# Supporting Perinatal Palliative Care Professionals’ Vicarious Resilience

Perinatal palliative care is a specialized field of medicine that provides compassionate and holistic care for families who are facing a life-limiting diagnosis or condition in their unborn or newborn child. It is a challenging and rewarding profession that requires a high level of skill, empathy, and resilience from the healthcare providers who practice it.

However, perinatal palliative care professionals are also exposed to high levels of stress, grief, and moral distress, which can negatively affect their well-being, performance, and retention. Therefore, it is essential to foster vicarious resilience among these professionals, which is the ability to grow and thrive from witnessing the strength and coping of others who have experienced trauma or adversity.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the factors that can enhance or hinder vicarious resilience in perinatal palliative care professionals, and some of the strategies that can be implemented to support them.

## Factors that Enhance Vicarious Resilience

According to a scoping review by Grauerholz et al. (2020), some of the factors that can enhance vicarious resilience in perinatal palliative care professionals are:

– **Authentic formal and informal debriefing**: Debriefing is a process of reflecting on and learning from one’s experiences, emotions, and reactions in a safe and supportive environment. It can help perinatal palliative care professionals to process their grief, cope with moral distress, share best practices, and receive feedback and validation from their peers and supervisors. Debriefing can be formal or informal, individual or group-based, structured or unstructured, depending on the needs and preferences of the participants.
– **Peer mentoring**: Peer mentoring is a relationship between two or more colleagues who share similar experiences, challenges, and goals. It can provide perinatal palliative care professionals with emotional support, guidance, advice, role modeling, and mutual learning. Peer mentoring can also foster a sense of belonging, camaraderie, and trust among perinatal palliative care professionals.
– **Adequate caseloads**: Caseloads refer to the number and complexity of cases that perinatal palliative care professionals are responsible for. Adequate caseloads are those that are manageable, balanced, and realistic, taking into account the time, resources, and emotional demands of each case. Adequate caseloads can help perinatal palliative care professionals to avoid burnout, compassion fatigue, and secondary traumatic stress, and to maintain their quality of care and professional satisfaction.
– **Robust provider self-care practices**: Self-care is the act of taking care of one’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It can include activities such as exercise, nutrition, sleep, relaxation, hobbies, socializing, spirituality, and seeking professional help when needed. Robust provider self-care practices are those that are consistent, intentional, and tailored to one’s needs and preferences. They can help perinatal palliative care professionals to cope with stress, prevent burnout,

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