Patient and Family Advisory Council

SAH Patient and Family Advisors



Sault Area Hospital demonstrates a commitment to enhance our patient-centred approach to the way we deliver care by recognizing patients as experts in their own care needs and focusing on them, not the providers.  This is reflected in our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan by a commitment to a Patient and Family First Culture, whereby patient and family advisors are involved in key decisions in the organization, ensuring that patients and their families have timely access to information and can have their questions answered.  SAH commits to see patients and their families as part of the health care team.

The implementation of Patient and Family Advisory Councils has contributed to high quality patient outcomes by listening to the voice of the patient.  Hearing the patient voice is at the heart of an exciting shift within health care.  By working together, better health care outcomes, wiser allocations of resources and greater patient and family satisfaction will be achieved.

The Executive Committee and leaders across Sault Area Hospital reinforce this belief and have partnered with patients and family members on our councils.  This presents patient and family members with the unique opportunity of working hand in hand with key decision makers within the hospital to ensure the best possible care is delivered to the patients and families of Sault Ste. Marie and the Algoma District.

The Sault Area Hospital currently has 28 patient and family advisors working in various capacities throughout the hospital. To learn more about each council and our advisors select the council link for the menu on the left.

PFAC Mission Statement:

Patient and Family Advisors at Sault Area Hospital work in partnership with staff, physicians and volunteers, to ensure the voice of the patient and their families is the foundation of high quality service that is compassionate and patient and family centred

PFAC Priorities

  1. Patients and their families are an integral part of the health care team

  2. Effective mechanisms for knowledge transfer and the flow of information between patients and their care providers are in place


What is the role of a Patient and Family Advisor?

Patient and Family advisors are individuals who have received care or are the family members/loved ones of patients who have received care at Sault Area Hospital who are part of a formal council, committee or working group.

They work alongside health care providers and decision makers to share their experiences and insights in order to ensure the voice of the patient and family is brought into the decision making process.

For more information, please refer to The Role of a Patient and Family Advisor.

What is a Patient and Family Advisory Council?

Patient and Family Advisory Councils are known to play a contributing role in helping hospitals to become more patient and family-centred. Councils serve as a regular meeting forum for patients and families to partner with hospital staff members and leaders to shape decisions and influence change. Patient and Family Advisors share their unique experiences, tell their stories and use their informed perspectives to advise on initiatives and decisions throughout the hospital.  This ultimately impacts the delivery of health care and the quality of the experience for the next patient or family member.

Patient and Family Advisors might sit on the monthly council and/or be involved in any number of diverse activities across the organization. A sample of these activities can be found below.

For more information, please refer to the Patient and Family Advisory Council Handbook

How have Patient and Family Advisors been involved at Sault Area Hospital?

Patient and Family Advisors at Sault Area Hospital are kept busy! Below is a snap shot of some of the activities they have been involved in to date:

  • Participation in the selection process of 2015 Nursing Award Recipients
  • Participation in the selection process of 2015 iCcare and Hutchinson Award winners
  • Reduction in lab wait times within the cancer program
  • Creation of Patient Virtual Journey videos (see links below)
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  • Participation in the selection process of four new Board of Directors at Sault Area Hospital
  • Participation in the interview process of leadership positions
  • Participation in the development of a Follow-Up Clinic and Short Stay Clinic
  • Participation and input into the 2015 Accreditation Survey
  • Participation and input into the Quality Improvement Plan (QIP)
  • Participation in a stakeholder event featuring taste testing of new menu items for inpatients at Sault Area Hospital
  • Collaboration with Community Stakeholders to facilitate transitions from acute care settings to at home environments
  • Participation in LEAN projects

Testimonials for our Patient and Family Advisors include:

“The Strategic Plan seems to reflect all of the suggestions from the PFAC and everything looks great to me.  I think it’s very encouraging that administration is so receptive to suggestions from the PFAC.  It certainly makes me feel like the members can help contribute to making things ever better” – Family Advisor

“I enjoyed working with the various nursing representatives.  The accolades for their fellow workers were very pleasant to hear and I was made to feel welcome by everyone concerned.  It seemed that my opinions were heard and respected and I felt gratified that my choices weren't far off the mark.  I look forward to the awards ceremony so that I can put faces to the honorees” – Patient Advisor

"We participated in the meeting today, quite a long session at 8 hours, but a lot was accomplished.  I know when we started that the others didn’t exactly know what to make of us.  By the end of the meeting they all said that they really enjoyed having our input, to quote, “it grounded us, reminded us what the focus of the redesign is, namely the patients”.  They responded that they wouldn’t hold another meeting without us!” – Patient Advisor

Listen to Eric's Story: Listen to Claudette's Story:

How do you become a member of Patient and Family Advisor at Sault Area Hospital?

Before submitting your application form, the following are some things to think about to be sure that this is the right commitment for you:

  • You are able to objectively share your experiences and point of view, but be able to listen to and appreciate the views of others in a constructive and respectful manner
  • You are positive and supportive of Sault Area Hospital’s Vision, Mission and Core Values.
  • You have the time to prepare for and attend monthly meetings of the SAH-PFAC and ad-hoc meetings as required (approximately 3-4 hours per month).  The expected term for a Patient or Family Advisor is 2 years.

SAH is currently seeking Patient and Family Advisors!

Sault Area Hospital currently has a number of Patient and Family Advisors working throughout the hospital. We are continually accepting applications from patients and family members that are interested in becoming an advisor.

To be considered, please complete the application form which can be found on the tool bar to the left.

Following acceptance of your application, you will be contacted to participate in an interview.

Thank you for your interest in the Sault Area Hospital’s Patient and Family Advisory Council.

Additional questions or comments can be directed to:

Laura Tenhagen
Coordinator, Patient and Family Advisory Council
705-759-3434 ext. 6908