The Glasgow Coma Scale in adults: doing it right

The Glasgow Coma Scale in adults: doing it right

Ismalia de Sousa Clinical nurse specialist in stroke, Stroke and Neurosciences, Charing Cross Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London
Sue Woodward Head of clinical education, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College London

After 40 years, the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is the resource of choice for assessing the level of consciousness in patients with neurological conditions. Clinicians’ ability to monitor patients’ conditions, identify deterioration and make clinical decisions depends on their ability to carry out GCS assessments, so it is vital that they understand it. This article explores how best to use the GCS in clinical practice and examines some of the factors that can affect the accuracy of assessments. The article also explains the difference between peripheral and central stimuli.

Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2016.e1638


Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Received: 20 August 2016

Accepted: 07 October 2016

Published online: 22 November 2016