TORONTO -- Many residents of long-term care homes have found themselves rushed to hospital wards in their battle against COVID-19.

But recovering doesn’t necessarily assure a safe future for these seniors.

After a hospital stay, the families of those who recover are saddled with a difficult decision.

Should they place their loved one back in a long-term care situation -- where they caught the virus in the first place -- or shoulder the burden of caring for them at home?

One of the families that had to wrestle with that choice was the Wheelands.

Mother’s Day was bittersweet for 87-year old Connie Wheeland, who celebrated at her new apartment in Montreal. Although family surrounded her, one person was missing. Last month, she lost her husband Ken to COVID-19.

Her son Peter told CTV News, “My mother grieving and she was grieving alone.”

Wheeland also got the virus, but survived after spending 10 days in hospital. As many as 46 other residents at her long-term care facility, Maison Herron, died.

“It’s a building that was full of nightmares for my mother,” her son said.

Those nightmares only got worse when a doctor told a recovering Wheeland that she would have to return to the nursing home once she was well.

“We said under no circumstances is she going back to Herron,” her son said.

The family was adamant they wanted her home. But first, they had to prove they could look after her, a task that Peter and his sister, Judie, took seriously.

They get a bit of help from two workers who come by daily, but most of the care falls to the two siblings, who are both retired.

They are aware that not everyone has the time and ability to take care of their older relatives.

“A lot of people wouldn’t be able to do that,” Peter acknowledged.

One person backed into a corner is Kim Luhmann, whose mother, Marilyn, has been in a Belleville, Ont. hospital since suffering a stroke.

Officials have told Luhmann that her mother needs proper long-term care.

“Not a chance would I send my mother to a nursing home during a pandemic," Luhmann said. 

But the hospital needs the bed, and Luhmann is already struggling to juggle working with caring for her aging father.

"I can’t bring her home because I can’t care for her with the small amount of home care they offer,” Luhmann said.

As a result, her mother is still in hospital, waiting for placement to a long-term care facility.

“It’s heart wrenching, and to put her into a nursing home,” Luhmann said. “It just seems like we’re just giving up.”

So far, there have been 271 outbreaks at Ontario’s 626 long-term care homes, with 189 outbreaks still unresolved. These homes now account for around three quarters of all COVID-19 deaths in Ontario.