This is essentially equivalent to home health services in the United States. I will be referring to these services with regards to Medicare and Medicaid here. If you have private insurance, you need to review the terms of your own insurer regarding home health care (it isn't likely to be terribly much except possibly some provision of post-hospitalization care, as I understand it, but as I say you'll have to check because I don't have expertise on private insurers only Medicare and Medicaid). By the way, I receive both Medicare and Medicaid home health funding for my home health care; prior to becoming ill my source of billing for my self employment teaching autistic children was billing various types of home care waivers (there are MANY different types of waivers ... another story for another day). Therefore, my information here is coming from "both sides" of the fence.
Medicare: First and foremost, to get home health care services through Medicare, you need to be eligible for and obtain Medicare. One does this by being ... meh, no need to repeat myself ... that information is HERE ... Medicare goes with Social Security so feel free to lose yourself in the boredom of government web design (kidding, mostly):
As to what Medicare can do for you if you HAVE Medicare, the answer is, not as much as you'd like. Their home health coverage is a little limited, and seems to have some odd caveats:
"Home Health Services: Limited to medically-necessary part-time or intermittent skilled nursing care, or physical therapy, speech-language pathology, or a continuing need for occupational therapy. A doctor must order your care, and a Medicare-certified home health agency must provide it. Home health services may also include medical social services, part-time or intermittent home health aide services, durable medical equipment (see page 30), and medical supplies for use at home. You must be homebound, which means that leaving home is a major effort."
Yes, that's a note referring you to page 30 of your handy-dandy "Medicare & You 2010" book. Yes, I checked; the stuff on durable medical supplies is on page 30. No, I have no idea why their web design people so shamelessly just slap stuff up there from the handbook without at least editing out "page" references that obviously don't make terribly much sense when you're reading it on their website rather than holding the handbook in your hands. Yes, it would have made a LOT more sense to insert a hyperlink to the appropriate paragraph on their website their instead. No, I have no idea why they hired the buffoons they did rather than me to do their web UI, but here we are. ;-)
If I recall my service plan (a legal document that shows what services you are getting in your home health care, who is providing what, and how much is allowed to be billed to what--i.e. Medicare or Medicaid--by whom for what--i.e., service or supply--each month), Medicare has payed for my visiting nurse, PT [physical therapy] in my home (including the home evaluation to determine if this was needed), and ... I don't know if they have done any of my other services to date. I'm pretty sure all of my durable medical supplies have been done through Medicaid, but theoretically (barring circumstances not worth explaining here) my walker OR wheelchair could have been done through Medicare (yes I said or, they will not do two different mobility devices for the same person unless it's like 10 years apart or some such ridiculousness). Medicare does NOT do compression stockings under their durable medical supply coverage, btw; Medicaid does. (Thought I'd toss that in here because it took me a while to figure out how to get my stinkin' stockin's covered, LOL. Let me know if anyone needs more on how to get those through Medicaid. It's all in the diagnosis codes!!)
Okay, so Medicare in a nutshell: Speech, OT [occupational therapy], PT, nursing, durable medical equipment, and *maybe* home health aides. Care is provided through agencies, not independent providers. They have a program where they often make you borrow/rent certain durable medical equipment (e.g., hospital beds) for a certain length of time before you can own it, which sounded bizarro to me when I first heard of it because none of the Medicaid waivers (or any of the other state-run waivers I've worked under) do that. But I suppose it's cost effective or something. To qualify your doctor must basically prescribe home health care for you, specifying that s/he thinks you need a nurse and/or speech/OT/PT for X purpose(s); one way that this happens is upon discharge from a hospital stay, but that's not the only way so talk to your doctor if you think this is something for which you might qualify and which you might need.
Medicaid: Yes, you need to get Medicaid first. (Or Medical in Sunny California.) Contact your local Department of Job and Family Services to find out about this. One HUGE caveat: if your income is above the cutoff to qualify for Medicaid, you may still be able to apply and receive Medicaid under a "spend down" (not sure if the name varies by state) program where you basically pay the difference to buy your Medicaid. Oddly, in my state, once I got approved for a Medicaid Home Health Waiver, I no longer had a spend down obligation. Red tape is weird. Lesson learned: it pays to ask.
Medicaid Home Health Waivers cover the same types of services as listed by Medicare above (skilled therapies, nursing, durable medical supplies, and home health aides), but are not limited to agency providers, so you can choose independent providers for your care. This post is going to get even longer (already SO long, gasp!) if I get into the pros and cons there, so I'll make that a separate post if anyone indicates interest in that topic. Also, there are less limitations on the services provided; for example, there are more services that home health aides provide under Medicaid if I recall correctly. Also, Medicaid waivers cover home modifications in addition to durable medical supplies; this includes things such as widening doorways in your home for wheelchair accessibility, adding wheelchair ramps, installing air conditioning units (even if an electrician must do wiring for a new outlet for it--and yes I got approval for the one in my bedroom this year--thank you Medicaid!!!!!), etc. They've even paid to fence in yards for special needs children when deemed medically necessary--it's a REALLY great program that helps keep disabled people living safely in their homes rather than forcing people to be institutionalized. Sorry, that's my soapbox in favor of Medicaid waivers and their home modifications department. Anyhoo ... in terms of my service plan, my Medicaid waiver pays for all of my home health aide hours (two shifts a day, seven days a week), my home modifications (like the aforementioned air conditioner), and my durable medical supplies (shower chair, adapted shower head, rollator walker, etc.).