Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a highly prevalent condition worldwide and is associated with significant mortality. This paper gives an overview of the relevant literature regarding care needs in advanced COPD from the perspective of the patient or carer, and aims to explore the appropriateness of a palliative care approach in this group. Publications revealed that patients with COPD have a high symptom burden that impacts on quality of life and social functioning. Information provision in COPD is often lacking and the implications of diagnosis and prognosis are not routinely discussed. The impact on families and carers is considerable, many patients have significant care requirements which can affect family relationships. Although patients with COPD have regular contact with health services, access to specialist services and palliative care is poor. This paper highlights the need for increased provision for palliative care in COPD, alongside dedicated education and training for health professionals, and continued research to identify the most appropriate ways of delivering this care.