What is the Glasgow Coma Scale?

| May 22, 2020 | Firm News |

Past posts on this blog offer a wealth of information on traumatic brain injuries, ranging from everything from how to differentiate levels of TBIs to their long-term financial impact. This is all information that can is helpful in determining yours and your family’s long-term strategy in dealing with your loved one’s TBI, yet how are you to know in the immediate aftermath of their injury which of it specifically applies to your case? 

You might think it impossible to know your loved one’s prognosis right after suffering a TBI, yet clinicians may indeed be able to offer you an accurate indication. 

The Glasgow Coma Scale 

This indication comes thanks to the Glasgow Coma Scale, which is a clinical observation test which measures your loved one’s responses against a baseline (the baseline being the standard responses one would expect from an average individual). Specifically, your loved one’s caretakers will look for the following: 

  • The responsiveness of their eye movement  
  • How well they are able to communicate verbally 
  • How acute their motor skills are 

After making their observations, the clinicians assign a point value to each, then add them together to come up with a final score. 

Estimating the extent of a TBI 

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a higher GCS score indicates a less-severe TBI. In contrast, scores of eight or below are indicative of a severe brain injury. This is the kind of injury that might leave them with extreme physical or cognitive limitations, from which the prospect of recovery may be slim. This does not mean, however, that a moderate or even a mild brain injury will not also require extensive recuperation. Having the information, however, will help you in planning what to expect going forward.