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  • SISCC logo
  • University of the West of Scotland

Compassionate Care: Getting it Right

Explore the impact of compassionate care and learn how to implement behaviour change tools and techniques in your organisation.

15,036 enrolled on this course

Two hands touching in a hospital bed
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Learn how compassion in health and social care can transform lives

The importance of compassion in health and social care cannot be underestimated. On this course, you will study compassionate care in theory and practice. Using recent case studies, you will explore the need for organisations to take a person-centred approach to the care of their patients, and also their staff.

You will consider different positive examples of compassionate care in action, and identify the factors which led to a positive outcome for the patient. You will also learn behaviour change techniques and how to implement them to enhance compassionate care in your organisation.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 2 seconds [SIRENS]

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds WOMAN’S VOICE: She was found in the care home with breathing difficulties. BP 90 over 60. Pulse is 80.

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds MAN’S VOICE: Resource 2. Let’s go.

Skip to 0 minutes and 24 seconds [ELECTRONIC CLOCK TICKING]

Skip to 0 minutes and 37 seconds -I thought maybe we could go for a ride one day. [GIGGLE] -(AMIABLY) We could. -Around the coast, past the docks, on a nice day? -OK, then. -OK?

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 seconds [CLOCK TICKING]

Skip to 0 minutes and 54 seconds -Where’s your bicycle? -I got you these instead.

Skip to 1 minute and 2 seconds [ELECTRONIC CLOCK TICKING]

Skip to 1 minute and 7 seconds [RAGGED BREATHING]

Skip to 1 minute and 8 seconds OLD MAN (VOICEOVER): She had Alzheimer’s. But I still went every day to see her at the home. We had a happy time in each other’s company for the nine years she was there.

Skip to 1 minute and 19 seconds YOUNG WOMAN (VOICEOVER): You’ll never be late for me now.

Skip to 1 minute and 22 seconds OLD MAN (VOICEOVER): The report said that trying to revive her would have been futile and undignified. But they decided that themselves, without bothering to include me. They decided enough was enough for her. [STEADY EKG BEEPS] [POUNDING HEARTBEAT]

Skip to 1 minute and 45 seconds [HIGH-PITCHED STEADY BEEP] [BEEP FADES OUT] [CLOCK TICKING] -About 15 minutes ago. Husband? He’s here, at the hospital?

Skip to 2 minutes and 0 seconds OLD MAN (VOICEOVER): I was in that waiting room for three hours. No one came to me. I should have been by her side. It was a shabby, sad end to my poor wife’s life.

Skip to 2 minutes and 22 seconds NARRATOR: The importance of compassion in health and social care has been brought to light in recent years through a series of high-profile public inquiries into the mistreatment and sometimes even the death of patients. This free online course will explore the issue of compassionate care from the perspective of a positive experience and will look at how health and social-care practitioners can deliver safe, effective, and compassionate care.

What topics will you cover?

Week 1 - What is compassionate care? - how do you develop relationship-centred practice? The 7C’s of caring conversations

Week 2 - Practising compassion every day - how do you design a compassionate environment, gathering input from service users, person-centred end-of-life care and practicing self-care

Week 3 - Creating a compassionate culture - perspectives on leadership, challenging conversations in a care setting, practical approaches to encourage compassionate care

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the reasons for and consequences of care that is not compassionate
  • Describe compassionate care and observe how this is articulated in the real world
  • Debate the factors that motivate compassionate care
  • Identify attributes to develop in practice for improving care provision
  • Discuss the nature of leading and influencing compassionate care
  • Describe the concepts of relationship-centred practice and humanising healthcare
  • Apply behaviour change techniques to help change how care is provided

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone working in health and social care at all levels, but particularly those who are responsible for direct patient care.

This free online course has been developed by the Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre (SISCC) who are exploring whether it is feasible to use an online course to change behaviour to support a change in practice. More information about the centre can be found here.

Who will you learn with?

I am a midwife of 20 years and am a Senior Lecturer at the University of Dundee, responsible for internationalisation in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. I am a lead educator with the SISSC

Who developed the course?

University of Dundee

The University of Dundee is one of the world’s Top 200 universities and was named Scottish University of the Year for both 2016 and 2017. Dundee offers one of the UK’s best student experiences.


The Scottish Improvement Science Collaborating Centre (SISCC) brings together researchers, NHS and social care staff, policy makers, educators, and the third sector from across Scotland.

University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is one of the country’s largest modern universities, and aims to have a transformational influence on the economic, social and cultural development of the region.

Endorsers and supporters

funded by

The Health Foundation

content provided by

Edinburgh Napier University

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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