scale (1)


[L. scala, staircase]

1. A graduated or proportioned measure.
2. A tool that rates people, places, or things in relation to one another.
Glasgow Coma Scale

Eye openingspontaneously4
to speech3
to pain2
Verbal responseoriented5
Motor responseobeys commands6
localizes to pain5
withdraws from pain4
flexion to pain3
extension to pain2

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absolute scale

A scale used for indicating low temperatures based on absolute zero. It is used in thermodynamic calculations of, for example, heat/energy transfer.
SYN: SEE: Kelvin scale
SEE: absolute temperature; SEE: absolute zero

Activities-Specific Balance Confidence Scale

ABBR: ABC A 16-item instrument designed to measure a patient’s perceived level of confidence in performing common activities of daily living (ADLs) without losing balance and falling. The patient ranks his confidence to complete each item from 0% (no confidence) to 100% (complete confidence).

ASIA Impairment Scale

A method of assessing the degree of motor and sensory impairment in spinal cord injured patients. The assessment is based on an examination of the perineum and anus, i.e., on the S4-S5 level of the spinal cord. Grade: A—Complete: No motor or sensory function; Grade B—Incomplete, sensory function is intact, but motor function is absent below and including the S4-S5 level; Grade C—Incomplete, motor function is preserved below the neurological level and more than half of the primary muscles have a muscle grade test of less than 3; Grade D—Incomplete: Motor function is preserved and at least half of the muscles below the S4-S5 level have a muscle grade test of 3 or better; and Grade E—Normal.

Borg dyspnea scale

SEE: Borg dyspnea scale

Braden scale

SEE: Braden scale

Brazelton Neonatal Assessment Scale

SEE: Brazelton Neonatal Assessment Scale

Celsius scale

SEE: Celsius, Anders

centigrade scale

Celsius scale.
SEE: Celsius, Anders

Clinical Linguistic and Auditory Milestone Scale

ABBR: CLAMS An office test used to evaluate language development in children from birth to age 3.
SEE: Denver Developmental Screening Test

scale of contrast

The range of densities on a radiograph; the number of tonal grays that are visible.

Disability Rating Scale

An instrument to gauge the functional capabilities and progress of a person with moderate to severe brain injury. A person who has no deficits after recovery from brain injury receives a score of 0 (not impaired). A severely impaired person who is unemployable, unable to care for himself, and unable to open his eyes, move, or speak receives the lowest score, 29.

Fahrenheit scale

SEE: Fahrenheit, Daniel Gabriel

Falls Efficacy Scale

falls efficacy scale ABBR: FES A questionnaire to assess the level of confidence that patients have in performing activities of daily living without fear of falling.

French scale

A system to indicate the diameter of catheters and sounds. Each unit on the scale is approximately equivalent to one-third mm; thus a 21 French sound is 7 mm in diameter. The size of the diameter of the catheter increases as the numerical value of French increases.

Geriatric Depression Scale

ABBR: GDS A 30-item questionnaire to screen for depression in older adults, e.g., when they first become eligible for Medicare.

Glasgow Coma Scale

ABBR: GCS A scale to determine a patient's level of consciousness. It is a rating from 3 to 15 of the patient's ability to open his or her eyes, respond verbally, and move normally. The GCS is used primarily during the examination of patients with trauma or stroke. Repeated examinations can help determine if the patient's brain function is improving or deteriorating. Many EMS systems use the GCS for triage and for determining which patients should be intubated in the field. SEE TABLE: Glasgow Coma Scale; SEE: coma; SEE: Trauma Score

Glasgow Outcome Scale

A scale that assesses current neurological awareness of the environment, and recovery and disability in all types of brain injury. The scale is used in the evaluation of trauma, stupor, or coma, and at prescribed time intervals, such as 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year after injury. The Glasgow group reports the greatest recovery in the 6-month period after injury. The nurse (or other health care practitioner) notes the patient's abilities at a particular time using this practical scale: Good outcome: may have minimal disabling sequelae but returns to independent functioning comparable to preinjury level and a full-time job; Moderate disability: is capable of independent functioning but not of returning to full-time employment; Moderate disability: is capable of independent functioning but not of returning to full-time employment; Severe disability: depends on others for some aspect of daily living; Persistive vegetative state: has no obvious cortical functioning; Dead.

