• coma;
  • Coma Recovery Scale - Revised;
  • intensive care;
  • International Classification of Nursing Practice;
  • nursing assessment;
  • recovery of function

simões j.f.f.l., jesus l.m.t., voegeli d., sá-couto p., fernandes j. & morgado m. (2011)Assessment of comatose patients: a Portuguese instrument based on the Coma Recovery Scale – Revised and using nursing standard terminology. Journal of Advanced Nursing67(5), 1129–1141.


Aims.  To translate and adapt the Coma Recovery Scale – Revised to Portuguese using the ICNP® (International Classification of Nursing Practice) terminology and to determine if it can be administered reliably across examiners.

Background.  Assessment tools for the person in a coma can contribute to the planning, implementation and evaluation of care. It also strengthens the autonomy and responsibility of nurses, contributing to the safety, quality and satisfaction of those who deliver and receive care. This allows the sharing of information amongst healthcare professionals and supports decision-making within a multidisciplinary team.

Methods.  A convenience sample of 20 patients admitted to an intensive care unit constituted the study participants. The data were collected during 2009. The instrument was administered by the same two raters in all the patients on two consecutive days. The total and subscale score agreement was then examined, using inter-rater and test–retest analyses. The intercorrelation dependencies between the subscales were also analysed.

Results.  The results of the analyses suggest that the instrument can be used reliably, even when there are some patient fluctuations. The correlation of the subscale scores was high and better than the results presented for the original Coma Recovery Scale – Revised, indicating that this scale is a homogeneous measure of neurobehavioural function.

Conclusion.  The new instrument can be administered reliably by trained examiners and produces a high degree of reproducibility in scores between raters over repeated assessments. We believe that assessment tools that can assess the communication ability of patients will be relevant to evaluating the continuity of care, and promote the effectiveness of care.