Age-Friendly Health Systems


Age-Friendly Health Systems is an initiative of The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association of the United States. An Age-Friendly Health System provides safe, high-quality care to all older adults using an essential evidence-based framework, known as the “4Ms”: What Matters, Medication, Mentation (Mind), and Mobility.

With Age-Friendly care gaining momentum, many exceptional resources are available for free from the founders and supporters of the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative. Below are links to resources for older adults, their families, and their healthcare providers for locating and providing Age-Friendly care that focuses on what matters most to older adults.

Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). A driving force for Age-Friendly Health Systems and the 4Ms, IHI provides a wealth of valuable resources on their website for both the healthcare workforce and older adults.


IHI Age-Friendly resources include:

  • Guides to using the 4Ms in the care of older adults in various settings, including hospitals and ambulatory practices, nursing homes, and emergency departments
  • Age-Friendly Health Systems Electronic Health Record (EHR) Implementation Guides
  • A “What Matters” to Older Adults toolkit
  • A guide for having conversations with older adults in any setting about What Matters most
  • 4Ms educational brochures and posters for older adults in both English and Spanish
  • Community-Based Resources and the 4Ms
  • The 4Ms Framework of an Age-Friendly Health System
  • The Business Case to Becoming an Age-Friendly Health System
  • A free Open School course on providing Age-Friendly care to older adults, including steps for getting started and how to improve care

The John A. Hartford Foundation (JAHF). A co-founder of the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative, the JAHF funds programs that bring Age-Friendly care to older adults and those who provide care for them. Resources are available for both providers and older adults.

JAHF Age-Friendly resources include:

  • A guide to using the 4Ms in the care of older adults
  • A consumer report of older adults and family caregivers, “Driving Toward Age-Friendly Care for the Future”
  • A short video about the 4Ms of Age-Friendly care
  • A printable guide for older adults on talking to their doctor about the 4Ms and their essential role in care
  • Additional resources focusing on each of the 4Ms to help older adults get better care
  • Age-Friendly care consumer resources
  • Resources are also available in Spanish

CATCH-ON (Collaborative Action Team training for Community Health – Older adult Network), developed by the Rush University Medical Center Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, provides Age-Friendly training and resources for older adults, their families, and health professionals.

Community Catalyst’s Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation, in partnership with CATCH-ON, has developed Age-Friendly materials for older adults and their family caregivers. Information is available in both English and Spanish.

Patient Priorities Care focuses decision-making on the patient’s health priorities, addressing “What Matters” in the 4Ms framework. Resources include tools for patients and caregivers as well as for providers and health systems, along with a frequently updated list of recent publications on patient-centered care.

Of note is a workbook to help older adults identify their health priorities.


My Health Priorities is an offshoot of Patient Priorities Care, created specifically to help older adults and their caregivers determine “What Matters” most to them about their health and health care. The website guides users through a series of questions to help identify their health priorities and creates a summary for older adults to share with their healthcare team.

The American Journal of Nursing, in collaboration with the AARP Public Policy Institute and the Rush Center for Excellence in Aging, recently published a series of articles, Supporting Family Caregivers in the 4Ms of an Age-Friendly Health System.

First article in the series, The 4Ms of an Age-Friendly Health System

Second article in the series, Addressing What Matters

Third article in the series, Optimizing Older Adults’ Medication Use

Fourth article in the series, Recognizing and Acting on Mentation Concerns