Much has been written in recent years about community care, and in the area of services for the aged community care as a preferable alternative to care in residential institutions has figured prominently at the centre of debate on policy, resource allocation, administration and, above all, service delivery. The desirability of community care has been argued on the grounds of cost as well as the quality of life of the aged population. The case study presented in this report relates the experience of an Aged Referral and Assessment Unit which operated as a pilot project for about 15 months in one part of the Sydney metropolitan area. The report has been written by the people who conducted the project; the role of the Social Welfare Research Centre consisted only of providing consultation on the research aspects of the project and assisting in the analysis of data. What makes this study rather different from other studies in the area of community care is, first, the application in practice of a particular philosophy of assessment of need in community care; and, second, the action research approach used in the Unit's operation and recording of its activities. The holistic, 'needs-based' assessment transcends the 'health/welfare' dichotomy in the care of the aged, as well as the inter-organisational and inter-professional boundaries in service delivery. The action research approach breaks the division between 'research' and 'practice', illustrating that the two activities can be fairly successfully conducted in the process of service delivery.