Dr. Jan Cook, Bucks County Community College (BCCC), wrote the first literature review on these issues in the veteran community investigating the premise that a health crisis exists in veterans’ health care settings for veterans at the end of life and regarding their unclaimed remains. Dr. Cook stated, “The review sheds light on veterans’ end of life issues and builds a case for solving the problems via cooperative efforts of healthcare professionals, military and civilian. A prominent military journal will publish this literature review in Spring 2018.”
At least 40,000 veterans are dying alone, unclaimed in morgues, funeral homes, and cemeteries. However, the lack of a national model to identify elderly veterans at risk of dying alone and the lack of standards for measuring success, has created a dual public health care crisis with veterans who die alone and whose remains go unclaimed. Importantly, there is an opportunity to demonstrate the moral, and economic value in solving this social crisis.
As Dr. Jan Cook’s research confirms, there is currently no national model for addressing these issues, and all elderly veterans may be at risk of dying alone, or minimally, the knowledge of the accomplished veteran will vanish, and is not integrated into the community.