This article reviews literature on the experiences of family carers when a relative goes into long-term care, with the aim of informing nurses on providing support. Experiences before and after the care placement are explored. The study found nurses fail to recognise carers' expert knowledge and skills about their cared for relatives. Families perceive their loved one's values, beliefs and life history are ignored. Nurses need to challenge barriers to communication, and move away from paternalistic and ritualised care practice.