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The science of immortality: have we gone too far?

During August's GC Skeptics in the Pub, Associate Professor Magnolia Cardona talked about death and dying, and that dying, at some point, is actually OK (believe it or not).

This seems at odds with modern medicine and science, where it seems that all discoveries are geared towards keeping us alive. But research tells us that dying is usually a journey - being prepared for the journey is what makes it more bearable.

Many of us find discussing death and dying uncomfortable - but having the discussion of what your preferences are if you find yourself starting the dying journey is important at any age.

Why is it important you ask? Imagine your loved one is dying, and you have to make all the decisions. Do you take them home to die peacefully or try everything medicine has to offer to keep them alive, even if it may not work? What would your loved one have wanted? How are you possibly able to represent their wishes in such a difficult time if you haven't had the discussion...

Starting the conversation is difficult - A/Prof Cardona suggests bringing up your preferences during an advertisement or show where somebody dies, it may be as simple as "would you want all that if you were in the same position?"

She also highly recommends getting things on paper - in Queensland this can be done through the Advanced Care Directive.

The directive states your wishes or directions regarding your future health care for medical conditions when you are unable to speak for yourself. The choices documented will inform your nominated Attorney/Substitute Decision Maker as to want you want.

And no, you don't have to be dying or "elderly" to complete one - you can do this at any age, and it can be updated as your preferences changes.

Listen to Magnolia's talk: click here

Slides: click here


About the speaker

Associate Professor Magnolia Cardona

Associate Professor of Health Systems Research and Translation, Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare (IEBH), Bond University

Associate Professor Magnolia Cardona works at the Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare Bond University and is affiliated with the Gold Coast University Hospital.

She is a health services researcher with a passion for ensuring high quality care of disadvantaged populations. Her work over the past few years has focused on the identification and reduction of over-treatment of older patients near the end of life.

Since 2014 she has led a program of research to improve end-of-life care for patients, families and health professionals. Her goal is to minimise unnecessary suffering, reduce false hope and align the delivery of health services with the patient's values and needs.

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