Patient and Family Advisory Council


About the Council

Mission: Northwestern Medical Center believes that patients and the families of patients have a unique and valuable perspective of the care provided by our facility and that meaningful efforts to improve quality depend on the insights of the population we serve. It is the goal of NMC to implement and practice the core principles of Patient-and Family-Centered Care as identified by the Institute for Patient-and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC):

  • Dignity and Respect. Health care 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. Health care 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 choose.
  • Collaboration. Patients, families, health care practitioners, and health care leaders collaborate in policy and program development, implementation, and evaluation; in facility design; in professional education; and in research; as well as in the delivery of care

Purpose: The purpose of Northwestern Medical Center’s Patient & Family Advisory Council is to foster an environment where patients, families, hospital staff and board work together to improve the quality and safety of care at NMC.

The Patient and Family Advisory Council works in active partnership with NMC’s Quality and Safety Committee to:

  • Strengthen communication and collaboration between patients and their families, providers, and hospital staff.
  • Share feedback on care from the perspective of patients and family.
  • Identify NMC’s strengths and opportunities for improvement.
  • Provide feedback on practices, policies and materials that support patient and family engagement.


Who are Patient Advisors? Patient Advisors are valued volunteers who contribute not only their time but also their insights and experiences to help bring a higher quality of safety and patient care to healthcare for all Vermonters. To become a Patient and Family Advisor at NMC, you must have been a patient or family member of a patient who has received care at our organization within the past three years.

Effective patient advisors are volunteers who:

  • Are interested in helping to improve the quality and safety of health services in Vermont
  • Understand the difference between being a patient advisor and a patient advocate and want to work as an advisor (a patient advisor is someone who seeks to inform a process, while an advocate seeks to ensure an outcome).
  • Can work effectively in partnership with healthcare providers.

Involving patients and families as partners will: 

  • Bring important perspectives about the experience of care. 
  • Teach how systems really work
  • Inspire and energize staff
  • Keep staff grounded in reality.
  • Provide timely feedback and ideas. 
  • Lessen the burden on staff to fix the problems… staff don’t have to have all the answers.