Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) Evaluation Summary
|What does the tool measure?||To describe the depth and duration of impaired consciousness or coma.|
|What types of clients can the tool be used for?||The GCS can be used with individuals with traumatic brain injury, cerebrovascular events, nontraumatic coma, cardiac arrest, and toxic ingestions.|
|Is this a screening or assessment tool?||Assessment|
|Time to administer||Not reported.|
|Versions||Pediatric Glasgow Coma Scale|
|Reliability||– One study examined the internal consistency of the GCS and reported excellent internal consistency.
– Two studies examined the inter-rater reliability of the GCS using kappa statistics. One study reported adequate inter-rater reliability and the other reported excellent inter-rater reliability for all three GCS subscales.
|Floor/Ceiling Effects||No studies have examined floor/ceiling effects of the GCS in patients with stroke.|
|Sensitivity/ Specificity||Not reported.|
|Does the tool detect change in patients?||– One study examined the responsiveness of the GCS and reported that it had poor sensitivity to change.|
|Acceptability||Caution should be used in interpreting the scores of intubated clients, or clients with dysphasia or aphasia.|
|Feasibility||The GCS is a short measure that requires no additional equipment. Although training is not required, it is recommended as the measure is more reliable when
completed by an experienced clinician. The scale is simple to score and cutoffs are well established in this measure.
|How to obtain the tool?||The GCS is available free online from the following website: