Check these resources for infection control

o American Health Consultants' infection control resource library includes newsletters such as Hospital Infection Control and TB Monitor, as well as sourcebooks and compilations such as its comprehensive 1998 Infection Control Manual, which sells for $349. This 400-page manual brings together sample policies and forms with numerous articles on subjects such as emerging pathogens and the growing scourge of drug-resistant microbes, as well as lengthy discussions of needle safety, HIV, and tuberculosis.

For information, contact AHC at (800) 688-2421 or at its Web site, www.ahcpub.com.

o The St. Helena, CA-based National Hospice Organization Insurance Agency's (NHOIA) director of occupational health risks, Deborah Lage, RN, MS, COHN-S, CHSP, is a resource on issues such as bloodborne pathogens and infection control, safety needles, and how to develop an in-house safety committee.

Contact her at (888) 363-8225. NHOIA also has information on other safety resources, including patient care booklets published by Channing L. Bete Co., and videos produced by Coastal Health Training of Virginia Beach, VA. Contact NHOIA at (800) 653-5097 or call Coastal at (800) 729-4325.

o The Association for Professionals in Infection Control (APIC), a national organization with over 12,000 members, publishes the American Journal of Infection Control, two newsletters, and numerous brochures. APIC, which has played a lead role in questioning OSHA's proposed tuberculosis standards, also has a home care membership section. Its handbook of infection control is available on CD-ROM. Contact APIC at 1016 16th St. NW, 6th Fl., Washington, DC 20036. Telephone: (202) 296-2742. Fax (202) 296-5645; or www.apic.org.

o The Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI) in Plymouth Meeting, PA, publishes a monthly journal called Health Devices, evaluates safety needles and other medical devices, and offers ratings and other guidance on how to choose products. A new ECRI report on blood collection devices will be published this year. Call (610) 825-6000 to reach project officer Robyn Lit or ask for the circulation department to purchase published materials.

o The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are both key sources of information, with numerous publications and Web sites. CDC's "Guidelines for infection control in health care personnel" was published in draft form in the Sept. 8, 1997, Federal Register, and will soon be available on CDC's Web site (www.cdcnac.gov).

The Atlanta-based CDC also offers a 24-hour National Clinicians' Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Hotline at (888) 448-4911, offering information to health care workers exposed to HIV. Model Exposure Control Plan for Home Care: A Guide for Hospice/Home Agencies on the Bloodborne Pathogens Standards was issued by OSHA in 1994 and is available on its Web site (www.osha-slc.gov), along with numerous other booklets, posters, and other resources.

o A recent issue of the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care has an article outlining a practical approach to meeting infection control regulations, written by Katherine West, BSN, MEd, CIC, an infection control consultant to Hospice of Northern Virginia in Falls Church.

West recommends developing a comprehensive exposure control program based on determination of actual exposure risk. Such a comprehensive plan would also cover education and training, hepatitis B vaccinations, personal protective equipment, postexposure medical management, and compliance monitoring. Source: West K. Personal, protective and cost-effective infection control: An overview for hospice facilities. Am J of Hospice and Palliative Care 1998; May/June:159-162.

o For Internet information on Rep. Pete Stark's Health Care Worker Protection Act, go to: www.house.gov/stark/needlestick.html.

o Finally, experts recommend that hospice professionals not forget about hand washing, which has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to decrease the spread of infection. See: APIC guideline for hand-washing and hand antisepsis in health care settings. Am J Infect Control 1995; 23:251-269.