Introduction: This study compares the Full Outline of Unresponsiveness (FOUR) Score scale with the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) when evaluating a patient’s level of responsiveness in the neuro/trauma intensive care unit of a large medical center. This new scoring tool evaluates 4 functional categories: eye response, motor response, brainstem reflexes, and respiratory pattern.
Aims and Methods: A total of 57 patients 18 years or older were randomly selected as a convenience sample of those admitted to the neuro/trauma intensive care unit and were assessed using both the standard GCS and the FOUR Score scale. The raters then completed a short survey (43 completed) to compare the 2 tools.
Results: Rater agreement was very good with the FOUR Score scale and for the GCS; however, nurses favored the use of the FOUR Score scale (81.4%) over the GCS (0.00%) to assess the neurological responsiveness of their patients as the generally accepted assessment tool.
Conclusion: The FOUR Score scale provides a reliable neurological assessment of intubated patients where the GCS does not differentiate patient status once intubated.