Overview of The Patient and Family Advisory Council

A Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) partners patients and their families with members of the healthcare team to provide guidance on how to improve the patient and family experience, creating a patient and family centered care culture at Northern Nevada Medical Center. As part of this PFAC process, patients and families are invited to serve on hospital committees to ensure that the consumer's point of view, perspective, and experience are not only heard, but also integrated into the service and quality improvements that are engineered to ensure high-quality, customer-centered care. Through the PFAC's unique perspectives, they give input on issues that impact care, ensuring that the next patient or family member's journey is easier.

Benefits of a Patient and Family Advisory Council

For Physicians

  • Patient and family centered care is considered center stage by the Institute of Medicine's "quality chasm report" as one of six key elements of high-quality care (http://www.annfammed.org/content/9/2/100.short).
  • Improves quality and safety.
  • Partners customers with physicians who can streamline processes and maximize experiences for better customer and physician satisfaction.
  • Increased patient self-management, decreasing length of stay, and readmissions.
  • Evidenced based practice (http://www.annfammed.org/content/9/2/100.short)
  • As NNMC grows in Sparks/Reno area, strengthens community relations allowing for customer-focused needs-based development.
  • Proactive realignment in the face of individual physician Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems from Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services.
  • Physicians are a key stakeholder of the healthcare experience and when redesigning processes for greater customer satisfaction, key stakeholder representation needs to be present for comprehensive improvement.
  • Increase physician satisfaction by focusing on what matters most to patients.

For Healthcare Organizations

  • Provide an effective mechanism for receiving and responding to consumer input.
  • Provides real-time and ongoing feedback into organizational initiatives.
  • Result in more efficient planning to ensure that services meet consumer needs.
  • Lead to increased cooperation between patients, families and staff.
  • Promote respectful, effective partnerships between patients, families and clinicians.
  • Transform the culture toward patient-centered care.
  • Develop programs and policies that are relevant to patients' and families' needs.
  • Strengthen community relations.
  • Recognize that collaboration with their providers through patient-centered care leads to better self-management of chronic conditions and improved adherence to medication regimens.
  • Decrease hospital length of stays, increase efficient utilization of resources and reduce litigation risk.

For Patients and Families

  • Gain a better understanding of the healthcare system.
  • Appreciate being listened to and having their opinions valued.
  • Become advocates for the patient and family-centered healthcare in their community.
  • Understand how to become an active participant in their own healthcare.
  • Develop close relationships with other members of the council.
  • Provide an opportunity to learn new skills (facilitating groups, listening skills, telling their story, etc.).

Patient and Family-Centered Care Guiding Principles:

  • Dignity and Respect. Healthcare practitioners listen to and honor patient and family perspectives and choices. Patient and family knowledge, values, beliefs and cultural backgrounds are incorporated into the planning and delivery of care.
  • Information Sharing. Healthcare practitioners communicate and share complete and unbiased information with patients and families in ways that are affirming and useful. Patients and families receive timely, complete and accurate information in order to effectively participate in care and decision-making.
  • Participation. Patients and families are encouraged and supported in participating in care and decision-making at the level they chose.
  • Collaboration. Patients, families, healthcare practitioners, and health care leaders collaborate in policy and program development, implementation and evaluation; in facility design; and in professional education, as well as in the delivery of care.


  • Patient and Family Advisory Council Members
    • Opportunities could include but are not limited to:
      • Develop patient and family education and communication materials.
      • Generate new program ideas to benefit patients, family members and caregivers.
      • Enhance ongoing collaboration and cooperation among clinicians, patients and families.
      • Participate in the development and planning of patient and family satisfaction initiatives, new facilities and facility renovation.
      • Promote awareness of opportunities and key resources that will help patients and family members navigate through the system.
        • Time commitment:
          • Monthly meetings for two hours. Could include additional responsibilities such as participation in hospital committee meetings, PFAC task group meetings or research.

Qualities Necessary for Council Members

  • Ability to share insights and information in ways that others can learn.
  • See beyond own personal experiences.
  • Shows concern for more than one issue or agenda.
  • Demonstrates good listening skills.
  • Respects the perspective of others.
  • Speaks honestly, comfortably in a group.
  • Interacts well with many different types of people.
  • Works in partnership with others.
  • Ability to share stories in a meaningful way.

Requirements Necessary for Council Members

  • All council members will be considered volunteers for the hospital and will undergo the same process for onboarding which includes a background check, necessary immunizations and orientation.

How Do You Become a Member?

  • The membership process begins with an application to the PFAC.
  • Prospective candidates will be interviewed by Council members of the PFAC.
  • Candidates need to have been former patients and family members of patients at Northern Nevada Medical Center.
  • Attend a monthly meeting.
  • Sign a PFAC statement of confidentiality.

For questions or additional information, please call Nursing Administration at 775-356-4880.