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Patient and family engagement at St. Michael’s

St. Michael’s Patient and Family Councils (PFC)

Patient and Family Councils are known to play a contributing role in helping hospitals become more patient- and family-centred. Councils serve as regular meeting forums for patients, family members and caregivers to partner with hospital staff members and leaders to shape decisions and influence change. Our PFCs meets monthly for two hours and is made up of former patients and family members of patients who have received care at St. Michael’s. Members of the council serve a two-year term and have had experiences in our medicine, emergency, surgery, oncology, mental health and critical care programs.

The following are just some examples of projects the council has partnered on:

  • Advising on the Unity Health Toronto:
    • Mission & Values
    • Patient Care Charter
    • Strategic Plan
  • Revising the Patient Relations concerns process
  • Online communication
    • Secure digital patient messaging
    • Consent and communications by email
  • MyChart patient portal
  • Updating the Patient Information Guide
  • Emergency Department and Medical Imaging wayfinding

Program-level Patient Family Advisory Councils (PFACs)

Family Health Team

The Family Health Team PFAC is a forum to engage and partner with our patients/families to create the best possible patient and family experience in primary care. Through inclusion, transparency, open dialogue and respectful relationships, we work collaboratively to ensure the patient voice is central to our work. The council meets on the first Wednesday of each month for two hours and currently includes 11 patients and family members. The group is co-chaired by a patient and staff member. Membership terms are for two years, with the option of a one-year renewal.


  • To discuss organization specific items that relate to patient experience and engage in shared decision-making
  • To create patient-led opportunities to improve care experiences

Contact: Julia Lee, or 416-864-6060 ext. 77244

Heart and Vascular

The Heart and Vascular PFAC strives to ensure the highest quality of patient-centered care. The council meets every two months for two hours and is made up of patients and family members/caregivers of patients who have received care from the Heart and Vascular program within the past two years. 

The council works in partnership with St. Michael’s health-care providers to:

  • Draw on their direct experiences to provide recommendations in the development of heart and vascular programs, services and policies
  • Strengthen communication and collaboration between heart and vascular patients, families, caregivers and staff
  • Participate in or lead projects focused on improvements in the patient experience

Contact: Pat Daniels, or 416-864-5489


The Hemodialysis PFAC serves as a regular meeting forum for patients, family members and caregivers to partner with hospital staff members and leaders to shape decisions and influence change for the hemodialysis program. The council meets every two months for one hour and is made up of current patients, former patients and family members or caregivers of patients who are/were treated on this unit. 

The goals of this council are:

  • To promote patient advocacy among this unique chronic illness patient group to speak up about issues surrounding their care and time in the hospital
  • To provide a safe space for council members to discuss and bring up any concerns identified by themselves or on behalf of peers on hemodialysis

Contact: Courtney Sas at or 416-864-6060 ext. 6768

Kidney Transplant

The Kidney Transplant PFAC provides an avenue for open dialogue and gives voice to transplant patients, kidney donors and families on how care is delivered in the kidney transplant program. The PFAC meets monthly for two hours and is made up of current patients and family members/caregivers of patients who have received care in our kidney transplant program. The membership term is for one year and renewal is reviewed annually.

The goals of this council are to:

  • Create a forum to discuss kidney transplant clinic initiatives, projects and program changes that relate to patient experience
  • Provide input on projects and initiatives which affect care and services for patients and families at the kidney transplant clinic

Contact: Lucy Chen or 416-864-6060 ext. 48059

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Parent Advisory Committee (PAC)

Supporting the small but mighty and the families who love them

The NICU PAC is made up of parents whose child or children have been patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Michael’s.

The goals of this council are to:

  • Assist St. Michael’s with the ongoing improvement and evolution of patient care and family experience in the NICU and to support current NICU families during their child's or children's stay

We perform two primary functions:

  1. Provide advice and feedback to staff regarding patient and family experiences in the NICU
  2. Provide support to current NICU families through communication and social engagement

Contact: Melissa Luongo at 416-864-6060 ext. 6616