Morriston Park Nursing Home says it has spaces available, but because of ministry funding cuts, it can't afford to take care of some higher needs patients.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care wouldn't comment on the specific cost changes, but Spokesperson David Jensen said in a statement:

“The ministry implemented financial policy changes in January 2013 that provide Long-Term Care homes with greater funding and managerial flexibility, and improve business conditions and quality of resident care."

Karen Bolger has worked at the nursing home for eight years. She used to spend between $20,000 to $30,000 a year on care items like IV’s, special mattresses and feeding tubes. Now she says she's limited to just $6000.

“Ethically this is very challenging because we've always accepted high acuity residents and now unfortunately we have no choice but to refuse them,” she says.

This year Morriston Park has had 10 spaces open up. Of those 10 spaces, staff say they had to turn away four applicants because they couldn't afford to take care of them.

“Sometimes my heart is aching, but what can you do, you can't do anything. You’re just following (management),” says Nurse Nancy Darling.

Darling says she can't dress wounds properly because the home can't buy the right materials.

“We can’t help them because our hands are tied up. We don’t have (the) budget,” she adds.

If a patient is turned away they could be sent a facility further from family, or stay in a hospital longer, which costs a lot more money.

Bolger has reached out to hospitals asking for donations, and has asked families to call their MPP.

According to the Ontario Long-Term Care Association, small nursing homes like Morriston Park make up 40% of Ontario homes. The group is pushing for a strategy to help small homes, as they have to adopt ministry guidelines that can be much more expensive.