VHA’S First PALLIES Day Engages Caregivers in Inner Resiliency

After great success with its annual Paediatric Interprofessional Education Symposium (PIES Day) over the last four years, VHA Home HealthCare (VHA) decided to spread the idea by hosting its first ever Palliative Interprofessional Education Symposium, also known as PALLIES Day.

“I’m thrilled that we are taking the success of the paediatric symposium to our well-deserved, spectacular palliative team,” shares Kathryn Nichol, Vice President Quality, Best Practice, Research and Education and Chief Nursing Executive at VHA.

This year’s PALLIES Day theme was Resiliency. External speakers, VHA clients, client partners and VHA’s interprofessional palliative team came together virtually to tune in.

“Interprofessional teams are how the best care is provided. For interprofessional teams to be their best and for care to be its best, each member must be clear on their own scope of practice and the critical role they play, but they must also be clear on the roles that other members of the team play in the circle of care,” says Kathryn.

 “Scopes of practice are interesting – and sometimes overlapping. These areas of overlap, along with shared outcomes of interest and shared challenges, are where interprofessional education opportunities come from. When we engage in interprofessional education – we learn with, from and about each other. This is where the magic happens and the result is better care outcomes and experiences for clients and families and a better work experience for staff and service providers.” 

Jo-Ann Ferreira
Jo-Ann Ferreira

Managing Stress and Building Resilience: Working well during a global pandemic

Keynote speaker Jo-Ann Ferreira, B.S.W., R.S.W. and M.Ed kicked off PALLIES Day by presenting the group with strategies to feel grounded and harness inner resiliency during times of uncertainty.

We are done with the surge of adrenaline that we had at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Jo-Ann.

“The brain is always under the illusion that it can predict the future well, so it’s busy planning and rehearsing for a future that we are uncertain about.”

Jo-Anne shared ways to help combat stress and anxiety and boost inner energy levels. Throughout her session, she led the group through meditative breathing and grounding exercises.

“We are designed to feel safe when we connect with one another,” she noted.

She also shared other methods to stay resilient and handle grief including finding solace through nature, protecting yourself, and how to and attend to your inner smoke alarm.

Even the Experts Burn Out: Burnout and Developing Resiliency

Amy Archer, Palliative Pain and Symptom Management Consultant in the Durham Region was the second guest speaker of the day. She shared her own story of burnout and offered personal learnings about how to move forward as palliative care professionals.

Her burnout journey began in 2018 after the sudden loss of a close friend. She continued to work and care for her four children for the remainder of the year, but in 2019, she began to notice and experience the impact of intense burnout brought on by personal life and work. 

“Even though we do this work every day, what we witness and what we navigate can illicit some challenging feelings, but there’s opportunity to grow from these lessons learned and I’m glad to be at that stage in my journey.” she shared.

Amy Archer
Amy Archer during her PALLIES presentation

Amy’s insights centred around the importance of self-awareness, the ability to calm down the nervous system, and understanding when you are at your limit mentally and emotionally. 


“Burnout is telling us that our old ways of relating are not working and we need to stop, rethink, and find a new way forward,” she says.