded on the highway.

In my experience this type of HIPAA violation would result in a warning and retraining, but ultimately this would depend on the client and his family and how pissed off they are. This looks like a case where the worker acted in good faith but made a poor decision, and probably wouldn't get reamed unless the company or the worker has a pattern of violations. Source: me. HIPAA compliance officer for mental health organization

Edit: Typo

Edit 2: the act of taking the picture wasn't necessarily a HIPAA violation, but storing it in her personal, nonsecured device and subsequently transmitting it electronically for the whole world to see... that's a violation regardless of consent.

This was a very kind and sweet gesture, but you've gone too far, morally and legally

I don’t know if it makes you feel better, but senior citizen homes are going down. Like less people are putting their loved ones in them. Idk that makes me feel better about the future

He can't give consent because of the dementia?

That was my first thought - she just seriously breached his privacy, what the hell?

I was wondering this while reading the tweet, seemed like a massive violation.

At least in my province, publishing photos of your residents is a gross violation of privacy laws and grounds for dismissal of employment. Especially if they have a mental disability.

Yes, no court would side with a facility in a consent case like this involving someone who has a dx of dementia. It just wouldn't happen.

Violated to the fullest

Welcome to social media? Why does 99% of anything get posted on those sites?

Incorrect, dementia doesn’t mean you cannot consent.

Edit: I’m in the UK, our laws may be different.

That was I was thinking. I work in nursing homes and this is a firable offense. No questions asked. Especially because PTs with dementia generally cannot give consent

Yeah I don’t understand why she went and did something nice, then blasted about it. Not only does it look humblebraggy but she’ll probably get herself in trouble for it.


Shitting on blue and pink collar jobs is an international phenomenon. There is a reason that jobs that tend to be filled by women in particular are the lowest paying but still require skill, care, and nurturing. Those with the social power (white collar jobs) benefit from keeping those positions low pay because it keeps the power concentrated where they like it. If you’re overworked and underpaid, you don’t have the energy or resources to demand change for the better.

The part that made the resident feel good was the phototaking, not the sharing of said photos and personal details on social media.

And the boss would care, because it would be foolish not to. You don’t get to ignore HIPAA because you don’t think the family should or would care.

Forced "happiness" is a great way to exacerbate depression

Most of the time if a person has dementia to the point where they need the constant care of a specialized facility, their Power of Attorney lies with a family member. They would be the one to allow consent for this kind of stuff.

Some family members would be pissed if this happened... Others would be happy to see their [cared for] family member have a moment of joy. The outcome of this particular situation is a crapshoot.

I’m glad you appreciate it :) merry Christmas to you too!

Here is a picture of her and my grandfather strolling down the streets of Barcelona in the 60s. They were such a suave couple. I hope they’re drinking scotch and laughing together now.

His family isn't.

I work on the mental health floor of a hospital and this will definitely get you fired. Not only is this forbidden in the medical field in general, the mental health field has special rules and guidelines. Patients in a psychiatric facility have very strict confidentiality rights, as in we can't even tell a person calling that a certain patient is there without that patient's PIN number. Judging by the amount of retweets, she's most likely already been fired. As a warning to all else who work in this field, PLEASE listen in orientation. You CAN NOT divulge a patient's name and his particular diagnosis, and you most definitely can not take and post pictures to social media. This patient probably knows some people who were not aware of his illness, but are now because of the virality of this post. You inadvertently embarrassed this man's family, and most likely him if he is lucid in any way. I understand this was done with good intentions, and serious kudos to you for being compassionate towards your patients as most in our field don't give two shits about the people they care for, but please refrain from things of this nature at your next job.

I used to think it was abandonment too until my grandmother's health started failing to the point where she required 24/7 care. My mom, while working full time, had to move in with my grandmother and my aunts and uncles were over her house every single day.

The amount of care someone like that requires is unfathomable. Walking, changing, eating, ... literally every daily activity requires at least one, sometimes two people present. It reached the point where our families life and our aunts and uncles lives revolved around my grandmother. Eventually when my aunt got diagnosed with brain and lung cancer, it was just too much work.

It feels sleazy to broadcast that this man has dementia and is depressed because his family won't visit, just to get kudos for your cute selfie. I work in healthcare and I would be fired if so posted pictures of any patients. It's nice that she hung out with him, but it's overshadowed by everything else.

Every one of her replies has been immature or passive aggressive and she comes off as a really rude person. It really tarnishes the original feel-good vibe of the post and it's clear she only did it for attention. She becomes defensive towards anyone who doesn't pat her on the back, even if they explained to her in the nicest possible terms that this is illegal. I don't think this post is wholesome at all anymore, just exploiting the situation of her client for likes on the internet.

I agree. Being a nurse's aide is backbreaking work, and oftentimes they are definitely not compensated fairly for the work they do. It's not just the physical labor, but also the emotional energy it takes to foster close, trusting relationships with people when they're at what's probably the lowest point in their life.

this is also what makes me so mad at people saying the 77 cents thing to a dollar isn't valid because it's not looking at the same fields. Who cares?? Women disproportionally take on some of the most important jobs in society, and they get paid fuck all for it. Teachers, nurses, they deserve better. (And just for the willfully obtuse, I'm referring to both male and female teachers and nurses, obviously)

Yeah this person could easily be fired for this.

