Empower Your Practice

Journal for Practice Managers

The 6 C's in Health and Social Care

Anyone working in roles that involve caring for and looking after people should ensure they are adhering to best practices while always endeavouring to give the highest quality of service. This entails providing compassionate and quality support while treating everyone with dignity and respect. To guarantee excellent levels of care across settings such as care homes, the NHS Commissioning Board devised a strategy known as Compassion in Practice. This introduced the six C’s, which serve as a reminder of how caregivers should be providing care.


What are the 6 C’s of Care?

The 6 C's of care are a set of values that need to be upheld by any health and social care staff that interacts with patients, residents, and members of the care sector. This includes registered healthcare professionals, clinical support staff, non-clinical staff, and nurses in nursing homes. All 6 C's are essential and must be implemented in order to provide compassionate and excellent care.

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#1. Care

At the heart of every care provider should be the provision of excellent care. This should ensure that individuals receive the best possible outcomes, while also contributing to the improvement of the local care industry and community. All individuals receiving care should expect it to be tailored to their needs - regardless of their stage of life. In addition to treating ill health, prevention, early intervention and health promotion are equally as important. People should be provided with the necessary services to enable them to remain active, connected and independent - whether in their own home, a care home or elsewhere. As life expectancy increases, there is a growing need for long-term care and support of older adults. The 6 C's have enabled care providers to develop new ways of delivering integrated services to people, families and communities.

#2. Compassion

Compassion entails providing care through relationships based on empathy, respect, and dignity. It is essential that residents receive not only quality treatment, but quality care as well. Caregivers should treat those they are caring for with kindness, respect, and dignity, while also showing a genuine interest in the person and their experiences. This entails understanding an individual's needs and providing person-centered care. Demonstrating compassion also involves allowing the person to be involved in decisions about their own care and listening to their feedback and views.

Some practical actions that can be taken to create a compassionate care environment include:

  • Listening to care seekers, their families and anyone else involved in their care
  • Listening to and learning from feedback
  • Communicating across different caregiving organisations to ensure people receive quality care
  • Celebrating and sharing information, data, what works well and other best practices

The doctor should not bear the burden of administrative workload and drown in documents, while he can see more patients and treat them more carefully. The Medesk electronic medical record structures the data in such a way to improve the quality of medical decision-making.

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#3. Competence

To be competent in the care sector, one must have the knowledge, expertise, and clinical understanding to provide excellent care. The 6 C's are an invaluable tool for recruiting individuals into various roles within the sector, as they allow employers to evaluate the personal values of potential candidates. Furthermore, these 6 C's are incorporated in many care qualifications to help strengthen the quality of services for those being cared for.

Ensuring the right people are in your care organisation, with the knowledge, abilities and skills required to carry out their roles in a way that ensures care quality, safety and compassion, is critical. Through assessing and evaluating the skills, knowledge and understanding gained through experience and training, as well as staying up to date with the latest methods, research and approaches to social care, managers and other decision-makers can make sure they are making the best possible decisions for the person receiving care. To guarantee the highest standards of care are being met, processes and a culture of competence, learning and improvement must be embedded throughout the care organisation.

#4. Communication

Communication is a key component of successful relationships and high-functioning teams. It is just as important to pay attention and listen as it is to say and do things. Providing excellent care requires a variety of communication skills, such as customer service, handling complaints efficiently, and working collaboratively. Care staff on the frontlines are at the core of the communication process. They are responsible for assessing, reporting, and recording the care they provide. Information needs to be treated with sensitivity and confidentiality. Care staff must listen actively to the people they care for, colleagues, supervisors, and other organizations.

It is essential for healthcare professionals to possess strong verbal communication skills in order to effectively pass messages to co-workers, managers, other agencies, and their clients or patients. When individuals receive medical care, it is important for them to comprehend their condition and the next steps of their treatment plan, in order to feel more at ease. Hence, it is vital for healthcare professionals to convey this information in a clear and concise manner to ensure the well-being of their patients.

  1. Listening skills. Having active listening skills will allow you to comprehend thoroughly what is being communicated to you by the people you are caring for. It is essential to be aware of their emotions, any new indications or pains they may be experiencing, in order to provide the best care. Additionally, active listening skills will enable you to exchange and acquire information from other people who are a part of the treatment or sharing process.
  2. Written communication skills. In order for a care plan to be understandable and consistent, it is essential that it is recorded. Detailed documentation is thus a vital component of nursing practice. Assessing, conveying, recording, and ensuring that these records remain secure are all necessary components of caring professions, and they all necessitate strong written communication skills.

To save time and ensure accuracy of communication, physicians can use personalized emails or send reminders. Reports about medical check-ups or analyses can also be sent to patients to make them feel they are receiving high-quality care.

