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Maintaining dignified service in your healthcare environment with the 6 Cs

Sister Roach's 6 Cs of caring have become the benchmark for care throughout the world.


Maintaining dignified service in your healthcare environment with the 6 Cs

Sister Roach's 6 Cs of caring have become the benchmark for care throughout the world.

The 6 Cs of care by Sister Roach

  • Care – Care is our core business and that of our organisations, and the care we deliver helps the individual person and improves the health of the whole community. Caring defines us and our work. People receiving care expect it to be right for them consistently throughout every stage of their life.
  • Compassion – Compassion is how care is given through relationships based on empathy, respect and dignity; it can also be described as intelligent kindness, and is central to how people perceive their care.
  • Competence – Competence means all those in caring roles must have the ability to understand an individual’s health and social needs and the expertise, clinical and technical knowledge to deliver effective care and treatments based on research and evidence.
  • Communication – Communication is central to successful caring relationships and to effective team working. Listening is as important as what we say and do and essential for “no decision about me without me”. Communication is the key to a good workplace with benefits for staff and patients alike.
  • Courage – Courage enables us to do the right thing for the people we care for, to speak up when we have concerns and to have the personal strength and vision to innovate and to embrace new ways of working.
  • Commitment – A commitment to our patients and populations is a cornerstone of what we do. We need to build on our commitment to improve the care and experience of our patients, to take action to make this vision and strategy a reality for all, and meet the health and social care challenges ahead.

Dignity for service-users

Over the past 5 years, healthcare reforms have been implemented which prioritise dignity as a key driver of good care. As a result, organisations have had to address this and look for ways to encompass dignity in care in everything they do.

With the 6 Cs at the heart of everything in a healthcare environment, the benefits for service users will become almost immeasurable, with care-givers able to provide appropriate care, and service-users able to feel comfortable, rested, and secure in their surroundings.

When providing the individual aspects (as outlined by the 6 Cs) the outcome is continued dignity, respect and compassion which are top of the list of objectives. It is only right that they are fulfilled, as it will fill staff with a sense of confidence and self-assurance that also supports the delivery of high quality care and support.

Dignity for staff

Although the 6 Cs are relevant to healthcare provision, implementing them can also help staff personally, as confidence is a key focus and this confidence can come from knowing that they have the skills, competence and expertise to overcome every hurdle. Supporting carers and medical staff to perform at an optimum level (regardless of the requirements or scenario) can further enhance performance, for example, having the ability to understand the different forms of communication needed to meet the physical and mental requirements of each patient or service-user. Creating dignified healthcare workers who are capable of not only delivering high quality care but also improving a care environment’s service levels can also help to achieve business growth objectives.

The right training

Empowering staff can help to ensure they are in the best position to deliver comprehensive healthcare, which when supported by quality training and education, each person can be supported to become the best care-giver they can be. Creating an environment where the needs of those requiring care and support is staffed and provided by the finest care-givers is now much easier than it has been in the past.


In a healthcare environment, few factors will benefit those receiving care and support more than being treated with dignity and respect. The ability to treat someone as an equal, regardless of their age or disability, has to be at the heart of all care-givers and this was first highlighted and quantified by Sister Simone Roach. Between 1987 and the early 1990s, Sister Roach developed the 6 Cs of caring which would become the benchmark for care throughout the world. This approach was so beneficial to care-providers and those they support, that the 6 Cs became part of NHS England’s Compassion in Practice, the Vision and Strategy for Nurses, Midwives and Care Staff in December 2012.