She's young though and if it happens hopefully she takes it as lesson learned and doesn't become spiteful. Mistakes like this can easily cloud all perspective, and make you think you were 100% in the right when technically it isn't true. Hopefully her decision making process would change and not her good intentions.

I keep seeing comments get downvoted for saying that, but it's true. Releasing clients medical information (i.e., tweeting about it) without the consent of the patient is a violation. Plus, I don't believe that a client with dementia can legally give consent. If I am wrong, then I guess it's no big deal.

Thank you so much for such a beautiful post.

Merry Christmas to you and your family! May the memories of your grandmother coming continue to live on!😄


Yeah but think of all the likes, though.

Most hispanics like myself have their grandparents live with one of their kids. my grandma and grandpa live with my auntie and that’s pretty much how most latin grandparents live

Worked as an aide in assisted living. Showering the residents, dressing them, cooking meals, laundry, cleaning their rooms, scheduling/taking them to appointments, emergency protocols, basically anything any elderly person needs any time any day. $9.19/hour

It’s not that black and white. It’s incredibly draining to see a loved living in a way that barely even resembles a person. Extreme difficulty to move, talk, hell, even being unable to swallow their own saliva or clean themselves. I know it sucks to abandon someone in this situation, but it’s not easy to witness someone you care a lot about slowly become nothing, and watch as everything that made them them fades away. Don’t judge people so quickly.

The fines for revealing Protected Health Information are extremely harsh and can include jail time. This is obviously a caring person. I hope she does not become embittered if/when she is punished for this.

Thank you for brightening my day with love, sorry for harshing your buzz with reality.

It's an important point, I think. I get the general sense that whenever people hear about older folks living in care facilities that they are being neglected. I'm sure many are neglected, but I wonder how many people just can't afford the money, energy, and time.

I know it looks like a happy story and it probably is.

It is a HIPAA violation and here is why.

The patient being pictured here has been stated as having Dementia. By definition, this means that he lacks the proper consent to have his picture taken and displayed on the Net for us all to see. His family may have legal grounds to sue the company that OP works for. I'm not a lawyer, but I have dealt personally with reprimanding and investigating people I supervise for HIPAA violations. Every medical organization takes this seriously and OP would likely be out of a job.

My recommendation: Remove this post.

A lot of time, if they surrender all of their assets, Medicare will pay for it. It’s more expensive to keep a sick elderly family member at home, because you realize you can’t give them the level of care they need and can’t afford to get an in-home nurse.

Source: have a grandmother with Alzheimer’s I used to care for. As soon as I moved away for school, my mother put my grandmother in one of those homes.

I applaud her compassion but she's basically pimping out a vulnerable elderly person for likes. My grandpa had severe alzheimer's to the extent he needed constant supervision in a facility. Up until then he was a very private and proud person and would be mortified to have a picture like this go viral

This is violating all kinds of HIPAA laws

Was thinking the same thing...ehh who needs privacy laws anyway!

“I can’t do a good deed without putting it on the Internet!”

You 100% percent think she deserves to be fired? I understand that these laws need to exist to protect people, but isn't this obviously one of those instances where someone can be punished under the law, but doesn't deserve to be?

I hope so. She 100% deserves to be fired although I 100% love what she did and 100% think every nurse should care like she does. Unfortunately so many people think social media is appropriate for every damned thought and picture they take. This will be a rough lesson for her.


If you go through her feed. She's done something similar before and gave no fucks. Dementia or not, I'm pretty sure it's organization policy NOT to do this regardless of personal consent.

I lost my grandfather to Pick's Disease when I was 5 or 6. He was sick for 6 years. For the last half of it, he couldn't speak, control his bowel movements, or eat. He would only sit in his rocking chair all day. I miss him terribly even though I don't have a single memory of him before he was sick.

I think you made a difficult, but good choice. I've known many families that have also been in your situation. As much as you want to keep family within the home, sometimes it just isn't feasible, which is why long-term care exists. I would definitely encourage you and your children to continue maintaining a relationship with him. I've found that music and pictures are good, low-stress activities, preferably in the morning or early afternoon, because of sundowning.

I wish you and your family a happy new year. I know it's hard now, but things will get easier. :)

her response has been saying "i know what i'm doing lol" and when someone more knowledgable explained it, she said "you could have DM'd me. you are blocked along with everyone else negative." she isn't interested in doing the right thing and is mad about being publicly criticized even though the criticism has been nothing but polite. she just wants compliments and to spread "positivity" aka retweets.

This. I also used to think it was cruel. But my grandmother has always been a nasty and ungrateful bitch. She was abusive both physically and mentally to my mother when she was younger. And now that she has dementia she can't hold back how awful she is. She can't communicate or walk, she's not the person she used to be and is more work than my mother can put in. My mum finally has left her in the home and won't see her for her own mental health. I'm really proud of my mum for that decision.

Cool photo but she's probably about to be fired for a HIPPA violation

I think people don't realize that nurses do a lot of the work in hospitals and care homes, dare I say more than doctors. Not saying that doctors aren't important but its nurses that are the ones seeing patients, taking blood, doing xrays/ultrasounds/ecgs, changing bedpans and the like, checking the monitors to make sure the patient isn't dying, administering medications, etc, etc.

The doctors interpret tests, treat, and do surgery, but around the hospitals and care homes it's nirses doing most of the work.

taking pics with my clients is the best. <3

especially when i put snapchat filters on them, they’re so entertained. and cute.

Even if she was this is still a nice thing to do.