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Patient and Family Advisory Position Guide

Volunteers Transform Lives

Volunteer Resources Mission

To provide meaningful volunteer opportunities that directly contributes to creating an environment where the best experiences happen.

Overview of the Patient and Family Advisory Program

The Patient and Family Advisory Program (PFAP) is the overall program encompassing all Patient and Family Advisors and Patient and Family Advisory Councils.

The purpose is to serve as the voice of patients and family members to partner with Southlake’s Interprofessional team to advise and support the strategic directions of Southlake in matters that relate to the patient and create an environment where the best experiences happen.

A Patient and Family Advisor (PFA) is a volunteer who provides advice from the perspective of the patient, family, caregiver or chosen support person in matters that relate to the patient and create an environment where the best experiences happen.

A Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) is a council of people made up of both PFAs and Southlake staff who partner to advise and support the strategic directions of Southlake in matters that relate to the patient and create an environment where the best experiences happen at the corporate and clinical levels.

Patient and Family Advisory Pool is a group of PFAs that are not active members of a PFAC.  The PFA Pool provides PFAs with the opportunity to select “calls for participation” that best meet their availability.  The PFA may be able to participate remotely (e.g. review of patient educational material or policies). A few examples of “calls for participation” are: Southlake committees, special projects, initiatives, workshops, patient educational material reviews, policy and procedure reviews, ministry requests, etc.

Purpose of Position

A Patient and Family Advisor is a volunteer who provides advice from the perspective of the patient, family, caregiver or chosen support person in matters that relate to the patient and create an environment where the best experiences happen.

In support of Southlake’s commitment to creating an environment where the best experiences happen, the role of Patient Family Advisors (PFAs) is to join a council, committee, working group or special project and work in partnership with staff and physicians as discussions, plans, and decisions are being made about the delivery of healthcare services at Southlake.

Key Responsibilities

  • Provides advice from the perspective of the patient, family, caregiver, or chosen support person in matters that relate to the patient and create an environment where the best experiences happen
  • Advise council/committee chair or working group lead person if unable to attend/participate at any scheduled meetings or related activities

Qualifications Required

  • Been a patient or family member/caregiver or chosen support person of a patient who received care at Southlake in the past five years is preferred. Applicants are considered on an individual basis
  • Good listening and communication skills, respectful of the opinions of others
  • Comfortable speaking in a group and interacting with others
  • Able to effectively share thoughts and opinions
  • Open to seeing beyond their own personal experience
  • Comes prepared to actively participate in the meetings and/or activities as outlined on the agenda

Benefits to Volunteer

  • Help educate and engage patients in their own care
  • Help move healthcare from provider-driven to patient-centered
  • Help build an Interprofessional model of care and enhance communication
  • Help provide an environment where the best experiences happen for staff, patients and families
  • Bring the voice and view of the patient and family member to everything that involves them
  • Contribute directly to creating an environment where the best experiences happen

Points to remember:

  • Perform the volunteer duties to the best of your ability and do not go beyond the responsibilities outlined above
  • Adhere to volunteer policies and procedures as outlined in the Volunteer Handbook, and the RTS Resource Manual
  • Adhere to a high degree of reliability, punctuality and service

Your opportunities for volunteering as a Patient and Family Advisor

You can be part of one or two of the following groups based on interests and needs.

Corporate Patient Family Advisory Council (Corp. PFAC)

The Corp. PFAC is chaired by PFAs and reports directly to the Patient Experience Committee. It plays a pivotal role in the development of corporate-level policies, procedures, and processes. As well members oversee the activities of program-level PFACs and PFAs assigned to committees and/or working groups.

Program-level Patient Family Advisory Councils (PFAC)

The Program-level PFACs are chaired by PFAs and are associated with Southlake’s major program areas (e.g., Cardiac, Cancer, Emergency, etc.). These PFACs play a role in the development of program-level procedures, processes, and decisions affecting the delivery of care to a specific patient population.

Working Groups/Committees

PFAs have the opportunity to join various committees and working groups to ensure the voice of the patient is considered when plans and decisions affecting the delivery of care and/or other hospital-related activities are being discussed. Every effort is made to ensure that no less than two PFAs are assigned to working groups and committees that elect to have PFAs included.

Frequently Asked Questions

That’s fantastic news! Click on the Apply Now button below and complete the PFA Volunteer Application Form.

  • Has been a patient or family member/caregiver or chosen support person of a patient who received care at Southlake in the past five years
  • Open to seeing beyond your own personal experience
  • Able to effectively share your thoughts and opinions
  • Able to maintain respectful communication and interactions with others at all times 
  • Be prepared to actively participate
  • Good listener
  • Comfortable speaking in a group

A Patient and Family Advisor (PFA) is a volunteer who provides advice from the perspective of the patient, family, caregiver or chosen support person in matters that relate to the patient. They work in partnership as advisors with hospital staff when discussions, plans, and decisions are being made about the delivery of healthcare services. This is accomplished by participating on:

  • Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFACs)
  • Hospital committees
  • Special projects or initiatives
  • Workshops
  • Patient education material or policy review teams

At Southlake, we believe that the patient’s perspective is key in our ability to deliver exceptional healthcare services. Your input and experience will help create an environment where the best experiences happen for staff, patients and families.