Patient and family engagement at St. Michael’s

Patient and Family Advisors (PFAs)

You sometimes notice things we don’t. Patients, families and caregivers are often the most knowledgeable members of the care team and can offer unique perspectives and valuable feedback regarding their experience with the care they receive.

At St. Michael’s, our goal is to put patients at the centre of everything we do through inclusion, transparency, open dialogue and respect. By working collaboratively with patients, families and caregivers, we learn from their broad range of lived experiences navigating the health system and seek their input in designing and delivering care and services.

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Who are PFAs?

As volunteers, Patient and Family Advisors (PFAs) are former patients or family members and caregivers of patients who provide important perspectives and represent the diverse views of the people and the broader communities we serve. They participate in ways that best match their experiences or interests and have a direct impact on a wide range of hospital initiatives, programs, projects, services and policies.

St Michael’s is committed to our PFAs reflecting the diversity of the communities we serve. As such, we encourage applications from persons with disabilities, racialized persons, First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, and others who may contribute to the diversity of our patient/client population.

How do PFAs make a difference?

Our PFAs work with our teams across the hospital on projects and committees, ranging from organization-wide to unit-specific. Examples include:

  • Supporting staff and student education through storytelling at meetings and/or events
  • Becoming contributing members of Patient and Family Advisory Councils
  • Co-creating and reviewing educational and informational patient materials
  • Advocating for the patient perspective on hospital committees (e.g. quality and safety).
  • Participating in surveys or focus groups to bring the patient, family and caregiver perspective to program and policy design and development
  • Collaborating with the hospital and clinics on quality improvement initiatives
  • Supporting the Accreditation process of the hospital
  • Participating in the hiring of managers, directors, physician chiefs and research chairs

PFA opportunities

PFAs can be part of the following groups, based on interests and availability:

  • Patient Family Advisory Council (PFAC) – The St. Michael’s PFAC is chaired by PFAs and plays a role in the development of corporate-level policies, procedures and processes. Membership is limited.
  • Program-level Patient Family Advisory Councils – Program-level PFACs are associated with program areas or specific patient populations (e.g. heart and vascular, specialized complex care, family heath team, etc.). Membership is limited.
  • Project work – PFAs can join committees and working groups to help bring the voices of patients, families and caregivers to the table in discussions related to delivery of care and other hospital-related activities.