The Glasgow Coma Scale - an update for nurses

CPD hours:

The Glasgow Coma Scale is a method for assessing a patient’s conscious level that is used by nurses, midwives, medical staff, and other clinicians. Accurate, consistent assessment and communication of the GCS is required to prevent adverse effects on patient care.

The GCS was updated in 2014 in response to concerns about variability and reliability in the use of the original GCS, taking a more standardised and structured approach to assessment.

This module explains how to follow this approach and considers factors which can compromise the accuracy of assessment.

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At the end of this eLearning Activity participants will be able to:

  • Define what the Glasgow Coma Scale is and how it is used.
  • Identify the four stages in the structured approach to GCS assessment.
  • Explain the ‘Check’ stage of the GCS, including potential interfering factors for assessment.
  • Outline what is required in the ‘Observe’ stage of GCS assessment.
  • Describe what is required in the ‘Stimulate’ stage of GCS assessment.
  • Discuss the steps required to assess eye opening, including verbal and peripheral stimulation.
  • Explain the steps required to assess verbal response.
  • Describe the steps required to assess motor response, including central stimulation.
  • Explain the important points for rating findings in the ‘Rate’ stage of assessment.
  • Discuss the use of GCS assessment in children.

At the end of this module participants will be able to:

  • This is learning objective 1.
  • This is learning objective 2.
  • This is learning objective 3.
  • This is learning objective 4.
  • This is learning objective 5.
  • This is learning objective 6.

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