What are the 6 C’s of care?

 In Blog

The 6 C’s of care (Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage, and Commitment) form the cornerstone of how quality care is delivered in the UK. These guiding principles ensure that  anyone receiving care, regardless of setting or needs, is treated with dignity, respect, and receives the best possible support based on the latest knowledge and practices.

In healthcare and social care, the 6 C’s represent a set of fundamental values designed to elevate the care experience for both care recipients and care providers. Understanding the 6 C’s is essential if you are a caregiver, are seeking care for yourself or a loved one, or simply want to understand how the best care systems operate.

Defining the 6 C’s

Let’s break down each of the 6 C’s to understand their individual and collective importance in compassionate caregiving:


At its heart, care means tailoring support to the unique needs of each individual. It goes beyond treating illnesses and encompasses promoting overall well-being throughout all stages of life, from preventative care to end-of-life support.  Excellent care empowers individuals to stay active, connected, and independent within their communities.


Compassionate care means treating individuals with kindness, respect, and empathy. It involves truly understanding their experiences, perspectives, and preferences to deliver person-centred care. Caregivers who demonstrate genuine compassion make care recipients feel valued and heard.


Competence in care signifies having the knowledge, skills, and expertise to provide effective support. This includes understanding health and social needs, as well as staying up-to-date with best practices.  Care providers continuously develop their competence to ensure the best possible outcomes.


Clear, respectful, and empathetic communication is essential for building trust within the care relationship. Whether it’s between caregivers and care recipients, within care teams, or with families, effective communication ensures everyone is informed, involved, and working towards shared goals.


Courageous caregiving involves speaking up for what’s right, advocating for better practices, and challenging anything that compromises quality care. It’s about being brave enough to suggest improvements, report concerns, and embrace innovation for the benefit of those receiving care.


Commitment goes beyond dedication to a job. It’s about a deep commitment to providing exceptional care, continuously learning and improving practices, and upholding the highest standards of the profession. Committed caregivers are passionate advocates for those they serve.

Why the 6 C’s Matter

The 6 C’s aren’t just a set of nice-sounding ideals; they have a tangible and transformative impact on the entire care experience. Here’s why they are so important:

Improved Quality of Care

When caregivers consistently embody the 6 C’s, the direct result is a significantly better quality of care. Care recipients receive personalised support, feel respected and valued, and benefit from the latest knowledge and techniques. This translates to better health outcomes, increased well-being, and a more positive overall care journey.

Empowering Caregivers

Working within a framework that emphasises values like compassion, competence, and courage is deeply empowering for caregivers. It validates their dedication, provides guidance for their actions, and fosters a sense of purpose and fulfilment in their challenging roles.


The 6 C’s serve as a benchmark for quality in care settings. They hold care providers, organisations, and individual staff members accountable for upholding these principles. This accountability drives continuous improvement and ensures that compassionate care remains the unwavering standard.

The 6 C’s in Action

To truly grasp the power of the 6 C’s, let’s see how they might play out in different care scenarios:

Scenario 1: Hospital Setting

  • Care: A nurse carefully assesses a patient’s specific needs and tailors a pain management plan accordingly.
  • Compassion: A doctor sits down with an anxious patient and their family, taking the time to explain a diagnosis in clear, empathetic terms.
  • Competence: A physiotherapist attends a workshop to learn the latest techniques for stroke rehabilitation.
  • Communication: Staff across different departments collaborate seamlessly to ensure a patient’s smooth transition from surgery to recovery.
  • Courage: A nurse assistant notices a potential error and speaks up respectfully, preventing a medication mistake.
  • Commitment: A ward manager dedicates extra time to mentoring new staff, ensuring they understand and uphold the hospital’s care values.

Scenario 2: Care Home

  • Care: A care worker takes the time to learn about a resident’s life story and helps them stay connected to hobbies they enjoyed.
  • Compassion: Staff create a calm and welcoming environment where residents feel safe and understood.
  • Competence: Carers receive regular training in areas like dementia care and safe moving practices.
  • Communication: Staff involve residents in decision-making and actively listen to concerns raised by families.
  • Courage: A carer speaks up about a potential safeguarding issue, putting the well-being of residents first.
  • Commitment: The care home invests in ongoing staff development and actively seeks feedback to improve the quality of care.

Key Points:

  • The 6 C’s apply across various care settings, from hospitals and care homes to home care and community services.
  • Embracing the 6 C’s requires action and commitment at all levels, from individual caregivers to healthcare leaders.

The 6 C’s & You

The 6 C’s hold immense importance for everyone involved in the care process:


Whether you’re a professional caregiver or a family member providing care, the 6 C’s provide a clear framework for compassionate and effective support. They serve as a reminder of your crucial role in ensuring that those you care for receive the best possible care aligned with these principles.

Care Recipients

You have the right to receive care tailored to your individual needs, delivered with dignity, respect, and genuine compassion.  The 6 C’s affirm your right to be an active participant in your care decisions.


When seeking care for a loved one, the 6 C’s offer a valuable tool for evaluating care providers and advocating for the highest standards.  Understanding these values  empowers you to partner with caregivers, ask informed questions, and ensure your loved one’s needs are met with compassion and professionalism.

The Origins of the 6 C’s

The 6 C’s initiative was born from a recognized need to elevate care standards and ensure a consistently compassionate patient experience across the UK care system.  Prior to their introduction, there was a lack of a unified framework for defining and measuring the essential elements of quality care.

Inspired by this challenge, NHS England Chief Nursing Officer, Jane Cummings, spearheaded the development of the 6 C’s.  Through collaboration with healthcare professionals, patients, and families, these core values were established to guide all aspects of the caregiving process.

The Impact of the 6 C’s

Since their introduction in 2012, the 6 C’s have had a transformative impact on the UK care landscape.  By providing a clear benchmark for compassionate care, they have led to measurable improvements in patient satisfaction, staff morale, and overall care quality.

The 6 C’s continue to evolve as a guiding force in healthcare.  They are a constant reminder that compassionate care is not just an aspiration, but a continuous journey of improvement.

The 6 C’s Beyond the UK

The UK’s groundbreaking work with the 6 C’s has inspired countries around the world to adopt similar frameworks for compassionate care.  Nations have recognized the power of values-based care models and developed their own adaptations.

  • Australia: The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights outlines principles of safety, respect, partnership, information, privacy, and access.
  • Canada: Many healthcare organisations promote values like compassion, accountability, respect, and excellence (C.A.R.E.).
  • United States: The concept of patient-centred care is highly emphasised, with healthcare institutions increasingly focusing on patient engagement and shared decision-making.

Global Collaboration: International organisations like the World Health Organization (WHO) promote the importance of compassionate, people-centred care as a universal healthcare goal.

While the specific implementation of the 6 C’s may vary across cultures, the underlying principles of care, compassion, competence, communication, courage, and commitment have a universal resonance.  Global collaboration and sharing of best practices can further advance the cause of compassionate care worldwide.

Embracing the 6 C’s: A Path to Compassionate Care

The 6 C’s represent a vision for quality care that benefits caregivers, care recipients, and their families. By understanding and championing these values, we contribute to building a care system where compassion, dignity, and excellence are the norm.


  • The 6 C’s ensure care is person-centred, empathetic, and grounded in the latest knowledge.
  • Caregivers find fulfilment and empowerment by embodying these values.
  • Care recipients and their families have the right to expect care aligned with the 6 C’s.

Whether you’re a caregiver, a care recipient, or a family member, let the 6 C’s guide your interactions and expectations within the care landscape. Together, we can raise the standard of care for everyone.

Looking for compassionate care in Mansfield? 

Lidder Care offers a range of tailored care home and nursing home solutions.  Discover the perfect fit – contact us now.

Connected Organisations and Further Reading

Government and Policy

  • NHS England: Responsible for overseeing healthcare and promoting the 6 C’s in England.
  • Care Quality Commission (CQC): Regulates and inspects health and social care services in England.

Professional Bodies

  • Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC): Regulator for nurses and midwives in the UK, upholding standards of care.
  • Royal College of Nursing (RCN): Professional body representing nurses, promoting excellence in practice.

Advocacy and Support

Additional Resources