The Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) – Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant (HNHB) Regional Cancer Program implemented an approach to advance patient engagement by partnering with patient and family advisors to create a Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC).

In 2010, Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) began to foster a culture of person-centred care (PCC) and create awareness among Ontario cancer centres, about the importance of partnering with patients and their families to drive excellence in healthcare. Following the direction of CCO, the HHS – HNHB Regional Cancer Program completed an environmental scan to learn more about the role of patient advisors, and gain insight into best practices in the development of a PFAC, which led to the formation of a PFAC in 2013. The PFAC is an advisory body to the Cancer Program on matters critical to patients, family members and caregivers. Members advise the cancer program on current and future programs and initiatives in order to advance PCC and strive to improve the overall patient experience.

Engagement with advisors, through consultation, involvement, partnership and shared leadership has promoted a cultural shift towards a model of PCC within the Cancer Program. Over the past 6 years through strong commitment of PFAC members, sustainability has been demonstrated with valuable lessons learned and positive patient experience outcomes.

This submission will outline how advisors are engaged in the planning, development, implementation and evaluation of many strategic programs and practices that influence patient care and services of the HHS-HNHB Regional Cancer Program. 

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