A neurological assessment involves thoroughly assessing a patient’s level of consciousness, motor function and pupillary reaction.

The purpose of a neurological assessment is to detect abnormalities that may suggest brain injury, or disease.

The information obtained will help determine patient care needs and the necessity for medical intervention. Such an assessment is an essential skill for ED nurses as they will often be at the forefront of caring with patients who present with an altered consciousness level as a result of a head injury, intoxication infection or disease symptoms.

Delay in recognising neurological deterioration can result in patient harm, so it is extremely important that nurses are efficient and accurate in neurological assessment and know when there is a need to escalate care.

Neurological assessment
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Neurological Assessment and GCS
Symptoms of neurological changes often vary but can include sensory changes, motor changes, reflex changes, altered awareness and/or personality, altered level of consciousness and headaches (Koutoukidis et al. 2017).

Neuro Checks & Assessment
Neuro checks are used to assess an individuals neurological functions and level of consciousness in order determine whether or not individual is functioning properly and reacting appropriately to the tests being performing.

Glasgow Coma Scale
The Glasgow Coma Scale provides a practical method for assessment of impairment of conscious level in response to defined stimuli.

Life in the fast lane
Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) by Chris Nickson, Last updated August 30, 2017

Braine, M. E., & Cook, N. (2017). The Glasgow Coma Scale and evidence‐informed practice: a critical review of where we are and where we need to be. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 26(1-2), 280-293. doi:10.1111/jocn.13390

Scheetz, L. J., Horst, M. A., & Arbour, R. B. (2018). Early neurological deterioration in older adults with traumatic brain injury. International Emergency Nursing, 37, 29-34. doi:10.1016/j.ienj.2016.11.003