The South African Mental Health Act of 2002 advocates the de-institutionalization of treatment of patients with mental disorders, so that the mental health care users or patients are treated in their communities. Although this approach is often used to discharge patients from hospital, no feasibility assessments are conducted to ascertain adequate care for these patients. The objective of the study was to explore the experiences of family members who provide home care for patients with serious mental disorders. A qualitative explorative design was used to interview 20 primary caregivers whose family members were readmitted to a public psychiatric hospital in Pretoria. Data were analysed using NVivo version 11. The findings are that caring for patients with serious mental illness at home is difficult, sometimes unbearable, because the families have to deal with violence perpetrated by the patients, safety concerns, financial difficulties and emotional turmoil, and wish that the patients would be kept in institutions. The absence of required skills and resources to care for the mentally ill at home exposes the patients and their families to emotional, financial and social difficulties, and results in unfavourable outcomes for both the patients and their families.