NHH wants your voice on its PFAC

By Cecilia Nasmith

Northumberland Hills Hospital is putting out the call for vacancies on its Patient and Family Advisory Committee, open to anyone over the age of 18 who has been (or has a family member who has been) a patient within the last three years.

The PFAC was established at NHH in December 2016 following an open call for interest. Now in its third year, the council is represented in all core patient-care areas, providing valued input to staff, managers, physicians and board members on a variety of hospital activities, projects and program-focused quality committees.

“The PFAC is one way we are working together with patients and caregivers to continuously enhance the quality of care we can provide,” hospital president and chief executive officer Linda Davis said.

“We’re grateful to the generous volunteers who have stepped forward to share their experience and their wisdom in this capacity. From advice and support with real-time patient experience surveys to co-developing a new patient-flow process within post-acute specialty services on our first floor, their impact has been significant and continues to expand.”

Specific opportunities currently exist for Patient and Family Advisors with experience in and an interest in enhancing care in two key areas at NHH: in surgical services and in maternal/child care (where two specific opportunities await – on a regional Baby Friendly initiative and on maternal-child care services within the hospital). Candidates with direct experience – either as a patient and/or as a family member or care giver of a patient who received care in these areas at NHH – are invited to consider applying.

The successful maternal/child care candidate who works on the Baby Friendly initiative will help support the development of Ontario's inter-organizational Baby Friendly Initiative Strategy, a project aimed at enhancing breastfeeding across Ontario. When fully implemented, the strategy will provide hospitals and community health organizations with training, tools, guidance and educational resources to help achieve the World Health Organization's Baby Friendly Initiative designation and adopt best practices that meet BFI requirements. Local women with breastfeeding experience (positive or negative) or local women expecting a baby in the near future (who have an interest in breastfeeding) are invited to consider applying to be part of the development of this initiative at NHH.

The successful candidate for the maternal/child care services within NHH will join the Maternal/Child Quality and Practice Committee. Acting in an advisory to the Maternal/Child Program Director and Medical Director, this committee actively oversees and provides advice and guidance regarding the planning, organization, care delivery and evaluation of the NHH maternal/child care program.

The successful surgical-services candidate will join the Surgical Services Quality and Practice Committee. Acting in advisory capacity to the Surgical Services Program Director and Medical Director, the committee actively oversees and provides advice and guidance regarding the planning, organization, care delivery and evaluation of the NHH surgical program.

Interest from prospective patient and family advisors with experience in other areas of the hospital's services beyond these specific openings will also be considered for future opportunities and special projects.

PFAC members serve terms for a minimum of one and a maximum of three years. The council has quarterly meetings lasting two hours each and, in addition, advisors are also expected to participate (as experience and interest direct) on meetings related to the specific committees and/or projects to which they are assigned – meetings range from six to 10 times a year, and often require additional background reading.

West Northumberland residents with an interest in volunteering for the PFAC can review the Terms of Reference and Role Description and complete the NHH Patient and Advisory Council – Expression of Interest Forms available on the Patient and Family Advisory Council page under the Patients tab of the hospital website at

The Expression of Interest form and other background information are also available in print form by calling the hospital's public-affairs office at 905-377-7757.

Completed Expression of Interest forms are requested by May 24 in order to be eligible for the current opportunities in the two NHH departments.

For more information, contact senior director of public affairs and strategic partnerships Jennifer Gillard at 905-377-7757 or