The disease trajectory in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by a progressive decline in overall function, loss of independence and reduction of health-related quality of life. Although the symptom burden is high and care is often demanding, patients' and informal carers' experiences in living with advanced COPD are seldom described. This study sought to explore patients' and informal carers' experiences in living with advanced COPD and to understand their awareness about palliative care provision in advanced COPD. About 20 patients and 20 informal carers were recruited in a respiratory care service in Southern Switzerland. Semistructured individual interviews with participants were conducted on clinic premises and audio-recorded. Interviews lasted between 35 and 45 min. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Living day to day with COPD, psychosocial dimension of the disease and management of complex care were the main themes identified. Patients and informal carers reported a range of psychological challenges, with feelings of guilt, discrimination and blame. Most of the participants had no knowledge of palliative care and healthcare services did not provide them with any information about palliative care approaches in advanced COPD. The reported psychological challenges may influence the relationship between patients, informal carers and healthcare professionals, adding further complexity to the management of this long-term condition. Further research is needed to explore new ways of managing complex care in advanced COPD and to define how palliative care may be included in this complex care network.