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What is the Glasgow Coma Scale?

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2020 | Firm News

After hearing that your loved one experienced a serious accident in North Carolina, the news of their having survived the ordeal is no doubt welcome. Yet that does not necessarily mean that they are out of the proverbial woods (particularly if they suffered something as serious as a traumatic brain injury). 

A TBI can range from a mild concussion to a serious debilitating condition that leaves one dependent on round-the-clock care for the remainder of their life. Which of these outcomes your loved one may face will almost certainly impact your decision-making in regards to their care. Yet can you know this in the immediate aftermath of their injury? 

Knowing the extent of a TBI

When clinicians suspect that your loved one sustained a TBI, they need to know the extent of the injury in order to develop their treatment plan. This information may also provide you with an idea of what their long-term prognosis may be. Caretakers obtain it through a clinical observation test known as the Glasgow Coma Scale. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the GCS measures your loved one’s responses in the following areas: 

  • Eye movement 
  • Motor skills 
  • Verbal responses 

The further away their responses are from the standard clinical baseline, the more extensive their injury may be. Clinicians assign a point total to each of the aforementioned areas, and the overall sum of those points is your loved one’s final GCS score. 

Planning for the future

A GCS score between 13-15 indicates a mild brain injury, while a score between nine and 12 indicates a moderate one. Scores of eight or below indicate severe brain injuries. The degree to which your loved one may recover depends on the severity of their injury, yet your loved one will no doubt require support from you and others while recovering from any type of TBI.