It is common for professional literature to describe quality of care as based on standards. Yet little attention is given to the steps that precede the establishment of these standards. This study answers the question. "Which nursing care standards and criteria should be developed for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients discharged from a pulmonary rehabilitation center? "Our approach included the following steps: delineating the scope of care and service, identifying indicators, and formulating standards and identifying criteria. Aspects of care included are: establishment and maintenance of a good care relationship with the patient; delineation of the care needs during the home visit; provision of health education, advice, and instruction; support in psychosocial problems; and coordination and continuity of the service. These standards and criteria were validated by the Delphi technique.