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MDH Releases Essential Caregiver Guidance

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) last week released new guidance that allows the designation of an Essential Caregiver for residents of nursing homes and assisted living. This guidance represents the next interim step in encouraging safe and responsible visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Sites electing to implement an Essential Caregiver program have until July 25 to draft policies and prepare for implementation. You do not need to wait until then to start your program, if the necessary policies and arrangements are in place before that date. 

While we continue to advocate for a policy that requires full funding of a comprehensive testing strategy within senior living, we also know that reconnecting our seniors with their essential caregivers is an important part of preserving their physical and mental health. We believe that the Essential Caregiver designation is a tool you can choose to use to help alleviate the negative consequences due to the social isolation required to keep people safe from COVID-19. 

Please see these statements from MDH and the Long-Term Care Imperative (which is composed of LeadingAge Minnesota and Care Providers of Minnesota) regarding the new designation.

As you consider taking this next step, we’re here to help. We will be releasing tools and resources to help you design and implement this program, including messaging, a checklist, a sample policy and protocols.

Because this guidance is new, we’d like to hear your questions and feedback, so we can work with MDH on answers and improvements. Contact Kari Everson at keverson@leadingagemn.org or 651-380-2032

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