American HomePatient, founded by Atlanta businessman Ed Wissing, swaps $21 million worth of stocks to merge with Franklin-based Wessex Corp. As part of the transaction, the company assumes the Wessex name, merges management teams and relocates to Franklin. (It will later situate in Brentwood’s Maryland Farms.) American HomePatient becomes the largest Wessex subsidiary.

In 1988, Canada-based Diversicare will acquire Wessex and move the Diversicare headquarters to Franklin. Six years later, in 1994, Dr. Charles Birkett’s company will spin off its nursing home business into Advocat.