  1. Non-verbal communication skills. A key part of being a good communicator is recognizing what your patients are not saying, even if it differs from what they are expressing verbally. Their body language and facial expressions can often indicate if they are feeling pain, having negative emotions, or in need of extra help.
  2. Digital communication skills. Patients try to avoid remote consutations, as feelings of vulnerability and isolation are heightened when physical contact with healthcare professionals is not possible. However, when used by trained medical professionals in consultations, digital technology offers an extremely valuable tool in the form of video conferencing and other remote communication formats. This enables healthcare professionals in different locations to converse instantly, thereby increasing the speed and accuracy of a diagnosis. Furthermore, by removing the need for lengthy appointments or transferral of the patient to another healthcare center, it can help reduce potential delays to treatment, even helping to save lives.

You will be able to conduct online patient appointments directly in Medesk. There is no need to use personal numbers, employee contacts or third-party programs. Within the platform, all actions and connections are performed on behalf of your clinic.

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#5. Courage

Care workers need courage to do what is right for those they care for, to speak up when concerns arise, and to embrace new ways of working within the care industry. They must remain accountable for the care they provide, ensure the safety of their residents, and make judgement calls that will affect others. To contribute to improvements within the sector, care workers should be courageous enough to report any issues they may find, following the 6 C’s of care.

Fulfilling the mission of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) to improve health and health care around the world necessitates courage, one of IHI's core values. All of the values are interconnected, and courage can be viewed as an enabler of the others. When trying to accomplish equity, trust, or love, courage is typically necessary, even if it runs the risk of loss or faces resistance. In health care improvement, courageous decisions are made every day by all of those involved, ranging from the very personal to large-scale decisions on how to manage a health system. Choosing between the safe and courageous paths can be difficult. Courage in health care improvement requires advocating for our patients, even when it means prioritizing where to allocate limited resources, or making challenging changes to existing systems. Whether it's a nurse, doctor, or social worker, striving for a small but meaningful improvement in care can be daunting, as it may mean making sacrifices. Big changes in health care often require courage, and it is essential to strive for these changes in order to achieve better outcomes.

#6. Commitment

The commitment that is part of the 6 C's goes beyond simply the dedication of those in caregiving roles. It encompasses an eagerness for staff to continue to grow and expand their abilities. Carers can pass on their knowledge and insight while taking a stand against any inappropriate or prejudicial practices in order to raise the standard of care within the sector. Furthermore, they must be devoted to truly embracing the 6 C's and apply them to their daily activities.

The 6 C’s were developed by NHS England Chief Nursing Officer Jane Cummings with the intention of ensuring that those in care settings are given the necessary support and empathy they deserve. The C’s are meant to create a united vision and shared values among the care sector and serve as a reminder of the principles that care staff believe to be essential. Additionally, they also provide a way to measure the quality of care being provided. All of the 6 C’s are of equal importance, each being essential for compassionate care.

What Care Settings Do They Apply To?

The number of people working in the UK adult social care sector for 2023-24 was estimated at 1.54 million. Around 1.2 million of these are in full-time equivalent jobs (similar to the NHS), including 865,000 care workers, 87,000 senior care workers and 36,000 registered nurses. There are also 135,000 roles directly employed by individual users of care services.


The Compassion in Practice strategy and the 6 C’s apply to all care and support settings in the UK, including:

  • Care homes
  • Clinics
  • Community services
  • Dental surgeries
  • Doctors and GP surgeries
  • Home care and other home services
  • Ambulances
  • Hospices
  • Phone and online advice
  • Prison healthcare

The 6 C’s also apply to the workers and volunteers within these care settings, including:

  • Carers
  • Disability support workers
  • Home care workers
  • Attendant care workers
  • Personal care workers and assistants
  • Volunteer carers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Community support workers
  • Doctors and GPs
  • Nurses
  • Dentists
  • Hygienists
  • Paramedics

How the 6 c’s affect social care providers

To guarantee optimal well-being in social care settings, care providers must reflect on the care they are providing and how they are managing their staff. The NHS 'Compassion in Practice' strategy outlines specific measures that providers must take to ensure quality care is being given. It is essential to emphasise that each interaction with a care recipient is meaningful and to ensure the best care is given. In addition, taking measures to improve the support for care staff will benefit their health and morale. Recruiting and retaining quality staff is a critical aspect of care, and showing the organisation genuinely cares for the wellbeing and development of their employees will play an important role. Values-based recruitment has been proven to be more effective compared to traditional methods. The 6'cs of social care can be used to assess whether potential candidates possess the right values to work in care. Creating and maintaining policies and procedures is a difficult and time-consuming process, requiring a great deal of expertise. Access Care Policies & Procedures is an effective solution that makes this process easier and helps meet regulatory compliance. It provides complete care policies and procedures for social care, with easy visibility on which staff have agreed to particular policies relevant to their role.


Create a culture that upholds the 6 C's of social care at every level, from new hires to managers and owners, and incorporate them into your procedures, such as handling complaints, responding to incidents, managing clients' records, and so on. Source and maintain personnel who understand and can adhere to the values of the 6 C's of social care. When you unite these two aspects of culture and people, each will start to bolster each other. People will support the compassionate culture and the culture will help them act correctly. This will help you become a care organisation that almost automatically delivers the finest quality of care service.

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