Severe lung disease is known to affect the lives of not only the sufferer but also his/her family. This qualitative phenomenological study identified seven patients with severe lung disease and studied the quality of life of their carers (five female, two male) who were not fully employed, living in the same house or nearby. In a semistructured interview, the carers were asked about looking after their spouse or relative, whether they had support and the effect of caring on their health and finances. The findings showed the carers' lives to be severely restricted, all carrying a heavy emotional burden of frustration, depression and isolation: part-time jobs were important both financially and to reduce isolation. Family support was vital to their coping, but few had received professional help. All were affected by reduction in income, but claiming allowances was confusing; unpredictability of the disease complicated much-needed recreation and holidays. Findings were similar to previously published data.