Street Run Do's and Don'ts - Street Medicine Detroit

Street Run Do's and Don'ts

Street Run Do's

Familiarize yourself with our H&P form

It's a great idea to take a look at our form before going out on a run. This will help you feel more comfortable with the questions you'll need to ask each patient you come across. We expect all volunteers to follow our form as closely as possible regardless of previous experiences.

Engage the patient “on their level”

Be conscious of the patient's positioning. If the patient is standing, stand with them. If the patient is sitting, sit across from them. Meet them at eye level.

Give consideration to the patient’s “comfort zone”

People experiencing homelessness are, in many ways, just like everyone else--they value privacy, dignity, and personal space. Keep this in mind when you are engaging in a medical encounter, taking care to assess the patient's preference for interview location and level of comfort. Be aware of both verbal and non-verbal cues, and be open to adjusting the location of the interview and/or your distance from the patient as necessary. 

Acknowledge the patient’s priorities

Given our population and the nature of the care we provide, understand that some patients may not consider their health to be a primary objective. Their priority may be obtaining housing, food, or a care pack, for example, or it may be to have a conversation. Be mindful of and receptive to this. Patient-centered care is of the utmost importance. Work within the patient's reality and priorities with the eventual goal of addressing their health only when they are ready to address it.

Be open and accepting to the patient

Approach your interaction with them in a nonjudgmental manner. Do your best to leave behind any remaining assumptions, preconceptions, and prejudices once you step onto the street.

Encourage and congratulate the patient when they share achievements or progress with you

Ideally, your words should be constructive and empowering to the patient rather than having the effect of minimizing their efforts or damaging their outlook.

Don't hesitate to ask your street leader for help!

We strongly encourage active learning during street runs. If you feel uncertain about or unfamiliar with any tasks you are performing while on a run, ask your street leader for clarification--there are no unreasonable questions!

Give feedback to your street leader

Have a discussion with your street leader at the end of the run about how it went for you, how you felt during the run, and anything you learned. Take time to reflect on your interactions with people, both patients and colleagues.

Give feedback to Street Medicine Detroit!

Click on the Contact button and let us know how the street run could be better! We are always looking to learn and improve our model and the volunteer experience through your recommendations and comments.

Street Run Don'ts

  • DO NOT provoke patients or other people in the surrounding area with condescending, negative, vulgar, or inflammatory words or actions.
  • DO NOT wear clothing that expresses provocative messages, colors, or styles.
  • DO NOT go against the directives of your street navigator, health professional, or street leader.
  • DO NOT be late to the meeting place before a street run.
  • DO NOT bring food with you to the street run.
  • DO NOT bring money or valuable belongings with you to the street run.