Making a Difference: Alive Hospice

Leaders in all aspects of end-of-life resources, providing comprehensive care for terminally ill patients and support for grieving loved ones.

By Belle Meade Living Resident writer Arlene Averbuch

Alive Hospice is a nonprofit organization that provides hospice care and end-of-life services in Middle Tennessee. It is committed to providing personalized care that meets the unique needs of patients and their families. Because of its donor support, Alive goes above and beyond standard hospice care. It provides additional services to the entire community including counseling and support for caregivers, grief therapy for adults and children, end-of-life care education, and community building and remembrance events for healing.

Alive Hospice was founded in 1975 by two well-known Nashville Physicians, Dr. David Barton, a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and the late Dr. John Flexner who was a Professor of Hematology at Vanderbilt and a long time researcher in lymphoma. Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Lynn P. Barton, was a Co-founder of Alive Hospice. She is a Social Work Therapist in private practice and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt.

“I feel Alive is like one of my grown children and I could not be more proud of the adult the organization has become,” Barton said. “I am so very appreciative of all the help it has received along the way from so many caring persons to get it to this place.”

Belle Meade resident Sally Stack has been involved for the last twenty years at Alive Hospice.

“It has been my honor to volunteer at Alive Hospice,” Stack said. “This experience of serving the residents and their families has been life-altering for me. Individuals come to Hospice and they receive compassionate end-of-life care. The residents, family and friends I have met are true examples of the incredible strength of the human spirit. I have participated in several volunteer opportunities over the years and with each position I have seen and experienced the amazing work of the entire staff at Alive. It is truly a very special place.”

Renee Wisby, Director of Volunteer Services, supervises the recruitment, orientation and utilization of volunteers. She began her career at Alive as a home-care Social Worker providing support to patients and their families. She then became a Clinical Director and supervised two of their interdisciplinary home care teams. After nine years, Wisby moved into the Director of Volunteer position and has been in this role for ten years. She proudly boasts that Alive Hospice has 400 volunteers who assist in all departments: clinical, administrative, development, and grief services.

“I was drawn to working with our many volunteers because they are truly dedicated to our agency, come from various backgrounds, and contribute so much towards the work we do,” Wisby said.

To become a volunteer, go to At Alive Hospice programs such as Pet Peace of Mind, Music Therapy, Massage Therapy and Hair Styling are just a few of the many programs where volunteers are needed. They also need people to help by delivering meals, sending care packages to staff, writing letters and making tuck-in calls to patients.

Alive and The Bluebird is a songwriter series benefiting Alive Hospice. The Bluebird Cafe and Alive Hospice have a year-long streaming series with a star-studded singer/songwriter lineup. Covid-19 has forced longtime friends and partners to go forward and channel their creativity in new directions by live-streaming from the cafe. The concert series also includes some outdoor VIP events. For tickets and event information visit

Belle Meade Living is so happy to spotlight Alive Hospice in Making a Difference. Dr. David Barton reaffirms how important community involvement is within the organization.

“Alive could not have become the dedicated and caring organization it has become without the support of so many people in our community,” Barton Said. “The organization is truly a dream come true that serves needs around the end of life that have, in the past, too often gone unmet.”

Our Belle Meade resident Sally Stack and all who volunteer and support Alive Hospice are a wonderful example of how our Nashville Community truly cares.