Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 12-18-2020

Submission Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program


School of Nursing

Faculty Mentor

Catherine Johnson


Unclaimed decedent, next of kin, coroner, potters field, indigent, medical examiner, driver's license next of kin



In Pennsylvania, there has been a rise in unclaimed decedents within Third-Class and Fifth-Class county coroner offices. Decreasing the number of unclaimed decedents in Third-Class and Fifth-Class Pennsylvania coroners offices is the goal for this healthcare policy analysis project. Using the Bardach’s eight step policy analysis problem solving technique, the data and the project outcomes will be presented to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). Data collection began with a questionnaire sent to all 67 counties to determine who had access to the Pennsylvania driver’s license database entitled Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET). Fourteen of 67 counties have partial access and use the JNET database. In Third-Class counties, only three out of twelve have partial access and in Fifth-Class counties only one out of seven have partial access. Third-Class and Fifth-Class Pennsylvania counties were also asked and responded with their total number of unclaimed decedents from 2015-2019. Descriptive bar graphs and pie charts were used to visually demonstrate data outcomes. The data collected did support the need for a healthcare policy analysis project regarding next of kin notification becoming more visible on PennDOT’s driver’s license and identification card application and renewal process web pages. Success of this project is determinant on PennDOT’s decision based upon project data.