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Age-Friendly Health Systems Movement Exceeds Scale and Impact Goals to Improve Care for Older Adults

More than 1.4 million older adults have benefited from evidence-based care at more than 2,700 care locations

Boston, MA - March 1, 2022 - The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) today announced that more than 2,700 care locations have been recognized as Age-Friendly Health Systems Participants, surpassing the movement’s goal 18-months ahead of schedule. More than 1.4 million older adults have received age-friendly care thanks to the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement since 2018. In addition to achieving this milestone, leaders from the movement have published a new book to share insights with the field, and the group is actively recruiting health systems and practices for the next Action Community starting later this month.

An initiative of The John A. Hartford Foundation and IHI, in partnership with the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), Age-Friendly Health Systems promotes four evidence-based elements of high-quality care, known as the 4Ms framework: Asking What Matters to older adults, Medication, Mentation, and Mobility. When implemented together, the 4Ms represent a broad shift by health systems to focus on the needs of older adults.

The more than 2,700 care locations recognized as Age-Friendly Health Systems Participants include hospitals, practices, convenient care clinics, and nursing homes. They are committed to assessing, documenting, and acting on all 4Ms in their care setting, which has led to more than 1.4 million older adults receiving care that included all 4Ms.

Widespread support for the movement can be attributed to several factors, including an increased awareness – precipitated by the pandemic – of the unique needs of caring for older adults, and the eagerness of health systems to adopt evidence-based practices to guide their work with this population. Broad-based implementation at care locations such as CVS MinuteClinic and the Veterans Health Administration (VA) have further scaled the movement’s reach.

“We celebrate this milestone with tremendous pride and gratitude, as it demonstrates the incredible momentum of organizations that have begun an Age-Friendly Health Systems improvement journey,” said Leslie Pelton, MPA, Vice President, IHI. “Our work is far from over, however. During the next 18 months and beyond, we will ensure that the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement is equitable, sustainable, and reliably creating better outcomes for older adults.” 

To continue the momentum of the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement, IHI and its collaborators are focused on the following:

  • Ensuring equity is an integrated part of the movement and providing support to health systems on equitable adoption of the 4Ms
  • Continued recruitment, particularly among hospitals and nursing homes, and supporting scale-up within large health systems
  • Long-term sustainability, including continued work with partner organizations in the Age-Friendly ecosystem and improving existing onramps and support systems to maintain growth

“More than a million older adults and counting are receiving evidence-based, age-friendly care focused on what matters most to them and their families, thanks to the incredibly hard work and steadfast dedication of health care teams across the country that have joined the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement,” said Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, President of The John A. Hartford Foundation. “The pandemic has accelerated this movement and we sincerely thank these health care professionals, as well as the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, American Hospital Association, Catholic Health Association and many other partners who are transforming care for all of us as we age.”

To spread the learnings and lessons of the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement, Terry Fulmer and Leslie Pelton, among others, have co-edited a newly released book, "AgeFriendly Health Systems: A Guide to Using the 4Ms While Caring for Older Adults”, which is an easy-to-use guide for health care professionals. Additional resources that are freely available include a Getting Started Guide: How to Have Conversations with Older Adults About “What Matters”.

Age-Friendly Health Systems continues to actively recruit participants to improve care for older adults. The Spring 2022 Action Community is a free 7-month virtual learning community that will help health system leaders and improvers accelerate reliable practice of the 4Ms while learning with and from fellow participants.

About the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) 
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) is an independent not-for-profit organization based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. For 30 years, IHI has used improvement science to advance and sustain better outcomes in health and health systems across the world. IHI brings awareness of safety and quality to millions, catalyzes learning and the systematic improvement of care, develops solutions to previously intractable challenges, and mobilizes health systems, communities, regions, and nations to reduce harm and deaths. IHI collaborates with a growing community to spark bold, inventive ways to improve the health of individuals and populations. IHI generates optimism, harvests fresh ideas, and supports anyone, anywhere who wants to profoundly change health and health care for the better. Learn more at

Joanna Clark, CXO Communication
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