ST. PAUL — Minnesota is making changes to allow long term care facility residents to have visitors.

A resident can have a designated an essential caregiver. The caregiver can be a family member, friend, or outside provider. Residents can also request more than one caregiver.

Caregivers will have to sign in and be screened before entering the facility.

State Ombudsman for Long-Term Care at Minnesota Board on Aging Cheryl Hennen says the limited interaction has been bad for their patients.

"In our medical opinion, this person is continuing to experience significant decline because they are not with their loved one," she said, recounting a call from a long term care facility.

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The deadline for facilities to meet these new guidelines is July 25. Eventide in Moorhead believes they will be ready for visitors much sooner.