Disability Rating Scale
The Disability Rating Scale (DRS) was developed in the late 1970’s as an alternative to the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS), which was thought to be insensitive in assessing Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The DRS was established and tested with older juvenile and adult individuals with moderate and severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) in an inpatient rehabilitation setting. A key advantage of the DRS is its ability to track an individual from coma to community. The reason measurement across a wide span of recovery is possible, stems from the various items in this scale which address all three World Health Organization categories: impairment, disability, and handicap.
The maximum score an individual can obtain on the DRS is 29 (extreme vegetative state). A person without a disability would score zero. The DRS rating must be reliable, i.e., obtained while the individual is not under the influence of anesthesia, other mind-altering drugs, recent seizure, or recovering from surgical anesthesia. The scale is intended to measure general functional changes over the course of one’s recovery.
The DRS can be self-administered or scored through an interview with the client or the family member. The ease of scoring and the concision of the scale are undeniable reasons for its popularity. Scoring time can range from 30 seconds (if one is very familiar with the scale and the client) to 15 minutes, assuming the rater must interview the client/family and seek additional information from available staff.
The DRS has 8 components:
- Eye Opening
- Best Communication Ability
- Best Motor Response
- Cognitive Ability for Feeding
- Cognitive Ability for Toileting
- Cognitive Ability for Grooming
- Level of Functioning