I find it useful to think of each of the 12 links of the DO as Processes, rather than as factors. This slight twist enables a view in which each link can be easily seen as conditioned, subject to arising, change and passing away… inherently Empty of any permanent essence or Self.
Seen in this way, the Sankhara process of the second link of DO (which occurs in the first life of the 3 life interpretation) can be seen IMO, to be the same kind of process as the Sankhara process of the 5 aggregates (compatible with the single life/ multiple mind moments interpretation).
Consider, for example the case of Uddaka Ramaputa. All his life, he practiced a meditation which
This teaching doesn’t lead to disillusionment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, awakening, and extinguishment. It only leads as far as rebirth in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.
Now, having been reborn in the dimension of neither perception nor non perception, for that being formerly known as Uddaka Ramaputa, the processes of Sankhara and Vinnana are quiescent. But the process of Ignorance has not ceased.(perhaps it might be more accurate to say that the Process of wisdom has not begun?)
But even for those who assert thus, there is alteration; there is change.
At some point in the future, it can be expected that that being will have a thought. With the process of Sankhara re-establishing itself, the process of Vinnana will again become active. That being will then fall away from that dimension of neither perception nor non perception and be reborn as a being in a dimension where the process of Nama Rupa will be restarted… Suffering will continue as per the DO.