FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – While there’s no official word on what prompted the state of Texas to move residents out of the Lake Worth Nursing Home, Texas Nurses Association CEO Cindy Zolnierek told CBS 11 it likely meant they faced a degree of danger had they stayed.

“Generally states will intervene if there’s an immediate danger to the residents,” she explained. “So immediate risk of harm would require immediate intervention.”

Nursing homes do have trained nurses on staff, but Zolnierek said often times the facilities are not medically focused like hospitals, and they’re not used to seeing acute conditions like COVID-19 that can spread so easily.

“They may not have the supplies that they need, to the extent that they need, to protect themselves and their residents.”

According to Texas Health and Human Services, across the state there are more than 7,022 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among nursing home residents. It’s a job that’s about taking care of others, but Zolnierek says there are situations where the risk to a nurse is just too much.

“Nurses do have an ethical and legal and moral duty to care for others, however our code of ethics also says that we have an ethical duty to care for ourselves.”

Zolnierek sad it’s so important for nurses to raise any concerns they have up their chain of command and to remember that there are protections under Texas law for advocating for patient safety.

If you have a loved one in a long term care facility that you have concerns about, you can reach out directly to Health and Human Services. The number to call: 1-800-458-9858.

Agents answer calls Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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