Developing a Conceptual Framework for an Age-Friendly Health System: A Scoping Review

Document Type : Review Article


1 Department of Health Management and Economics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Disaster & Emergency Health, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Population aging is usually associated with increased health care needs. Developing an age-friendly health system with special features, structure, and functions to meet the special needs of older people and improving their health status and quality of life is essential. This study aimed to develop a conceptual framework for an age-friendly health system, which would offer a conceptual basis for providing the best possible care for older people in health system to let them experience a successful, healthy, and active aging.

A scoping review was used to design the conceptual framework based on Arksey and O’Malley’s model, including six stages, with the final stage of using expert’s opinions to improve and validate the initial framework. The health system model of Van Olmen, was selected as the baseline model for this framework. Then, by reviewing the available evidence, the characteristics of an age-friendly health system were extracted and incorporated in the baseline mode.

Using the electronic searching, initially 12 316 documents were identified, of which 140 studies were selected and included in this review study. The relevant data were extracted from the 140 studies by two reviewers independently. Most studies were conducted in 2016-2020, and mostly were from United States (33.6%). To have an age-friendly health system, interventions and changes should be performed in functions, components and objectives of health systems. This system aims to provide evidence-based care through trained workforces and involves older people and their families in health policy-makings. Its consequences include better health acre for older people, with fewer healthcare-related harms, greater care satisfaction and increased use of cost-effective health services.

To meet the needs of older people, health systems should make interventions in their functions for better performance. In line with these changes, other parts of society should work in harmony and set the health of older people as a top priority to ensure they can have a successful aging.


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  • Receive Date: 20 April 2022
  • Revise Date: 24 March 2023
  • Accept Date: 07 May 2023
  • First Publish Date: 08 May 2023