Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Global Deterioration Scale Definition:

A psychiatric tool charting stages of dementia.

Related Terms: Dementia, ADEPT - Advanced Dementia Prognostic Tool

Also known as GDS.

See also Folstein MMSE.

The Global Deterioration Scale is a useful and frequent tool of medical evidence in adult guardianship cases.

In a 1982 article which introduced the tool, the American Psychiatry Association described the Global Deterioration Scale as follows:

"Cognitive decline associated with old age and consistent with the diagnosis of primary degenerative dementia is a unique clinical syndrome with characteristic phenomena and progression. (The) Global Deterioration Scale (is) for the assessment of primary degenerative dementia and delineation of its stages ... against behavioral, neuroanatomic, and neurophysiologic measures in patients with primary degenerative dementia."

The scale sets out seven (7) stages:

  1. Normal;
  2. Objectively normal but complaints of mild memory loss;\
  3. Mild cognitive impairment
  4. Early dementia
  5. Moderate dementia
  6. Moderately severe dementia; and
  7. Severe dementia.

According to the GDS, the ability to, live independently is compromised as of the 4th stage. "Complex care" is the usual care for those in stages 6 or 7.




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