Resident from a healthcare center in Ridgeway tests positive for waterborne pathogen

Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 9:57 PM EST
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RIDGEWAY, S.C. (WIS) - A resident testing positive for a waterborne pathogen at a nursing home reportedly has nurses and residents unable to use the water.

“They have been bringing jugs of water, bags of ice. We have not been able to properly wash our patients,” said one nurse who did not wish to be identified.

Some nurses at Ridgeway Manor Healthcare say this has been going on for about a week now. WIS learned today from the Regional Director of Operations that staff nor patients can use the water because a resident tested positive for a waterborne pathogen.

“They’re not talking to us and letting us know why we can’t wash our patients and why we can’t wash our hands. We’re not even able to wash our hands, and that goes against infection control,” said an anonymous employee.

The nurse says staff can only use hand sanitizer after visiting each patient. She also tells WIS they’ve been having to find alternative ways to wash their patients.

“So, a lot of the CNAs have been using wipes and warming them up in the microwave. Some people have been using jugs and warming them up in the microwave,” she said.

And some nurses say they haven’t been washing the patients at all.

“No, no,” said another nurse who also wished to remain anonymous.

The nurse says she found out they could no longer use the water after she had already distributed ice water to the patients in her hall.

The unidentified nurse says, “I came in, and we were distributing water to the patients, and in less than 25, 30 minutes within the shift, they were like, okay we need you guys to take the cups out of the rooms, they cannot use this water.”

The regional director of operations at the home says the water stoppage is out of an abundance of caution, and as of right now, he says there’s no link between the resident testing positive and the water at the facility.

We’re told the home pulls its water from a well.

WIS, today was able to uncover some other issues at the facility. The severity from the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid was an F to a D. They have been hit with over 16 thousand dollars in fines, had 3 infection-related deficiencies, and 19 total deficiencies. An F shows no actual harm, but the potential for more than minimal harm that doesn’t pose immediate jeopardy. Deficiency is widespread. While a D shows no actual harm, the potential for more than minimal harm doesn’t pose immediate jeopardy. Deficiency is isolated.

“I want us to be aware of what’s going on, and I want our patients to be treated properly. The way they should. They shouldn’t have to suffer anymore,” said the unidentified nurse.

DHEC says they’re working to provide clean water to residents and investigating the denial of access to water violates state and federal health and safety regulations. The agency also confirms they’re investigating a case of Legionnaires’ Disease at the facility.

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