CHART SMART: Documenting level of consciousness
Ann Huntley RN, APRN, BC, CCRN, MSN

August 2008 
Volume 38  Number 8
Pages 63 - 64
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Huntley, Ann RN, APRN, BC, CCRN, MSN

Issue: Volume 38(8), August 2008, p 63–64 Publication Type: [Department: … & more: CHART SMART] Publisher: © 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc. Institution(s): Ann Huntley is a clinical nurse specialist at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, Ga.

LEVEL OF CONSCIOUSNESS (LOC) indicates a patient's level of arousal and awareness. Simply by walking into a patient's room you may be able to observe her awareness, but how you assess LOC and document it can be subjective.

To accurately determine LOC, use objective criteria, such as eye opening, motor response, and verbalization, both spontaneously and on command. These three criteria are used in the Glasgow Coma Scale, designed primarily for patients with impaired consciousness following brain injury. (See Reviewing the Glasgow Coma Scale. )

Complex assessment

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