A traumatic brain injury can have a dramatic impact on your life even when you are not the one who sustains it. When a family member suffers one, they will often rely on you to help them going forward. Whether that help comes from emotional guidance, personal assistance or financial support (or a combination of all three) depends largely on the extent of their injury.
How can you know that in the immediate aftermath of their injury? A clinical observation test known as the Glasgow Coma Scale may offer an indication.
What is the Glasgow Coma Scale?
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Glasgow Coma Scale estimates the extent of a TBI by assigning a score based on your loved one’s responses immediately following their TBI. The responses it assesses include:
- Verbal communication
- Eye movement
- Motor skills
The closer your family member’s responses are to the baseline expectation, the better their overall GCS score will be.
Breaking down GCS scores
A GCS score between 13-15 indicates a minor TBI. This often referred to as a concussion, and is usually something from which your loved one can recover. They may, however, have to deal with certain cognitive issues (and suffering one concussion also makes them more susceptible to sustaining another). If their GCS score is between nine and 12, they may have suffered a moderate brain injury. Again, recovery from such an injury may be possible, yet the recuperative time table is likely to be longer. A score of eight or below indicates a severe brain injury that will likely leave them dependent on yours and other’s care indefinitely.
The bottom is that no matter the level of injury, a long road to recovery is likely.