Faculty Sketch

Cathy A. Maxwell, PhD, RN

Assistant Professor



Current Research/Scholarly/Clinical Activity

Dr. Maxwell’s research is directed at understanding outcome trajectories of older adults after physical injury; and development and implementation of interventions to facilitate patient-centered, post-injury care. Dr. Maxwell’s identification of the high prevalence of physical frailty among injured older adults led to a study that determined the influence of pre-injury cognition and functional status on one-year outcomes (functional decline, mortality). Dr. Maxwell is interested in the delivery of early geriatric palliative care to frail patients who may benefit from comprehensive assessment of needs, symptom management, establishment of goals of care, and shared decision making.



Research News at Vanderbilt: Maxwell Studies Trauma Recovery in Older Population

Nurse News: The Frailty Factor



Pending application    
(submitted 11/30/15)  

Principal Investigator, NINR/PCRC R21: PAR-15-337
Nurse-Initiated Screening and Interdisciplinary Communication (NISIC) as a Trigger for Early Geriatric Palliative Care  


Principal Investigator, Vanderbilt CTSA grant UllTR000445 from NCATS/NIH:              
The Impact of Hospitalized Inured Older Adults’ Pre-injury Impairments on Post-injury Mobilization and Outcomes.  

09/2011- 12/2011  

Principal Investigator, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing PhD Student Research Award: Administratively-mediated Variables and Outcomes of Hospitalized Injured Older Adults.  


Representative Publications

  • Maxwell, C.A., Mion, L.C., Mukherjee, K., Dietrich, M.S., Minnick, A., May, A., Miller, R.S. (2015). Pre-injury physical frailty and cognitive impairment among geriatric trauma patients determines post-injury functional recovery and survival. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, Nov. 21 (Epub ahead of print)
  • Maxwell, C.A., Mion, L.C. (2015). Geriatric trauma: An opportunity for proactive palliative care. Geriatric Nursing, 36(6), 475-6.
  • Maxwell, C.A. (2015). Trauma in the geriatric population. Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America, 27(2), 183-97.
  • Maxwell, C.A., Dietrich, M.S., Mion, L.C., Minnick, A. (2015) Pre-injury physical function of injured older adults: patient versus proxy responses. Journal of the American Geriatrics Association, 63(7), 1443-7.
  • Maxwell, C.A., Mion, L.C., Mukherjee, K., Dietrich, M.S., Minnick, A., May, A., Miller, R.S. (2015) Feasibility of screening for pre-injury frailty in hospitalized injured older adults. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 78(4), 844-51.
  • Maxwell, C.A., Miller, R.S., Dietrich, M.S., Fallon, W.F., Mion, L.C., Minnick, A. (2015) The aging of America: A comprehensive look at over 25,000 geriatric trauma admissions to U.S. hospitals. American Surgeon, 81(6), 630-6.
  • Maxwell, C.A., Mion, L.C., Dietrich, M.S., Fallon, W.F., Minnick, A. (2014). Hospitals’ adoption of targeted cognitive and functional status quality indicators for vulnerable elders. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 29(4), 354-362.
  • Maxwell, C.A. (2014). Availability of selected Institute of Medicine recommendations for geriatric care in hospitals providing care to injured older adults. Geriatric Nursing, 35(2 Suppl): S27-31.
  • Maxwell, C.A. (2013). Screening hospitalized injured older adults for cognitive impairment and pre-injury functional impairment. Applied Nursing Research, 26(3), 146-150.
  • Maxwell, C.A., Mion, L.C., Minnick, A. (2013). Geriatric resources in acute care hospitals and trauma centers: A scarce commodity. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 39(12), 33-42.
  • Maxwell, C.A., Mion, L.C., & Dietrich, M.S. (2012). Hospitalized injured older adults: Clinical utility of a rib fracture scoring system. Journal of Trauma Nursing, 19(3), 167-173.
  • Krau, S.D., Maxwell, C.A., & Thibeau, S. (2011). Creating a tool to evaluate patient performance. Nursing Clinics of North America, 46: 351-365.
  • Maxwell, C.A. & Mion, L.C. (2011). Hospitalized injured older adults: A 21st century challenge. Geriatric Nursing, 32(2), 130-132.

Publications – Book chapters

Maxwell, C.A., Rader, E., Fallon, W.F. (2013). Outcomes for surgical care in the elderly. In Yellon, J.A. & Luchette, F.A. (Eds.) Geriatric Trauma, New York: Springer, ISBN-10: 1461485002.


Professional Organizations

2005-present               Member: Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI)
2008-present               Member: Gerontological Society of America (GSA)
2009-present               Member: Society of Trauma Nurses (STN)
2010-present               Member: Southern Nursing Research Society (SNRS)
2012-present               Member: Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science (CANS)
2013-present               Member: American Geriatrics Society (AGS)
2013-present               Member: American Trauma Society
2015-present               Member: Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association (HPNA)