Global Assessment of Functioning Scale

ABBR: GAF scale A scale that rates a person's social, occupational, and psychological functioning. The scale rates from high functioning, i.e., highly adapted and integrated to one's environment, to poorly functioning, i.e., self-destructive, homicidal, isolated, or lacking the rudiments of self-care. There is a children’s version of the scale, called the Children’s Global Assessment of Functioning (CGAF).

Global Assessment of Relational Functioning Scale

ABBR: GARF scale A measure of the degree to which a family meets the emotional and functional needs of its members.

GRBAS scale

An assessment tool for evaluating vocal problems, relying on a systematic analysis of a person's vocal grade, roughness, breathiness, ssthenia, and strain.

hydrogen ion scale

A scale used to express the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The classic pH scale extends from 0.00 (total acidity) to 14 (total alkalinity), the numbers running in inverse order of hydrogen ion (pH) concentration. The pH value is the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion (pH) concentration of a solution, expressed in moles per liter.
As the hydrogen ion concentration decreases, a change of 1 pH unit means a 10-fold decrease in hydrogen ion concentration. Thus a solution with a pH of 1.0 is 10 times more acid than one with a pH of 2.0 and 100 times more acid than one with a pH of 3.0. A pH of 7.0 indicates neutrality. Very concentrated (>1 molar) mineral acids and bases go beyond the classic scale to values <0.00 and >14, respectively.

As the hydrogen ion concentration varies in a definite reciprocal manner with the hydroxyl ion (OH) concentration, a pH reading above 7.0 indicates alkalinity. In the human body, arterial blood is slightly alkaline, having a normal pH range of 7.35 to 7.45.


Karnofsky Scale

SEE: Karnofsky Index.

Kelvin scale

SEE: Kelvin, Lord

Klein-Bell ADL Scale

SEE: Klein-Bell ADL Scale

Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale

SEE: Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale

Morse Falls Scale

SEE: Morse Falls Scale

Motor Assessment Scale

An eight-item measurement tool used to assess motor function and physical mobility after a stroke.

Norton scale

SEE: Norton scale

Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living Scale

A widely used European scale of a person's activities of daily living that measures mobility and the ability to function in domestic tasks, kitchen tasks, and leisure activities.
SEE: instrumental activities of daily living

Oswestry Disability Scale

SEE: Oswestry Disability Index.

pain scale

An assessment tool used to measure the intensity of a patient's discomfort.
SEE: Numerical Rating Scale; SEE: visual analog scale

Norton scale

SEE: Norton scale

Numerical Rating Scale

Numeric Rating Scale. ABBR: NRS A variation of the visual analog scale that uses a scalar numbering system to objectify a patient’s pain. Most numeric rating scales use a 10-cm line with tick marks spaced 1 cm apart. The leftmost mark is labeled “0” and has the notation “No Pain.” The rightmost mark is labeled “10” and the notation “Worst pain imaginable.” The patient is asked to indicate where on the continuum he or she would rate the current intensity of pain.

resource-based relative value scale

ABBR: RBRVS A scale for determining the monetary value of evaluation and management services provided to patients, i.e., services provided to patients by nonsurgeons. The scale is based on the total work required for a given service and on other considerations, including the cost of the physician's practice, the income lost during training, and the relative cost of liability insurance.
SEE: managed care; SEE: managed competition

Stroke Impact Scale

Stroke Scale An instrument to measure the effect of a stroke on a person's mobility, speech, social activities, manual dexterity, strength, emotions, memory, and daily activities.

Unified Parkinson disease rating scale

ABBR: UPDRS An instrument that rates the severity of Parkinson disease. It consists of 42 items and measures the effects of the disease on a patient's activities of daily living, behavior, mentation, mood, movement, and the complications he or she may experience from treatment.

Vancouver scar scale

SEE: Burn scar index.

visual analog scale

An instrument to quantify a subjective experience, such as the intensity of pain. A commonly used visual analog scale is a 10-cm line labeled with “worst pain imaginable” on the right border and “no pain” on the left border. The patient is instructed to make a mark along the line to represent the intensity of pain currently being experienced. The clinician records the distance of the mark in centimeters from the left end of the scale.

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale

SEE: Wechsler, David

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children

SEE: Wechsler, David

Zubrod performance scale

SEE: Zubrod performance scale