Objectives Informal caregivers of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) experience a heavy caregiver burden, but few studies have explored what support they need. The aim of this study was to describe perceptions of healthcare support to informal caregivers, both from the family caregiver's and the staff's perspective. Design A qualitative interview study involving semi-structured interviews and analysed with content analysis. Participants In total, 54 participated: 36 informal caregivers of patients with severe (stage 3-4) COPD and 17 healthcare staff. Results Two main themes emerged from the analysis: (1) Ambiguity impedes provision of support. Both caregivers and staff experienced ambiguity. The informal caregivers needed emotional, practical and informational support but talked about unclear expectations, while the staff described an uncertainty about their duties regarding the families. There were no routines to unburden the families. Moreover, language and cultural barriers hampered their efforts. (2) Knowledgeable and perceptive communication is key to support. Both caregivers and staff described positive experiences of dialogue. The dialogue may facilitate means to caregiver support and was a support in itself. Conclusions Our findings suggest that strategies and routines for caregiver support, including communication skills among the staff, should be developed, to move toward the family perspective advocated in palliative- and nursing family care.