No Missouri license is required to be a home caregiver

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Thursday a mid-Missouri caregiver is out of jail, but still facing elder abuse charges.

Here in Missouri being a caregiver is a job almost anyone could claim.

ABC 17 News looked into state regulations after the arrest of Melodie Owings.

She posted bond early Thursday morning.

Owings is charged with neglecting a 77-year-old man she was taking care of in a home off Worley Street last summer.

She allegedly packed several others, including a sex offender into his home.

Police found the place covered in cockroaches and trash.

In Missouri anyone can claim that they are a home caregiver.

There are no laws requiring a person to be licensed.

Unless they are a part of licensed agency.

"I find it really concerning that there could be individuals in the home of disabled or elderly clients and possibly take advantage of them," said Sarah Sharp with Oxford Healthcare.

That is what happened to 77-year-old Earl Kemp.

According to court documents, his caregiver, Owings took advantage of Kemp and his home.

ABC 17 News tried to find out Owings qualification.

On her facebook page she claims to be a nurse.

ABC 17 News checked with both Missouri and Oklahoma where she claimed to go to nursing school and was not able to find her license.

"Anyone can just hang a shingle out get a business license but you don't need a state license like a doctor's office would," said Matthew Hayes, owner of BrightStar Care.

ABC 17 News talked with several licensed agencies Thursday.

They tell us state guidelines requires criminal background checks and screenings for employees.

The price for caregivers in an agency is often more expensive than those found unaffiliated with an agency, often online.

However, licensed caregivers explain the price difference really covers the cost of making sure the caregiver is qualified.

"If you were to hire someone and pay them out of your own pocket without these oversights there are no licenses in place that have to be there," said Sharp.

State law requires caregivers be registered or licensed practical nurses if administering medicine.

However, one is not needed if they are just reminding their client to take their medicine.

comments powered by Disqus

ABC 17 News Stormtrack

  • Saturday February 17 Morning Weather

Top Videos