According to the US Census Bureau, the US population, aged 65+, is expected to double over the next 30 years. This can impact our health systems as they struggle to provide evidence-based care practices to every older adult at every care interaction. Age Friendly Health aims to address this challenge.

4Ms Model of Care ImageAge Friendly Health Goals:

  • Follow an essential set of evidence-based practices
  • Cause no harm
  • Align with ‘What Matters’ to the older adult, their family and caregivers

Watch this IHI video to better understand the Age Friendly Health System.

Becoming ‘Age Friendly’ includes providing a set of four evidence-based elements of high quality care, known as  the “4Ms”, to all older adults in a health system (hospital, nursing home, clinic, etc.): What Matters, Medication, Mentation, Mobility.

The 4Ms are practiced as a set, What Matters is to know and align care with each older adult’s specific health outcome goals and care preferences including, but not limited to, end-of-life care and across care settings. The model works to ensure that older adults express their concerns, wishes, needs and experiences with their care team and that providers align their care accordingly.

Tammy Baumann Headshot

“We all deserve health care that meets our unique goals and care preferences as we age. When reviewing the other ‘Ms’ (Medication, Mentation and Mobility), decisions always come back to ‘What Matters’ to the individual. I love this framework because it truly is the person making their own healthcare decisions, the ones that matter to them. Asking the right questions and then identifying ‘what matters’ drives EVERYTHING you do in Age Friendly Health.”


The Recipe for Equity in Age-Friendly Health Systems
This resource from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) helps health systems increase the equitable and reliable implementation of the 4Ms Framework—including what matters—for all older adults. IHI also has a guide on how to start conversations with older adults about what matters.

Learn and Connect with the Age-Friendly Health Systems Movement 

Join Friends of Age-Friendly Health Systems for movement updates, quarterly webinar calls, access to experts and further support on the 4Ms Framework!

    • Join the Friends of Age-Friendly newsletter
    • Watch the latest Friends of Age-Friendly Webinar recording
    • Upcoming Webinar: Wednesday, October 18 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm (CT)
    • Join the Age Friendly Health Systems Community to learn more and get connected

The Great Plains QIN team offered an overview of the Age Friendly Health Systems as we launched our Focus 4 Health Series; watch the recording.

Additional Resources

NBC & Telemundo Showcase Age-Friendly Care in Action
In these TV segments, family caregiver Jeanette explains how having her doctors focus on what matters most to her mom Julia makes all the difference in the quality of care they receive at Northwell Health, an Age-Friendly Health System.

Tele-Mentoring Training Workshops from Patient Priorities Care
Clinicians and educators learn how to identify and act on what matters to older patients with complex needs through role play, discussion and case-based coaching.

White Paper Discusses Measuring What Matters
The National Committee for Quality Assurance convened experts to identify the best methods for providing goal-aligned care, including how to document, monitor and help people make progress on personalized goals.

Age Friendly Health is an initiative of the John A. Hartford Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), in partnership with the American Hospital Association (AHA), and the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA).

Q Tips For Your Ears Podcast Logo

Our Q-Tips For Your Ears podcast is designed for everyone; the intent is to share basic information on topics that matter; our team created a podcast episode on What Matters when it comes to end of life decisions. Listen now.