Aim: To explore the experience of relatives of patients with severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), in and out of the hospital.

Background: COPD is associated with low quality of life, anxiety and depression. The carer in the hospital has the primary focus on the patients. Therefore, further understanding is needed, which is focused on what the relatives experience.

Methods: A qualitative design was used with six focus groups conducted in 2015 with 12 relatives of patients with severe COPD. They were analysed with Malterud’s systematic text condensation.

Results: Three main themes emerged: Concern and anxiety is a part of the relatives’ everyday life. Information and knowledge about COPD is necessary. To be a relative of the patient means major responsibility.

Conclusions: Relatives want to be the main caregiver, but seek knowledge and support from the healthcare professionals.

Keywords: caregiver, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, relatives, qualitative study, chronic illness