Why "exit questionnaires" are completely worthless

Many facilities boast that they help x percent of patients and boast of astounding treatment success rates. However, if they are basing this on exit studies, they are flat out lying. Here’s why:

Have you ever been handed a questionnaire on your way out of hospital, just as you are being released? You want to get out, right? Patients have no clue whether their answers to these questions are going to be read prior to their discharge. If they fear their answers will affect their discharge (even if papers are being written up) for sure, they aren’t going to fill out “yes” to any questions that might end up delaying their discharge. Even patients who are outright pissed upon discharge will certainly not admit they are depressed, confused, lethargic, suicidal, or in any way worse off than when they came in.

That I know of, many facilities use these exit surveys to assess success rates. Whether or not they use an outside agency doesn’t matter, because in the patients’ minds, they want to get out, and if they think there’s any chance what they write will cause continued imprisonment, they’re not going to admit how they really feel.

Feedback and comments welcome!