In order to accurately treat brain injury patients, the medical profession has developed a number of rating systems to provide context and common language around the types of injuries people suffer and their state of injury or recovery. The three most common rating scales used for treating brain injuries are the:

  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Glasgow Outcome Scale
  • Rancho Los Amigos Scale
Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS)

The GCS is used to assess levels of consciousness after a brain injury. The scale evaluates the patient on three elements and each element is scaled individually. These elements are:

  • Eye (scaled 1 – 4)
  • Verbal (scaled 1 – 5)
  • Motor (scaled 1 – 6)

Once a patient is assessed and given a number in each category, those category numbers are aggregated. A higher number for a patient indicates a greater level of consciousness. For example, a 3 indicates a person who is in a deep coma, or who may be dead, and a person ranked at 15 is fully awake.

Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS)

The GOS (which is sometimes referred to as the ‘Glasgow Outcome Score’) is used to categorize patients who have suffered brain injuries. The categories are labeled so that common definitions and terminology can be used to describe different degrees of recovery. The GOS is ranked 1 – 5, with the different levels designated as:

  • Death
  • Persistent Vegetative State
  • Severe Disability
  • Moderate Disability
  • Low Disability
Rancho Los Amigos Scale

The Rancho Los Amigos Scale is used to rate the condition of individuals who have suffered traumatic brain injuries. It is more descriptive than the GOS and involves 10 levels, rather than 5.  The levels are as follows:

  • No Response: Total Assistance
  • Generalized Response: Total Assistance
  • Localized Response: Total Assistance
  • Confused/Agitated: Maximal Assistance
  • Confused, Inappropriate Non-Agitated: Maximal Assistance
  • Confused, Appropriate: Moderate Assistance
  • Automatic, Appropriate: Minimal Assistance for Daily Living Skills
  • Purposeful, Appropriate: Stand-by Assistance
  • Purposeful, Appropriate: Stand-by Assistance on Request
  • Purposeful, Appropriate: Modified Independent

A complete description on the levels of the Rancho Los Amigos Scale, and details on each level, can be found through the Centre for Neuro Skills in their resources section.

Your doctors and supporting medical personnel can also help you understand how the different scales are used for treating brain injuries.