Dementia support ‘mystery shoppers’ give top marks to Hertfordshire service

PUBLISHED: 16:00 05 January 2019

L-R: Alice Lovell and Jane Brown acting as dementia support 'mystery shoppers' for Healthwatch Hertfordshire. Picture: supplied by Healthwatch Hertfordshire

L-R: Alice Lovell and Jane Brown acting as dementia support 'mystery shoppers' for Healthwatch Hertfordshire. Picture: supplied by Healthwatch Hertfordshire

supplied by Healthwatch Hertfordshire

A Welwyn Garden City-based watchdog has deemed phone support to people caring for dementia sufferers ‘fantastic’.

Health and social care watchdog Healthwatch Hertfordshire set up the mystery shopper exercise to test the abilities of HertsHelp.

HertsHelp is a partnership of organisations offering help and advice on the phone to people in Hertfordshire across numerous issues - including dementia care, which is led by Age UK Hertfordshire.

In a recent mystery shopper exercise, a trained team from Healthwatch Hertfordshire called HertsHelp pretending to be someone caring for a loved one with dementia.

They then presented the call handler with a scenario - ranging from the simple to the complex - which would require the handler to probe to find out more about the person to provide the support necessary.

“Some of the volunteers really got into the role,” said a Healthwatch Hertfordshire spokesperon.

“These acting skills were not wasted, as they helped Healthwatch Hertfordshire to understand both practical advice, and the level of emotional support being given by the service.

“The information and advice given was easy to understand and – for the most part – spot on, but more importantly on a human level, the call handlers were caring and supportive.

“Everyone who took part in the exercise felt a real connection; that the person on the other end of the line cared about them and their situation.”

• You can contact Herts Help on 0300 123 4044.

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