Abilities and activities that are often simultaneously valued may not be simultaneously achievable for older adults with multi-complexity. Because of this, the Geriatrics 5M’s framework prioritizes care on “what matters most.” This study aimed to evaluate and refine the What Matters Most-Structured Tool (WMM-ST).
105 older adults with an average of 4 chronic conditions completed the WMM-ST along with open-ended questions from the Serious Illness Conversation Guide. Participants also provided demographic and social information, completed cognitive screening with the T-MoCA-Short and frailty screening with the Frail Scale. Quantitative and qualitative analyses aimed to (1) describe values; (2) evaluate the association of patient characteristics with values, and; (3) assess validity via the tool’s (a) acceptability (b) educational bias and (c) content accuracy.
Older adults varied in what matters most. Ratings demonstrated modest associations with social support, religiosity, cognition, and frailty, but not with age or education. The WMM-ST was rated as understandable (86%) and applicable to their current situation (61%) independent of education. Qualitative analyses supported the content validity of WMM-ST, while revealing additional content.
It is possible to assess what matters most to older adults with multi-complexity using a structured tool. Such tools may be useful in making an abstract process clearer but require further validation in diverse samples.

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America 2021.