Canadian Neurological Scale (CNS)


Canadian Neurological Scale (CNS) Evaluation Summary

  What does the tool measure? The CNS measures neurological status.
  What types of clients can the tool be used for? Patients with stroke in the acute phase who are either alert or drowsy.
  Is this a screening or assessment tool? Assessment
Time to administer Approximately 5 to 10 minutes.
  Versions There are no alternative versions reported.
Other Languages No information reported.
Measurement Properties

– One study examined the internal consistency of the CNS and reported excellent internal consistency.
– Two studies investigated the inter-rater reliability and found adequate to excellent inter-rater reliability.


– One study evaluated the concurrent validity of the CNS and found excellent concurrent validity between the CNS and global neurological examination.
– Two studies evaluated the predictive validity of the CNS and found initial CNS scores to predict death within 3 to 6 months, morbidity, and recovery of ADL within 3 to 5-months.
– One study evaluated the discriminant validity of the CNS and found excellent correlation between total CNS scores and standard neurological examinations.

  Floor/Ceiling Effects Floor/ceiling effects have not yet been examined.
  Does the tool detect change in patients? The CNS can be used to monitor change in neurological status in patients with acute stroke.
  Acceptability The CNS is short and simple. Patient burden associated with its use should be minimal.
Feasibility A trained healthcare professional should administer the CNS. It may be used both prospectively and retrospectively.
How to obtain the tool? The CNS is available to download free of charge on the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario website: